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# Soils and Foundations 2014;54(3):426–438

## Soils and Foundations

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## Modelling the compaction curve of ﬁne-grained soils\$

a
Highway & Transportation Department, College of Engineering/Al-Mustansiriya University, Baghdad, Iraq
b
Chair of Foundation Engineering, Soil- and Rock Mechanics, Civil & Environmental Engineering Faculty, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany
c
Building IC E5/ 117, Universitätsstrasse 150, D-44780, Bochum, Germany
Received 23 September 2011; received in revised form 25 September 2013; accepted 24 January 2014
Available online 17 May 2014

Abstract

A theoretical model for the compaction curve of ﬁne-grained soils at various compaction efforts for the entire range of water content is
presented in this study. The prediction method is based on the assumption that the compaction curve represents the state surface at the yield state
in an unsaturated condition. Thus, for each applied compaction effort, the compaction curve relates to one yielding point on the saturated normal
consolidation line (NCL). For a given soil, the model requires the NCL, Src, and one point from any compaction curve to predict the compaction
curves for different compaction efforts. Moreover, the lines of equal suctions on the compaction curves can be determined if the SWCC, the
wetting path, is known. The model introduced here provides additional theoretical understanding of the soil's volume change behavior of the
compaction curve. The model was veriﬁed in two ways: ﬁrst it was veriﬁed quantitatively, by experimental results, and second it was veriﬁed
qualitatively, by examining the relationships from other models in the literature. The model was further applied to experimental data reported in
the literature on previous static and dynamic compaction tests. The results show that the model ﬁts the experimental data very well. Finally,
a simple chart, based on this model and using only liquid limits, is presented to estimate γdmax and OMC quickly.

Keywords: Modelling; Compaction curve; Compacted soils; Volume change; Yield state; Fine-grained soils; Unsaturated soil; Suction

## 1. Introduction for ﬁne-grained soils. It is assumed that the compaction curves

reproduce the volumetric yielding surface or the state surface
The aim of this study is to model the compaction curves at at the yield state in an unsaturated condition (Al-Badran and
various compaction efforts for the entire range of water content Schanz, 2009a; Al-Badran, 2011). The state surface at the
yield state in an unsaturated condition is a unique surface
☆ which includes all points from different initial conditions. The
International geotechnical classiﬁcation numbers: A01, D03, D09.
n
Corresponding author. Tel.: þ49 234 32 26078; fax: þ 49 234 32 14150. position of the yielding surface is deﬁned by the NCL's
yaser_albadran@yahoo.com (Y. Al-Badran), tom.schanz@rub.de (T. Schanz). 2011). The concept of the Sr-lines is modiﬁed according to
1
Tel.: þ49 234 32 26135; fax: þ49 234 32 14236. the microstructural consideration of Nagaraj et al. (2006a,
Peer review under responsibility of The Japanese Geotechnical Society.
2006b). Consequently, each point of the compaction curve
represents a normal consolidated or yield state and results in an
increase in the applied net stress or the compaction effort until
a speciﬁc value under a constant water content condition can
be reached for soil in an initially loose state. Thus, for each

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sandf.2014.04.011
Y. Al-Badran, T. Schanz / Soils and Foundations 54 (2014) 426–438 427

compaction effort applied, the compaction curve relates to one determine the w–γd relationship separately for the dry of
yielding point of the saturated NCL. The parameters involved optimum, DOP, and the wet of optimum, WOP, based on
in this model are functions of the void ratio of the saturated the LL and the Gs for each CE. Pandian et al. (1997) presented
NCL (eNCL) of the effective stress equivalent to the compaction the linear relationships of w  LL, [w/(Sr) 0.5]–LL, [w (Sr) 2]–
effort, the degree of saturation Sr, the critical degree of LL, for the standard Proctor test. Basheer (1998) developed
saturation Src (the degree of saturation at the optimum moisture models for both the compaction characteristics and the
content, OMC), the parameter that controls the inﬂuence of the compaction curves. Li and Sego (2000) derived an equation
degree of saturation to increase the void ratio under a constant with both soil and compaction effort parameters to predict the
compaction effort (R), and the parameter that controls the complete compaction curves of ﬁne-grained soils for all w 4 0.
position of the maximum value for the void ratio under each Basheer (2001) suggested empirical models using both statis-
net stress or compaction effort (M). However, for a given soil, tical regression and ANNs to predict the compaction curves of
the model requires the NCL, Src, and one point from any cohesive soils based on the soil properties and compaction
compaction curve to predict the compaction curves for efforts. Nagaraj et al. (2006a) introduced an ideal pore model
different compaction efforts. The prediction of any further (linear relationship) to estimate the compaction curves of ﬁne-
compaction curve for a speciﬁc compaction effort requires grained soils quickly for different compaction efforts for DOP
only the eNCL of the equivalent effective stress. In addition, a and WOP. Based on their ideal model, state parameters w/Sr 0.5
simple chart, based on this model and using only liquid limits, and w/Sr 2 were proposed for DOP and WOP, respectively.
will present a quick estimation of γdmax and optimum moisture Honda et al. (2007) presented a method to determine the
content OMC. Moreover, the lines of equal suctions on the maximum dry density–optimum moisture content (w–γd)
compaction curves can be determined if the soil–water relationship based on the unsaturated normal consolidation
characteristic curve, SWCC (wetting path) is known. lines (NCL) of the constant water content condition behavior.
Kurucuk et al. (2008) presented an approach to predict the soil
2. Literature review of compaction modelling compaction curve during undrained loading. They investigated
the effect of soil suction, stiffness, and pore air pressure on the
Previous studies on soil compaction models can be divided shape of the compaction curve.
into two main groups: Several studies (Joslin, 1959; Nagaraj and Bindumadhava,
1992; Nagaraj, 1994; Nagaraj et al., 2006a) yielded a set of
(1) Models that use empirical correlations for both cohesive and compaction curves that are nearly parallel for all soils for any LL.
cohesionless soils, which relate optimum water content, Others (Basheer, 2001; Horpibulsuk et al., 2008a, 2008b) have
OMC, and maximum dry density or unit weight γdmax, to demonstrated that the compaction curves of natural soils are
soil properties, such as the Atterberg index (liquid limit, LL, rarely parallel to each other (some of them have ﬂatter curves and
and plastic limit, PL), the speciﬁc gravity of solids (Gs), and others have sharp peaks).
the grain-size distribution (Davidson and Gardiner, 1949;
Turnbull, 1948; Ring et al., 1962; Ramiah et al., 1970; Jeng
and Strohm, 1976; Livneh and Ishai, 1978; Wang and Huang, 3. Material used
1984; Korﬁatis and Manikopoulos, 1982; Al-Kafaji, 1993;
Basheer and Najjar, 1995; Najjar and Basheer, 1996; Blotz The materials used in this study are pure bentonite 100B,
et al., 1998; Sridharan and Nagaraj, 2005; Gurtug and and a mixture of bentonite and quartz sand, 30% bentonite and
Sridharan, 2002; Jesmani et al., 2008). 70% sand mixture, 30B (Agus, 2005). The basic properties
(2) Models for the entire range of compaction curves describ- investigated in this study were performed based on ASTM
ing the compaction characteristics (Joslin, 1959; Rethati, standards (ASTM, 1997) and DIN standards (DIN, 1987). The
1988; Hilf, 1991; Howell et al., 1997; Nagaraj and
Bindumadhava, 1992; Nagaraj, 1994; Pandian et al., 1.8
1997; Basheer, 1998, 2001; Li and Sego, 2000; Nagaraj 100B 100B-MP
100B-SP
Dry unit weight, (gm/cm3)

et al., 2006a; Honda et al., 2007; Kurucuk et al., 2008; 1.6 100B-RMP
100B-Pcom0.248
Horpibulsuk et al., 2008a, 2008b). s=1 MPa
s=35 MPa
1.4

## An early work by Joslin (1959) yielded 26 typical standard 1.2

ZAV -
Proctor curves (named Ohio's curves). Rethati (1988) pre-
Src = 90%
sented an empirical approach to modelling the compaction 1
S = 35 MPa
S = 1 MPa
curves based on ﬁtting a simple quadratic equation to the water Sr = 30% Sr = 50%
Sr = 70%

content, w, and the dry density, γd, relationship (w–γd). Hilf 0.8
0 20 40 60
(1991) and Howell et al. (1997) used second-, third-, and Moisture content, (%)
fourth-degree polynomial equations to model the compaction
curves. Nagaraj and Bindumadhava (1992) and Nagaraj (1994) Fig. 1. Dynamic and static experimental compaction curves for different CE,
developed a semi-empirical phenomenological model to and points of equal suction for 100B mixtures.
428 Y. Al-Badran, T. Schanz / Soils and Foundations 54 (2014) 426–438

2.2
30B-SP
30B-MP
30B-RP
Dry unit weight, (gm/cm3)

2 S = 6.5 MPa
30B-Pcom0.248
s=0.7 MPa
s=6.5 MPa
1.8

1.6 ZAV

S = 0.7 MPa
Src = 85%
1.4
Sr = 70%
30B Sr = 30% Sr = 50%
1.2
0 10 20 30
Moisture content, (%)

Fig. 3. Constant degree of saturation lines (Sr-lines) that represent the NCL of
Fig. 2. Dynamic and static experimental compaction curves for different CE, unsaturated state (Al-Badran, 2001).
and points of equal suction for 30B mixtures.

## Hypothesis 1. The volume change behavior on the compac-

basic properties of the bentonite (100B) are Gs ¼ 2.75, LL ¼
tion curve (state surface) is governed by the degree of
89.1%, PL ¼ 35.9%, shrinkage limit (SL)¼ 14%, and total
saturation, and for each degree of saturation there is a straight
speciﬁc surface area (SSA) ¼ 400 m2/g, while for sand, Gs ¼
line representing the normal consolidation line for this degree
2.65, and total SSA ¼ 0.25 m2/g. The Gs ¼ 2.695 and LL ¼ 30%
of saturation (Sr-lines).
for 30B.
For each soil mixture, different compaction efforts were The saturated NCL for the initially slurry state specimen is
performed (dynamic: 248 [RP ¼ SP/2.5], 593 [SP], and adopted in this model to determine parameter eNCL. Hypothesis 1
2694 [MP] kJ/m3), and static compaction: s¼ 248 kPa) with was veriﬁed by performing a constant degree of saturation test
different water contents. RP, SP, and MP are the Reduced, the (for details, see Al-Badran and Schanz, 2009a; Al-Badran, 2011),
Standard, and the Modiﬁed Proctors, respectively. The total in which the degree of saturation was kept constant by
suction of the compaction tests was measured at the end of the controlling the net vertical stress and suction. Moreover, the
tests with a Chilled Mirror device. Figs. 1 and 2 show the contour lines for the constant degrees of saturation for the yield
experimental results of the compaction curves and the points of state, after back calculations from the unsaturated compression
equal suction for the soils used in the investigation. curves, also show straight lines (Lawton et al., 1989; Al-Badran,
2001; Honda et al., 2007; Sun et al., 2007).
The work of Nagaraj et al. (2006a, 2006b) supports the
relation between the saturated NCL and the Sr-lines from the
4. Description of the model microstructural consideration, as shown in Fig. 4. It was
assumed that the change in the microstructure of the unsaturated
The main assumption of the model is that the compaction soil at a constant water content, due to compression under an
curves reproduce the state surface at the yield state in an applied net pressure (P  ua) or applied suction (ua – uw), is
unsaturated condition, as proposed by Al-Badran and Schanz due to a change in the radius of the air–water interface in the
(2009a) and Al-Badran (2011). It was shown that, for the same micropore enclosed by the saturated clay clusters. To represent
soil, all unsaturated yielding points from different initial these changes, parameter w/√Sr (or e√Sr) is a convenient
conditions can be linked to a unique state surface of degree parameter to employ to account for the effects of the degree of
of saturation and water content. The position of the state saturation in the range of 40–90%.
surface at the yield state is deﬁned by the NCL of the constant The line for the Red Soil in Fig. 4a represents the void ratio–
degree of saturation, Sr-lines (Al-Badran, 2001, 2011), as Net stress data of any degree of saturation by normalizing the
shown in Fig. 3. The concept of the Sr-lines is modiﬁed unsaturated NCL's for the Red Soil in Fig. 4b. The lines for the
according to the microstructural consideration of Nagaraj et al. constant degree of saturation (Sr-lines) in Fig. 4b show that
(2006a, 2006b), as shown in Fig. 4b. The modiﬁcations are there is a straight line for each degree of saturation and that the
that the Sr-lines are not parallel, but they have slightly different slope of these lines increases as the degree of saturation
slopes, and empirical equations are proposed to determine the increases, starting from the slope of the saturated NCL.
volumetric yielding at each degree of saturation, as shown in Therefore, the new yielding volume change model for the
Eqs. (2)–(6), which will be explained later. unsaturated soil connects the saturated NCL and the unsatu-
The model presents the relationship among the void ratio, rated NCL (Sr-lines) using empirical equations, as with other
the compaction effort, and the degree of saturation according unsaturated models, but here it is based on a microstructural
to the Hypothesis 1 for Sr-lines. Then, to connect the void consideration.
ratio, the net stress (or compaction effort), and the degree of The model assumed that maximum dry density γdmax for all
saturation with suction, Hypotheses 2 and 3 are presented. compaction efforts occurs at the same (constant) degree of
Y. Al-Badran, T. Schanz / Soils and Foundations 54 (2014) 426–438 429

1.5 1.5

e√Sr 1 1

e
Red Soil
Red Soil
0.5 0.5 Sr =100%
Brown Soil Sr =90%
Sr =69%
Black Cotton Soil
Sr =49%
0 0
10 100 1000 10 100 1000
Equilibrium pressure, [kPa] Equilibrium pressure,[KPa]
Fig. 4. (a) Nagaraj et al. (2006a) concept ‘each soil has one NCL by normalization’ (after Nagaraj et al., 2006a), (b) Sr-lines concept ‘straight NCL for each degree
of saturation’ for Red Soil.

saturation, and that this saturation is the critical degree of Hypothesis 2. If the ﬁne-grained soils are kept in a drying or
saturation. The critical degree of saturation, Src, is the degree wetting state for the unsaturated state water content and dry
of saturation at the air entry value when the air phase state density relationship located under the critical degree of
starts to be continuous and the water phase discontinuous. This saturation, there is no density effect on the gravimetric water
condition (change of phase state) also occurs at the optimum content–suction relationship.
water content, OMC (Pandian et al., 1997); therefore, Src is
assumed to be equal to the degree of saturation at the OMC. It is worthwhile to mention that Hypothesis 2 is valid only
The critical degree of saturation, Src, is a boundary limit for the dry of optimum, DOP. Therefore, for water contents
between the saturated and the unsaturated zones (transition and less than the OMC, the water content–dry density relationship
residual zones). The soil in the saturated zone (Sr 4 ¼ Src) for constant suction represents a vertical line (different dry
behaves as fully saturated soil which is close to the behavior of densities at a constant water content that corresponds to the
the soil in WOP, while the soil in the unsaturated zone wetting path). For the wet of optimum, WOP, the contour line
(Sr o Src) behaves as unsaturated soil which is close to the for the constant suction can be calculated by adopting a linear
behavior of soil in DOP. Moreover, it is assumed that the value relationship between Sr and suction to consider the effect of
for the critical degree of saturation, Src, for ﬁne-grained soil is density on the wetting path, as seen in Figs. 9 and 10.
not largely affected by the change in compaction energy. This The results of contour lines of equal suction in the
is because the water at the air entry value, AEV, is under compaction curves of the experimental program, seen in
considerable stress (SP and MP) and is almost located in the Figs. 1 and 2, and the results of Delage and Graham (1995),
micro-pores size which is not largely affected or remains Gens et al. (1995), Li (1995), Romero (1999), Tarantino and
unchanged with the application of compaction energy, as can Tombolato (2005), and Agus (2005) support Hypothesis 2.
be observed in the pore-size distributions for the mixture of The results showed that for the dry side of the compaction
50% bentonite–50% sand (Ariﬁn, 2008). The experimental curve, when the soils are in an unsaturated state, the lines of
results of this study support this assumption, as seen in Figs. 9 constant suction are almost vertical. In other words, for ﬁne-
and 10. The experimental results of Romero (1999) provide grained soils on the dry side of the compaction curve, the
good evidence of such behavior. The critical degree of suction is a function of the water content regardless of density.
saturation, Src, equal to 90%, gives good predictions of the Romero (1999) attributed this behavior to the effects of the
compaction curves shown in Fig. 12, and this value is very loading mechanism on the macroporosity that does not contain
close to that obtained from the SWCC in Romero (1999). free water, since at low moisture content levels (on dry side of
A change in the number of meniscus water bridges in the the compaction curve), water is mainly absorbed or contained
unsaturated soil (as the degree of saturation changes), produces in the less bonded diffuse layers on the intra-aggregate scale.
a change in their stabilising effect, and hence, leads to the The degree of saturation that changes on the dry side of the
possibility of yielding and plastic compression during the compaction curve is associated with microporosity changes
increase in the degree of saturation (wetting) (Wheeler et al., under a constant intra-aggregate water content. When the
2003). However, in addition to the effect of net vertical stress matric suction values approach the saturation zone, on the
(or compaction effort), there is a strong relationship between wet side of the compaction curve, however, the loading
the volume change and suction, considered by the change in mechanism affects the inter-aggregate water and the contours
the degree of saturation, according to the following hypothesis: of equal suction try to incline in order to converge to the limit
430 Y. Al-Badran, T. Schanz / Soils and Foundations 54 (2014) 426–438

condition of the matric suction equal to zero at the full considerable stress ( 41 kPa) and (ii) sufﬁcient time. Any
saturation condition (Sr ¼ 100%), as shown in Fig. 12. How- applied compaction effort value of more than 1 kPa on the
ever, the contour lines of equal suction in the compaction DOP will produce volumetric yielding (state surface) and the
curves of Romero (1999), that pass the optimum moisture soil structure will immediately reach the equilibrium. The
content (OMC), may need some correction. Some of the states of soil, normally consolidated (state surface) and over
contour lines were established using only two different consolidated, come from the difference between the value of the
positions (one at the wet side and the other at the dry side) applied stress or energy to the soil skeleton and the yield stress of
making a straight line, which does not necessarily represent the the soil in a speciﬁc condition (which depends on the dry density,
actual behavior. The structure and the behavior at the wet side the water content, or the degree of saturation). When the applied
are different from those at the dry side; thus, it is important to stress or energy 4 ¼ the yield stress of the soil, the soil is then
use several points from different locations to draw the contour normally consolidated or at a yield state (state surface), and when
lines of equal suction when the line passes from the dry side to the applied stress or energyothe yield stress of the soil, the soil
the wet side. is then over consolidated. In the case of compaction, the applied
This model assumes that when the applied suction is higher stress or energy is speciﬁc and constant (during the test) and the
than the air entry value the pore water will be located only in initial yield stress of the soil (before compaction) is relatively low
the ﬁne pores or pods (Backer and Frydman, 2009). These ﬁne (due to the open structure of the loose soil), so the yield stress of
pores or pods are not affected as the density changes (i.e., the the soil will increase by an in increase in density, as a result of
diameter is unchanged). Therefore, at high suction levels compression under the applied stress or compaction effort, until it
(higher than the air entry value or in the dry of optimum), reaches the same value as the applied stress or the compaction
there is no density effect on the gravimetric water content– effort. Therefore, all the points on the compaction curve in the
suction relationship. When the applied suction is lower than DOP represent the normally consolidated or the yield state.
the air entry value, the pore water is believed to be located at The initial value for suction remains almost constant
both the ﬁne pores (pods) and the large pores. Therefore, at because the water content is constant throughout the process.
low suction levels (lower than the air entry value or in the wet At WOP, however, the process is a combination of compaction
of optimum), both density and suction have an effect on the and consolidation. Therefore, a sufﬁcient amount of time is
gravimetric water content value. In the saturated zone (lower needed to complete the volume change process. In other
than the air entry value or in the wet of optimum) the model words, the experimental results of the compaction curve at
assumes, depending on the experimental results of this study, a WOP do not immediately reach the complete yield state. As a
linear relationship between the degree of saturation and result, on WOP, there are some differences between the
suction. In other words, at the wet of optimum, the suction predicted (yielding) and the experimental results. With time,
is a function of the gravimetric water content and the dry suction will increase in the case of compacted expansive soils
density, while at the dry of optimum, the suction is a function due to incomplete hydration (Agus et al., 2010; Schanz et al.,
of only the gravimetric water content. 2010). This may lead to a change in the state of the soil from
It is important to clarify that the counter lines of equal the yield state to the over consolidated state (hardening due to
suction in the compaction curves can be established by the drying). The unsaturated soil exhibits a very small amount of
wetting process, because each point on the curve represents the volume change during this process. Therefore, the volume
compaction under a constant water content which results in an change for the long term will be neglected. Additionally, in
increase in the degree of saturation. To consider the effect of DOP, both dynamic and static compaction techniques give the
hysteresis, Hypothesis 3 is adopted. same horizontal alignment of soil particle groups (Mitchell,
1993). However, the alignment of the soil particles in WOP
Hypothesis 3. The dry side of optimum in the compaction will be affected by the compaction type, which is not taken
curve represents the ﬁrst wetting path. Therefore, the gravi- into account in this model. Therefore, the model does not
metric water content–suction relationship in this part follows consider the dynamic or the static compaction explicitly. From
the wetting path. the above, the compaction curve in the DOP can be considered
as reproducing the state surface, while for the compaction
The compaction curve can be related to the state surface at curve in the WOP, some difference is expected between the
the yield state, which will be explained in the following predicted (state surface) and the experimental results.
paragraph. For the compaction process, the volume change
behavior responds according to the two independent stress 5. Locations of Sr-lines on the state surface for constant
variables, namely, net stress and suction. Generally, to prepare compaction effort
soil for a compaction test, the soil is ﬁrstly mixed with water
and then the mixture disintegrates to make a loose soil The locations of Sr-lines can be determined by performing
structure in an unsaturated state. To unify all the states, the double oedometer tests (DOT) for two samples showing the
value of 1 kPa will be considered as the preconsolidation stress same initial state (preferring high void ratio and low water
for this initial loose unsaturated soil. This initially unsaturated content to intersect a large number of Sr-lines). The results of
loose soil will produce volumetric yielding (state surface) Wheeler and Sivakumar (1995) and Casini et al. (2007)
when the following two conditions are ensured: (i) support the Sr-lines concept. By analyzing unsaturated volume
Y. Al-Badran, T. Schanz / Soils and Foundations 54 (2014) 426–438 431

## 1.5 to surface tension forces (suction) hardening of air–water

II V
I III IV
interaction. The hardening of the soil sample due to surface
5
tension forces of air–water interaction inside the unsaturated
4 soil causes a reduction in dry density (or an increase in the
1 6
void ratio) as the water content increases, void ratio of point
void ratio

## 3 54 void ratio of point 2 in Fig. 5, till reaching the maximum

1 7
2 8
10
void ratio in the second interval, emax, which equals the void
9
0.5 ratio of point 5 in Fig. 5. It is important to mention that each
eNCL point in the second interval, i.e., points 2–5 in Fig. 5, resulted
compression (P=248 KPa) from individual tests. The experimental results show that the
compaction (CE=248 KJ.m/m3)
Proposed model
degree of saturation at the maximum void ratio, Sr(emax),
0 increases when the applied net stress or compaction effort
0 25 50 75 100
increases. Afterwards, the third interval sets off in which the
Degree of saturation, Sr (%)
void ratio decreases as the degree of saturation increases, from
Fig. 5. Experimental and proposed models for the void ratio–degree of points 5 to 9 in Fig. 5. The third interval is the main part of the
saturation relationship at normally consolidated or yield state under 248 kPa volumetric yielding behavior and for this interval Nagaraj et al.
constant net vertical stress or 248 kJ m/m3 compaction effort condition for 30B
(2006b) established Eq. (1). Eq. (1) shows unique paths on (e/
soil with ﬁve characteristic intervals of degree of saturation (Src ¼ 85%).
eL)√Sr versus (p  ua) plots for different soils and for different
conditions (saturated and unsaturated).
change results in a normally consolidated state (compression  
e pﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
curves and static compaction data for different levels of net Sr ¼ 1:00 0:21 logðp  ua ÞE3 ð1Þ
stress and water content for 30B and 100B soils), Al-Badran eL
(2001) concluded: For constant applied vertical net stress or
compaction effort, the range of degree of saturation (from fully where e is the yield void ratio for both saturated and unsaturated
dry to fully saturated condition) shows ﬁve different intervals, void ratios, eL is the void ratio at the liquid limit state (eL ¼ Gs x
as shown in Fig. 5 for 30B soil. Soils samples (for 30B and LL), Sr is the degree of saturation, and p ua is the net stress.
100B soils) with different water contents were tested in The third interval continues until reaching the critical degree
compression and static compaction tests. These mixtures were of saturation (Src) with the lowest void ratio or the maximum
left for one week to reach equilibrium. Each sample was dry density, point 9 in Fig. 5, that can be reached under a
initially placed in its loose state, and then a constant net stress speciﬁc net stress or compaction effort. Then, the fourth
was applied for the required period to reach equilibrium with interval is reached, from points 9 to 10 in Fig. 5 and the void
respect to deformations. This time required to achieve equili- ratio increases again as the degree of saturation increases until
brium was shorter for intervals I, II, and III than that for reaching the full saturation condition (the ﬁfth interval, point
intervals IV and V. The water content was kept constant during 10 in Fig. 5). For this interval, the void ratio is equal to the
the tests by covering the cell or the compaction mold with a void ratio at the saturated NCL for the speciﬁc net stress
plastic bag. Besides the initial weight, after ﬁnishing the tests, (eNCL). Equations governing each interval are shown below:
the ﬁnal weights, the sample dimensions, and suction were The ﬁrst interval is from a zero degree of saturation to the
measured. A wide range of applied net stress was covered in degree of saturation at the maximum void ratio Sr (emax), from
these tests to gain a comprehensive understanding of the soil points 1 to 2 in Fig. 5. In this interval, the void ratio is
behavior. Fig. 5 shows the experimental and the proposed unchanged (constant) due to the absence of any bonding forces
models for the void ratio–degree of saturation relationship at between soil particles. Then, by increasing the degree of
the normally consolidated or yield state under 248 kPa/kJ saturation, the second interval comes about when water attracts
m/m3 constant net vertical stress or compaction effort condi- the soil particles through the surface tension forces.
tion for the 30B soil with ﬁve characteristic intervals of degree
of saturation (Src ¼ 0.85). The experimental data in Fig. 5 are euns  I ¼ edry ð2Þ
presented as points and numbered in order to facilitate the
where edry is the void ratio of the fully dry soil.
distinction between the different intervals.
The second interval represents the degree of saturation at the
The ﬁrst interval starts from a zero degree of saturation in
maximum void ratio, Sr(emax), from points 2 to 5 in Fig. 5.
which the void ratio is unchanged (constant) due to the
The void ratio in this interval, euns-II, can be calculated as
absence of any bonding forces between soil particles, from
points 1 to 2 in Fig. 5. Then, by increasing the degree of Gs w
saturation, the second interval comes about when water attracts Gs w ¼ Srðe maxÞ euns -euns  II ¼ ð3Þ
Srðe maxÞ
the soil particles through the action of surface tension forces of
the air–water interaction, from points 2 to 5 in Fig. 5. The During the second interval, the experimental results of this
experimental results show, as in Fig. 5, that the degree of study (see Figs. 1 and 2 or 9 and 10) show that the degree of
saturation remains almost unchanged throughout the second saturation remains almost unchanged. The experimental results
interval. The soil stiffness in the second interval increases due show that the water content at emax (w(emax)) can be predicted
432 Y. Al-Badran, T. Schanz / Soils and Foundations 54 (2014) 426–438

according to the following empirical equation. Eq. (1), and Horpibulsuk et al. (2008a, 2008b):
   eNCL Src
eNCL euns ¼ ð5Þ
wðe maxÞ ¼ Gs þ U 100 Gs M ð4Þ ðSrÞR
Gs
where R is the parameter that controls the degree of water
where eNCL is the void ratio of the saturated NCL and M is the sensitivity (slope of compaction paths) on the dry and wet
parameter that controls the position of emax. sides of optimum.
The behavior of soil in the second interval gives an The fourth interval ranges from the critical degree of
additional peak to the compaction curve on the dry side. saturation up to the fully saturated state (Sr=100%), from
Several experimental studies show that in some cases the points 9 to 10 in Fig. 5. All the degrees of saturation in the
compaction curve has double peaks (e.g., the results of Hindi, fourth interval are greater than the critical degree of saturation;
1967; Lee and Suedkamp, 1972; Ellis, 1980; Razouki et al., therefore, the current degree of saturation is used in Eq. (5)
1980; Dixon et al., 1985; Benson et al., 1997; Sun et al., 2007; instead of the critical degree of saturation:
Razouki et al., 2008). eNCL Sr
The third interval covers the range from the degree of euns ¼ -euns ¼ eNCL ðSr Þ1  R ð6Þ
ðSrÞR
saturation at the maximum void ratio, Sr(emax), to the critical
degree of saturation, Src, from points 5 to 9 in Fig. 5. The The ﬁfth interval is deﬁned by a degree of saturation equal to
following unique equation (Eq. (5)) can be used for low to 100%, point 10 in Fig. 5; the void ratio is equal to the void
high plasticity ﬁne-grained soils (Fig. 6), which is equivalent ratio at the saturated NCL (i.e., eNCL).
to the approach used by Nagaraj et al. (2006a, 2006b) as in
6. Model steps
2
SP-100B1-Exp. Fig. 7 summarizes the different steps to predict the
SP-100B1-Eq.5 compaction curve. The curve of compaction effort equivalent
SP-30B1-Exp.
SP-30B1-Eq.5 to effective stress P1 can be estimated based on point B that
Void ratio

## represents the eNCL corresponding to effective stress P1. From

1 point B, by using an additional model parameter (i.e., Src, R,
and M), the void ratio for any degree of saturation or water
content can be calculated (according to Eqs. (2) to (6) for Sr-
lines). The next step will be the conversion of the void ratio to
0
the dry density to obtain the compaction curve. Parameters Src,
20 40 60 80 100 R, and M are constant for each soil and each parameter requires
Degree of saturation, Sr (%) only one experimental point to be determined. To predict the
Fig. 6. Comparison between exp. results of standard compaction tests and
curve for other compaction efforts, such as that equivalent to
Eq. (5) for 100B (Src ¼90% and R¼ 0.43) and 30B (Src ¼ 85% and R ¼ 0.5) effective stress P2, it requires no more than updating parameter
soils. SP is the Standard Proctor test. eNCL which corresponds to effective stress P2, point A. Fig. 8

saturation line
B
B
Void ratio

A
A
Void ratio

NCL

P1 P2
log effective stress Moisture content

ZAV
Dry unit weight

CE2 = P
A

CE1 = P1 B

Moisture content

Fig. 7. Sketch showing the steps using the proposed model to predict the compaction curve.
Y. Al-Badran, T. Schanz / Soils and Foundations 54 (2014) 426–438 433

## represents the predicted compaction curves of different com-

paction efforts using the state surface model for the 30B soil.

7. Veriﬁcation of model

## The new compaction curve model has been veriﬁed in two

ways: ﬁrst quantitatively, by experimental results, and second
qualitatively, by examining the relationships from other
models in the literature.

## The compaction curve model hypotheses were veriﬁed by

analyzing the residuals between the predicted and the experi- Fig. 9. Dynamic and static compaction curves for different compaction efforts
mental compaction curves (static and dynamic). The predicted for 100B mixture, the points are the experimental results and the lines are the
predicted results.
curve is determined by using Eqs. (2)–(6) for all ﬁve intervals
of volumetric yielding behavior. These equations require the
value of the void ratio of saturated NCL eNCL at the net stress
equivalent to each compaction effort, the critical degree of
saturation, R, M, and the degree of saturation. The net stress
equivalent to each compaction efforts is 248 kPa for RP,
593 kPa for SP, and 2694 kPa for MP. The critical degrees of
saturation, Src, are 90% and 85% for 100B and 30B,
respectively. The R values (Eq. (5)) are 0.43 and 0.5, and
the M values (Eq. (4)) are 0.4 and 0.24 for 100B and 30B,
respectively.
In the water content–dry density relationship, the contour
lines for equal suctions are vertical in DOP (Hypothesis 2).
For WOP, the contour lines for constant suction are calculated
by adopting a linear relationship between the degree of
saturation and suction to consider the effect of density on the
wetting path. Fig. 10. Dynamic and static compaction curves for different compaction
Figs. 9 and 10 show the experimental and the predicted efforts for 30B mixture, the points are the experimental results and the lines are
the predicted results.
compaction curves, and the contour line locations of constant
suction for the 100B and 30B mixtures. The results show that suction values seem to follow a scanning path due to drying or
the model agrees well with the experimental results of the a reduced water content, while taking a specimen from the
compaction tests. The predicted constant suction lines almost compaction mold until measuring the suction in a chilled
perfectly match the experimental data with a slight shift mirror device.
towards a lower water content due to the predicted results
representing the wetting path (Hypothesis 3). The measured
7.2. Verifying the relationships of previous compaction
curve models

## The proposed model has the ability to explain most of the

relationships given by other compaction models, such as the
linear relationships between Atterberg limits (liquid limits LL
and PL), Gs, water content w, degree of saturation Sr, and the
void ratio of constant water content, e(cons w), and between the
compaction effort on a logarithmic scale (Al-Kafaji, 1993;
Pandian et al., 1997; Blotz et al., 1998; Sridharan and Nagaraj,
2005; Gurtug and Sridharan, 2002; Nagaraj et al., 2006a,
2006b; Jesmani et al., 2008). All the above relationships can
be explained by the semi-linear relationship between void ratio
and net stress in the saturated NCL under constant or different
Fig. 8. Predicted compaction curves for different compaction efforts using the values of the liquid limit (LL) for the same soil or different
volumetric yielding surface model for 30B soil. types of soils, respectively. It is important to mention that all
434 Y. Al-Badran, T. Schanz / Soils and Foundations 54 (2014) 426–438

## the presented relationships came from a regression analysis 1.2

Horpibulsuk et al, 2008a-(Eq.8)
(ﬁtting) of experimental results.
Model-Eq. 14
Honda et al. (2007) presented equations based on the 1
assumptions that the unsaturated normal compression lines in

OMC/OMCsp
the constant water content condition (although the degree of
saturation is increasing) are straight in the void ratio–ln (s) 0.8
plot, as long as the degree of saturation is not close to 100%.
This assumption, according to the proposed model, is correct
0.6
because the compression lines in the yielding state follow the
Sr-lines according to its degree of saturation. The positions of
the Sr-lines are ﬁxed for each soil. Therefore, all the normal 0.4
compression lines for different initial dry densities (under the 100 1000 10000
Copaction Effort, CE (kJ.m/m3 )
same water content) follow one straight line according to
Fig. 11. Normalization of OMC–compaction effort relationship.
Gs U w ¼ Sr Ue-euns ¼ Gs U w=Sr ð7Þ
rewritten as Eq. (14).
Horpibulsuk et al. (2008a) observed that, even though the
OMC values are different for different soils, their rate of eNCL ¼ eLL ð1:122 0:2343 U log sÞ ð13Þ
decrease with compaction effort is almost the same for all
ﬁne-grained soils, which is evident because the ratios for OMC
OMC/OMCSP are almost the same for the same compaction ¼ 2:375 0:496 logðCEÞ ð14Þ
OMCSP
effort:
OMC As shown in Fig. 11, Eq. (14) is close to Eq. (8). It is
¼ 2:09 0:39 logðCEÞ ð8Þ believed that the difference between Eqs. (8) and (14) is a
OMC SP
result of the fact that Eq. (13) is a ﬁtting equation for only 11
where OMCSP is the OMC for a standard proctor. different soils with a limited range of LL (36% o LL o 160%)
Eq. (8) can be explained by the relationship between NCL and a limited range of stress (about 800 kPa). However, Eq. (8)
and the liquid limit (LL) by using different values for the was generated by ﬁtting 24 different soils with LL (17% o
liquid limit to cover the range of ﬁne-grained soils. The LL o 25%) and a larger range of compaction effort (356–
optimum moisture content (OMC), according to Eq. (6) is 2694 kJ m/m3).
the following:
1
OMC ¼ eNCL ðSrc Þ2  R ð9Þ
Gs
8. Applications
OMC ¼ eNCL K ð10Þ
The model was applied to several datasets from the literature
2R with a large range of liquid limit values (37–180%). Four
ðSrc Þ
K¼ ð11Þ different soils were chosen (Table 1): natural Boom clay [Boom]
Gs
(Romero, 1999), pure calcigel (calcium-type) bentonite [100B2],
where K is constant for each soil (Gs and Src are constant for bentonite–sand mixture [50B2], and [30B2] (from Agus, 2005;
the same soil). Thus, the ratio between OMC/OMCSP can be Ariﬁn, 2008). Fifteen experimental datasets of compaction
calculated as curves for the four soils were collected; nine static compaction
OMC eNCL curves were for the natural Boom clay and two dynamic
¼ ð12Þ compaction curves were for each bentonite–sand mixture.
OMC SP eNCLð593kPaÞ
The critical degrees of saturation were determined directly
Now, if the general equation for NCL, presented by Nagaraj from the experimental results. The one-dimensional saturated
and Srinivasa Murthy (1986) (Eq. (13)) is used, Eq. (12) is NCL and SWCC for the natural Boom Clay were taken from
Romero (1999). The one-dimensional saturated NCL for
100B2 was taken from Baille et al. (2010), and for the 50B2
Table 1 and 30B2 mixtures, the one-dimensional saturated NCL test
Properties of the soils used in the application. results were taken from Al-Badran and Schanz (2009b). The
Soil symbol Gs LL% Src% R M
SWCC of all the bentonite–sand mixtures were obtained from
Ariﬁn (2008).
Boom 2.7 58 90 0.35 0.35 Figs. 12–15 present the predicted and the measured compac-
100B2 2.8 180 90 0.04 – tion curves for the above selected soils. The predicted results
50B2 2.725 74 86.5 0.15 –
show a good agreement with the experimental results for both
30B2 2.695 37 85 0.45 –
compaction and suction data.
Y. Al-Badran, T. Schanz / Soils and Foundations 54 (2014) 426–438 435

Fig. 12. Static compaction curves and contour lines of equal matric suction for
natural Boom clay (exp. Data from Romero, 1999), the points are the Fig. 15. Dynamic compaction curves and contour lines of equal suction for
experimental results and the lines are the prediction results. 30B2 soil (exp. Data from Agus, 2005; Ariﬁn, 2008), the points are the
experimental results and the lines are the prediction results.

24 70

## Optimum moisture content, (%)

MP-Max. Dd-model SP-Max. Dd-model

## Max. Dry density, (kN/m3)

22 RP-Max. Dd-model MP-OMC-model 60
SP-OMC-model RP-OMC-model
20
50
18
40
16
30
14
20
12
10 10

8 0
20 40 60 80 100 120
Liquid limit, LL (%)

Fig. 16. Optimum moisture content (OMC)-Max. Dry unit weight (γdmax) chart
Fig. 13. Dynamic compaction curves and contour lines of equal suction for using the yielding model depending upon LL.
100B2 soil (exp. Data from Agus, 2005; Ariﬁn, 2008), the points are the
experimental results and the lines are the prediction results.
optimum moisture content (OMC), without performing labora-
tory Proctor tests, is presented in this section. This chart
depends on Eq. (6), with Sr ¼ Src to determine the maximum
dry density and Eq. (9) to determine the optimum moisture
content. Eq. (13) from Nagaraj and Srinivasa Murthy (1986) is
used to predict the NCL from the LL to identify the value for
eNCL with different compaction efforts. To simplify the
model, it is assumed that the speciﬁc gravity, Gs, taken as
equal to 2.7, and based on the experimental results, the
following values are adopted: Src ¼ 87% and R ¼ 0.5 for the
range of liquid limit from 20% to 120%. Fig. 16 shows
the relationship between the maximum dry density (γdmax) and
the optimum moisture content (OMC) for a large range of
liquid limit values (20–120%) for Reduced Proctor RP (CE ¼
356 kJ m/m3), Standard 1 Proctor SP (CE ¼ 593 kJ m/m3), and
Fig. 14. Dynamic compaction curves and contour lines of equal suction for Modiﬁed Proctor MP (CE ¼ 2694 kJ m/m3). The maximum dry
50B2 soil (exp. Data from Agus, 2005; Ariﬁn, 2008), the points are the density for each compaction effort decreases with an increas-
experimental results and the lines are the prediction results.
ing liquid limit. The behavior of the optimum moisture content
is the reverse of that of the maximum dry density. The rate of
9. A stepwise procedure for fast estimation of optimum increase in the maximum dry density increases slightly as the
moisture content and maximum dry unit weight compaction effort increases.
Data for 147 different ﬁne-grained soils (LL: 17–110%)
A simple chart based on liquid limit values for the straight from 24 reported pieces of literature (Blotz et al., 1998; Daniel
forward estimation of the maximum dry density (γdmax) and the and Benson, 1990; Benson and Trast, 1995; Daniel and Wu,
436 Y. Al-Badran, T. Schanz / Soils and Foundations 54 (2014) 426–438

24
10. Conclusions

## Optimum moisture content,

MP-Max. Dd-model
Max. Dry density, (kN/m3 )

## MP-Max. Dd-Exp. data 60

20
MP-OMC-model A theoretical model for the compaction curve of ﬁne-grained
MP-OMC-Exp. data
soils at various compaction efforts for the entire range of water

(%)
40 contents is presented. The basic parameters of the new model
16
are NCL, the compaction effort, the degree of saturation, and
12
20 the critical degree of saturation, the parameter that controls the
inﬂuence of the degree of saturation to increase the void ratio
8 0
under constant compaction effort, and the parameter that
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 controls the position of the maximum value of the void ratio
Liquid limit, LL (%) under each net stress or compaction effort. The model can
describe the lines of equal suction on the compaction curves.
24 The new model was validated by comparing the predicted

## Optimum moisture content,

SP-Max. Dd-model
results with the experimental results using dynamic and static
Max. Dry density, (kN/m3 )

## SP-Max. Dd-Exp. data 60

SP-OMC-model
20 SP-OMC-Exp. data
compaction tests. The new model was further veriﬁed by
comparing the predicted results with the experimental data

(%)
40
16 reported by previous static and dynamic compaction tests.
The predicted results of the compaction curves using the new
20 model match the experimental data well. A simple chart, based
12
on this model and using only liquid limits, is presented to
8 0 estimate γdmax and OMC quickly. This chart covers a large range
0 20 40 60 80 100 120
of LL values (20–120%). The proposed chart has been validated
Liquid limit, LL (%)
using data for 147 different clay soils (LL: 17–110%). The chart
generally shows a good agreement with the experimental data.
24
Optimum moisture content,

RP-Max. Dd-model
Max. Dry density, (kN/m3 )

## RP-Max. Dd-Exp. data 60

RP-OMC-model
20 RP-OMC-Exp. data

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(%)

40
16
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