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Concordia University Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering

CIVI 432 Soil Mechanics

Laboratory Manual

Introduction Classification of Soils Water Content Determination Experiment No. 1 Experiment No. 2 Experiment No. 3 Experiment No. 4 Experiment No. 5 Experiment No. 6 Experiment No. 7 Consistency Limits Specific Gravity of Soil Solids Compaction Test Permeability Test Consolidation Test Direct Shear Test Unconfined Compression Test ii iii ix 1-1 2-1 3-1 4-1 5-1 6-1 7-1

Soil Mechanics Laboratory Manual


Soil Mechanics Laboratory Manual

GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS 1. Students will work in groups of two or three. 2. All apparatus, benches and floors shall be left clean. Failure in doing so will result in a 10% mark reduction for all members of the party. 3. Breakage or loss of equipment due to carelessness will be charged equally to the whole group. 4. Testing machines shall not be operated until the student has been briefed by the instructor. 5. A student who misses a lab session may not attend another session to make up the lab unless authorized by the instructor.. REPORTS Every student shall submit a separate report for each experiment in the following lab session. The data sheets should be stapled to the report. 1. 2. 3. 4. The report shall be brief, but clear, and graphical and tabular methods should be used. The report must include an introduction, sample calculations, discussion and conclusion. Original data sheets should be attached. The report will be graded on its neatness, clarity and content. Particular emphasis will be placed on the analysis of data. The student should compare the measured results with published values whenever possible. 5. Each report must be submitted individually. 6. Late report submission will be subject to an automatic penalty of 2 marks reduction per day after the deadline.


Soil Mechanics Laboratory Manual

INTRODUCTION The object of classifying soils is to arrange them into groups according to their properties and engineering behavior. Thus, if the group to which soil belongs is determined, it would be possible to predict its behavior. A soil classification system is meant to provide an accepted and systematic method of describing various types of soil eliminating personal factors. Some of the classification methods currently used are: Particle size classification. Highway Research Board Classification (RB). AASHTO System. Unified Soil Classification (USC) U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USC and AASHTO systems are widely used. They rely on the liquid and plastic limits of soil and a sieve analysis. Only the USC system will be explained in these notes. UNIFIED SOIL CLASSIFICATION, (USC) The essential elements of the USC were proposed by Casagrande (1942) and were subsequently adopted by the U.S. Corps of Engineers for airfield construction. Currently, this system is used with minor modifications in many countries. This system is based on soil behavior, which, in turn, reflects the physical properties. The classification depends on the plasticity-compressibility characteristics of the soils. These characteristics are evaluated by plotting the plasticity index versus the liquid limit on a standard plasticity chart. The position of the plotted points yield information from which the behavior of the soil can be predicted. The following table presents the factors to consider in classifying a soil according the USC system. Table 1 Sieve size 200 Main soil types of the USC system Soil Type Coarse-grained if more than 50% is retained Fine-grained if more than 50% passes

75 4

Gravel 50% of coarse fraction retained by No. 4 sieve

Sand 50% of coarse fraction passes No. 4 sieve

Silt or Clay Fine grained soil: Silt (M), Clay (C) or Organic (O)


Soil Mechanics Laboratory Manual



CH 0.73(wL 20)

Plasticity Index Ip



OH and MH


ML and OL
20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

0 0 10 Liquid Limit wL

Figure 1 Plasticity Chart

Soil Mechanics Laboratory Manual Table 1 Summary of the Unified Soil Classification System 1

obtained from Virginia Department of Transportation


Soil Mechanics Laboratory Manual

1. Gravels and sands are: GW, GP, SW, or SP if less that 5% passes sieve No. 200; G = gravel; S = sand; W = well graded; F = poorly graded. The well or poorly graded designations depend on the coefficient of uniformity (Cu) and the coefficient of curvature (Cc): Cu = D60/D10 Cc = D230/ (D10D60 ) where D10, D30 and D60 are the grain size at which 10, 30 and 60 percent of the sample grains are smaller. 2. Gravels and sands are GM, GC, SM, or SC if more than 12% passes through sieve No. 200; M = silt; C = clay. 3. Gravels and sands are: GW-GC SW-SC GP-GC SP-SC CW-GM SW-SM GP-GM SP-SM if between 5% and 12% of the material passes through sieve No. 200. 4. Fine-grained soils (more than 50% passes through sieve No. 200) are ML, OL, or CL if the liquid limits are less than 50%, M = silt; O = organic soils; C = clay. 5. Fine-grained soils are: MH, OL or CH. if liquid limits are greater than 50%; H = higher than 50%. Both liquid and plastic limits are performed on the fraction of soils passing through sieve No. 40 including gravels, sands, and fine-grained soils. These limits are used with the plasticity chart to determine the letter prefix M, O, or C, depending on the plotted location of the plasticity coordinates on the chart. Also, a visual description of the soil should be used with the unified symbols to complete the classification as with the AASHTO classification system.


Soil Mechanics Laboratory Manual To illustrate the method of soil classification, results for three soil specimens (A, B and C) are shown below.

Sieve No. 4 10 20 40 60 100 200 Liquid Limit Plastic Limit Visual Description Soil A -68.5 54.9 36.1 -22.5 18.1 34.8 17.5 Light brown sandy and silty clay

% passing Soil B 91.4 79.5 -69.0 -61.0 54.3 54.5 30.7 Dark brown silty clay with trace of gravel

Soil C 69.3 59.1 48.3 38.5 28.4 19.8 5.1 Non-plastic -Medium brown, very gravelly coarse sand

Soil A: 1. The soil is either SM or SC since less than 50% passed No. 200 sieve and more than 50% passed No. 4 sieve (68.5% passed No. 10 sieve, which has smaller mesh size than No. 4) 2. Based on wL =34.8% and Ip = 17.3 (wp = 17.5%), the plasticity chart indicates soil is CL. Thus soil is classified as Light brown sandy and silty clay, SC, with 50.4% medium to fine sand. Soil B: 1. Since more than 50% passed No. 200 sieve, soil B is fine-grained. It is either MH, OH or CH because wL > 50% 2. From the plasticity chart, at wL = 54.5% , the value of Ip on A line is 0.73 (54.5 - 20) = 25.2. Since this is greater than the measured Ip of 23.8, the soil is MH. The soil is classified as: dark brown clayey silt with 9 percent gravel, MH (note that the visual description has been slightly changed to fit the M-soil). The 9 percent (actually 8.6) fits ASTM requirement of quantifying materials present.


Soil Mechanics Laboratory Manual Soil C: 1. With 5.1 percent passing the No. 200 sieve, soil is either GW, GP. SW, or SP 2. Plotting the grain-size distribution curve, we obtain the following: D60 = 2.00 mm D30 = 0.29 mm D10 = 0.086 mm The student should verify these values within plotting precision and compute: Cu = 2.00/0.086 = 23.3 > 6 Cc = 0.292/(2.00)(0.086) = 0.5 < 1 (not between 1 and 3) Since the gradation criteria are not met for well-graded, the soil is poorly graded (P suffix). 3. With 94.9 percent retained on the No. 200 sieve and with 69.3 percent passing the No. 4 sieve, the percent between the No.4 and No. 200 is 69.3 - 5.1 % retained on No. 4= 100 - 69.3 % passing No. 200 Total = 64.2 = 30.7 = 5.1 = 100.0%

With 64.2 percent as sand, the soil is classified as Medium brown, course, poorly graded sand, SP with 31 percent gravel, 64 percent sand and 5 percent fines. Note again the description has been changed slightly as more information becomes available.


Soil Mechanics Laboratory Manual


EQUIPMENT Moisture cans. Oven with accurate temperature control

GENERAL DISCUSSION Water content determination is a routine laboratory test to determine the amount of water present in a quantity of soil (wc)
wc " Ww ! 100 Ws

where Ww = the weight of water present in the soil mass Ws = the weight of the soil solids PROCEDURE 1. Weigh the moisture can and identify it with a number. 2. Place a representative sample of wet soil in the can and measure the weight of soil and can. 3. Put the sample in the oven for 24 hours. 4. When the sample has dried to a constant weight, obtain the weight of the can and dry soil. 5. Compute the water content using the previous equation, where Ww = W(can + wet soil) W(can + dry soil) Ws = W(can + dry soil) - Wcan

Soil Mechanics Laboratory Manual REFERENCES 1. ASTM American Standards for Testing and Materials, Volume 4.08, 1994. 2. Bowles, J. E., Engineering Properties of Soils and Their Measurements 3rd edition, McGraw Hill, New York, 1986. 3. Lambe, T. W., Soil Testing for Engineers, Wiley, New York, 1951.


Experiment No. 1:

Consistency Limits

Student Name: Student ID: Lab & week: Names of Group Members:

1- 1

Experiment No. 1

Consistency Limits (Atterberg Limits)

SCOPE This test method covers the determination of the liquid limit, plastic limit and the plasticity index of soils. The basic method of testing considered here is the multi-point test. Special consideration should be given to soil samples obtained from a location with high salt content, such as a marine environment, since salt affects the liquid limit, plasticity index and water content of the specimen. GENERAL DISCUSSION A fine-grained soil can exist in different states depending on the amount of water in the soil system. The term consistency refers to the relative ease with which a soil can be deformed. It also denotes the degree of firmness of a soil and is indicated by such terms as: soft, firm, stiff or hard. In practice, it is only the fine-grained soils, particularly clayey soils, which are so described and for which the consistency is related to a large extent to water content. When water is added to a dry soil, each particle is covered with a thin film of absorbed water. If the addition of water is continued, the thickness of the water film permits the particles to slide past one another more easily and the volume of the soil increases. In 1911, A. Atterberg developed a classification system that relates the consistency of a soil sample to its water content. Three water content limits are used to define soil consistency: shrinkage limit (ws), plastic limit (wp) and liquid limit (wl). These limits and the four consistency states are shown in Figure 1. The consistency limits are used as an integral part of several engineering classification systems such as correlating soil properties with its engineering behavior, such as: compressibility, compactibility, shear strength, etc. The liquid limit of a soil containing substantial amounts of organic materials decreases dramatically when the soil is oven-dried before testing.

Figure 1

The Atterberg soil classification scheme 1- 2

TERMINOLOGY Consistency: The relative ease with which a soil can be deformed. Liquid Limit (wl): The water content, in percent, of a soil at the arbitrarily defined boundary between the liquid and plastic states. The liquid limit is defined as the water content at which a pat of soil placed in a standard cup and cut by a groove of standard dimensions will flow together at the base of the groove for a distance of 13 mm (0.5 ) when subjected to 25 shocks from the cup being dropped 10 mm in a standard liquid limit apparatus operated at a rate of 2 shocks per second. Plastic limit (wp): The water content, in percent, of a soil at the boundary between the plastic and brittle states. The plastic limit is the water content at which a soil thread can no longer be deformed without crumbling when rolled to a diameter of 3.2 mm (0.125). Shrinkage Limit (ws): The maximum water content at which a reduction in water content will not cause a decrease in volume of the soil mass. Plasticity Index (PI): The range of water content over which a soil behaves plastically. Numerically, it is the difference between the liquid limit and the plastic limit. Liquidity Index (LI): The ratio, expressed as a percentage, of the natural water content of a soil minus its plastic limit, to its plasticity index. LI = (w - wp)/PI x 100 APPARATUS Liquid Limit Test Liquid limit device. Standard grooving tool. Medium size porcelain dish and spatula. Moisture cans. Balance sensitive to 0.01 g. Drying oven capable of maintaining a temperature of ~110 C. Plastic Limit Test Large glass plate. A rod of 3.2 mm (0.125) in diameter.

1- 3

PROCEDURE A. Liquid Limit Test 1. Check the height of fall of the liquid limit machine and also check for excessive play in the hinge assembly. Adjust the height of fall to exactly 1 cm when the crank is turned, using the 1 cm block at the end of the grooving tool. 2. Obtain, a representative portion of air dried soil passing through the 0.425 mm (No. 40) sieve. Do not oven dry the soil, as this will reduce the liquid and plastic limits of the soil. 3. Mix about 175 g of the soil with a small amount of distilled water (25%) to form a paste with uniform color and consistency (no lumps). Poor mixing is a major source of errors. 4. Place a portion of the prepared paste in the cup of the liquid limit device and smooth the surface off to a maximum depth of about 10 mm at its deepest point. Take care to eliminate air bubbles from the soil pat, but form the pat with as few strokes as possible. 5. Form a groove in the soil pat by drawing the grooving tool through the sample along the symmetrical axis of the cup at the point of contact. Be sure that the tool is normal to the surface of the cup at all points of contact. The groove should be cut with one continuous stroke. 6. Carefully place the cup into the liquid limit machine, securely fasten the hinge points and set the counter to zero. Turn the crank on at a rate of about two revolutions per second until the two halves of the soil pat come in contact at the bottom of the groove along a distance of 13 mm (0.5). The groove should be closed by a flow of the soil and not by slippage between the soil and the cup. Record the number of blows (N). Note: No delay at this point, or the soil will adhere to the cup and/or the surface will dry out. 7. When the number of blows required to close the groove ranges between 30 to 40 blows, take approximately 15 g of the soil for water content determination. Take the water content sample from the closed part of the groove. Note: If the number of blows is much higher than 40 blows, add water, mix the sample in the cup thoroughly again, and repeat steps 4 to 7. 8. Add additional water in small amounts (about 2%) to reduce the consistency of the soil and mix thoroughly. Repeat steps 4 to 6 until you have a consistency to produce about 25 to 30 blows, and then take a sample for water content determination. 9. Repeat steps 4 to 7 two more times. The number of blows for these tests should be in the range of 20-25 and 15-20. 10. Place the samples in a pre-weighed moisture containers and then weigh the containers with the samples. Place the moisture containers with the samples in the oven to dry for 24 hours at 110 C.

1- 4

B. Plastic Limit Test 1. Take about 20 g of the mix prepared for the liquid limit test. 2. Form about 2.0 g into an ellipsoidal mass. 3. Roll the mass between the palm or fingers and the glass plate with just sufficient pressure to roll the mass into a thread of uniform diameter throughout its length. The thread shall be further deformed on each stroke so that its diameter reaches 3.2 mm (0.125) taking no more than 2 minutes. 4. When the diameter of the thread reaches 3.2 mm without crumbles, break the thread into several pieces, squeeze together, knead between the fingers, reform into ellipsoidal mass, and reroll. 5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until a thread of soil of 3.2 mm in diameter crumbles under the pressure required for rolling. If crumbling occurs when the thread has a diameter slightly larger than 3.2 mm, this shall be considered a satisfactory end point, provided that the soil has been previously rolled into a thread of 3.2 mm in diameter. 6. Gather the portions of the crumbled thread and place in a weighed container, and immediately cover the container to prevent the moisture evaporation until the container is placed in the oven for drying the sample. 7. Repeat steps 2 to 6 to obtain three samples. Calculate the water content for each test and take the average of the results. This average water content is equal to the plastic limit (wp).

RESULTS AND CALCULATIONS 1. Show all observations and calculations. 2. Plot the results of the liquid limit test as a relationship between the water content and the number of blows on the semi-log graph given in the data sheet. The liquid limit (w1) is equal to the water content corresponding to 25 blows. 3. Find the plastic limit, which is the average water content from the plastic limit test. 4. Calculate the plasticity index (P1) as follows: PI = wl - wp

5. Plot the results on the plasticity chart, and classify the soil according to the Unified Soil Classification System.

1- 5

1- 6

1- 7

Experiment No. 2:

Specific Gravity of Soil Solids

Student Name: Student ID: Lab & week: Names of Group Members:


Experiment No. 2


SCOPE This test method covers the procedure for determining the magnitude of the specific gravity of soil solids. This method is applicable to fine aggregates soil (such as sand).

GENERAL DISCUSSION The value of the specific gravity (Gs) is necessary for the calculation of the void ratio of as well as the prediction of the unit weight of the soil. The specific gravity of the soil is defined as the unit weight of the material divided by the unit weight of distilled water at 4 C. APPARATUS Volumetric flask. Vacuum pump. Balance sensitive to 0.1g. Thermometer. Mortar and pestle.

PROCEDURE 1. Weigh about 100 to 120 g of air-dried soil (weight should be exact, Ws). 2. Weigh a dry volumetric flask (Wf). 3. Carefully fill the flask to the volume mark with de-aired water, then weigh the flask with the water (Wfw). 4. Empty the water from the flask. Carefully, place the soil inside the flask, then add water to fill the flask almost half way before the volume mark. 5. Attach the flask to a high vacuum for a few minutes. During this time, gently agitate the mixture by carefully shaking and turning the flask. 6. When the de-airing process is complete, add water in the flask until the bottom of the meniscus is exactly at the volume mark. Be very careful not to reintroduce air into the flask when completing the filling operation. 7. Weigh the flask and its content of soil and water (Wfws)


RESULTS AND CALCULATIONS 1. Calculate the specific gravity from the following equation. Gs " where Ws = weight of dry soil Ww = weight of an equivalent volume of water Wfw = weight of flask and water Wfws = weight of flask, water and soil Ws Ws " Ww W fw ! Ws ! W fws -

2. Find the corrected value of the specific gravity due to the difference in the water temperature: Gs (at 4C) = #Gs where the correction factor (#) can be found from the following table


# 1.0007 1.0004 1.0000 0.9996 0.9991 0.9986

(g/cm3 )


16 13 20 22 24 26

0.99897 0.99862 0.99823 0.99780 0.99732 0.99681


Specific Gravity

Description of Soil ___________________________________________________

Tested by ______________________________________ Date __________________

Test No. Vol. of flask, ml Wt. of dish g Wt. of dish & dry soil, g Wt. of dry soil, Ws, g Wt. of flask & water, Wfw, g Wt. of flask & water & soil, Wfws, g Temperature of water & soil, % C Correction factor, # Gs at 4C


Experiment No. 3:

Compaction Test

Student Name: Student ID: Lab & week: Names of Group Members:


Experiment No. 3

Compaction Test (Standard Proctor Test)

SCOPE This test method covers laboratory compaction procedure used to determine the relationship between water content and dry unit weight of soils (compaction curve). The sample is compacted in a mold of a given size (Proctors mold) with an appropriate rammer of a given weight dropped from a specific height. This test method applies only to soils that have 30% or less by weight of particles retained on 19.0 mm (0.75) sieve. GENERAL DISCUSSION In most circumstances where soil is encountered in engineering construction, it must be considered in its natural state and the engineer must adopt his construction to suit the soil. Any attempt to change the soil will usually result in excessive cost. However, in some types of earth construction such as earth dams and sub-bases for highways and airports, it is economical to change the characteristics of the soil to suit the design requirements. One of the most common ways of improving soil is by compaction. The compaction of soil is the process of packing soil particles closely together by mechanical manipulation. Therefore, it increases the dry density of the soil to achieve satisfactory engineering properties such as shear strength, compressibility or permeability In 1933, Proctor introduced a laboratory compaction test Standard Proctor which is still the most widely used test. For most soils, this test accurately simulates the compaction process in the field. Laboratory compaction tests provide the basis for determining the percent compaction and water content needed to achieve the required engineering properties, and for controlling construction to assure that the required compaction and water contents are achieved. During World War I, heavy military aircraft began requiring a subgrade density beneath runways greater than that provided by standard compaction unit weight. Rather than using relative compaction greater than 100%, a Modified Proctor test was introduced to accommodate higher standards of compaction. The following shows a comparison between the Standard and Modified Proctor tests.



Mold size (in)

No. of layers 3 5

Standard Proctor Height = 4.6 Diam. = 4.0 Modified Proctor Height = 4.6 Diam. = 6.0

No. of Weight of Height Compactive blows rammer of drop Energy per layer (lb) (in) (ft-lb/ft3) 25 5.5 12 12,400 25 10 18 56,300

APPARATUS &' Compaction mold and rammer. &' Metal straight edge. &' Balance sensitive to 0.01 g. &' Beam balance sensitive to l.0 g. &' Sieve No.4. &' Moisture sprayer. &' Scoop. &' Large mixing pan. &' Moisture cans. &' Drying oven at 110 C.

PROCEDURE 1. Weigh the empty mold (with the base plate attached, but without the collar). Also, measure the dimensions of the mold. 2. Obtain approximately 3 kg of an air dried sample passing through sieve No. 4. 3. Add about 6% water to the sample and mix thoroughly. Make sure that there are no lumps in the soil and the sample is homogenous. 4. Attach the mold extension collar and place the sample in 3 layers in the mold, and compact it with 25 evenly distributed blows of the hammer, using one foot free drop. Every layer should be slightly more than one third of the mold. 5. After compaction of the third layer, the surface of the soil should be slightly above the top rim of the mold. 6. Carefully remove the collar and trim off the soil even with the top of the mold. In removing the collar, hold the sample and rotate the collar carefully to break the bond between it and the soil before lifting it off the mold. Note: the soil surface should be flush with the top of the mold. If it is not, fill the cavities with soil and compact with a trowel. 3-3

7. After all loose soil is cleaned from the outside, weigh the cylinder and the compacted sample. 8. Remove the soil from the cylinder and obtain a representative sample of approximately 100 g for water content determination. The water content sample should be obtained using specimens from the top, middle, and bottom of the compacted soil. 9. Repeat the compaction process at least twice, increasing the water content of the sample as specified by the instructor. Data will be shared between groups so that results can be obtained for a wide range of water content. RESULTS AND CALCULATIONS 1. Calculate the wet unit weight of the specimen:
Wmold ! soil ( Wmold Vmold

) wet "

2. Determine the water content of the sample (wc). 3. Calculate the dry unit weight of the specimen:

)dry "

1 ! wc

4. Plot the dry density-water content curve and record the maximum dry density ()d_max) and the corresponding water content (Optimum Water Content, OWC) 5. Using the following equation, construct the 100% saturation curve (S=1) assuming that the specific gravity is equal to 2.65. Also construct the 80% saturation curve (S=0.8).

)dry "

) w Gs
1! wc Gs S


Plot the curves on the same graph.


Compaction Test

Description of Soil ___________________________________________________________ Depth of sample: ___________ Tested by: ____________________ Date: _____________ Blows/layer: _____________ No. of layers: ______________ Wt. Of hammer: _______ Mold diam.: ________ cm Mold height: ________ cm Mold volume ___________ cm3
Water content determination Test No. Moisture can no.

Wt. of can

(g) (g)

Wt. of can + wet soil

Wt. of can + dry soil (g) Wt. of water Wt. of dry soil (g) (g)

Water content, wc (%)

Density determination Assumed water content (%)

Measured water content (%) Wt. of soil + mold Wt. of mold Wt. of soil (g) (g) (g)

Wet density (kN/m3) Wt. of dry soil (g)

Water content, wc (%) Optimum water content (OWC) = _____________ % Maximum dry density ()d_max) = _____________ kN/m3


Experiment No. 4:

Permeability Test

Student Name: Student ID: Lab & week: Names of Group Members:


Experiment No. 4

Permeability Test (Constant Head Method)

SCOPE This test method covers the determination of the coefficient of permeability by a constant-head method for the laminar flow of water through granular soils. In order to limit consolidation influences during testing, this procedure is limited to disturbed granular soils containing not more than 10% soil passing the 75 *m (No. 200) sieve.

GENERAL DISCUSSION Permeability is one of the three most important engineering properties of soils, the other two are the shear strength and the compressibility. It is also the most difficult of the three properties to measure.

The coefficient of permeability is a constant of proportionality relating to the ease with which a fluid passes through a porous medium. The coefficient of permeability (K) may be obtained in the laboratory by using either the Falling Head or Constant Head permeability test. The Falling Head test is used for soils of low permeability (e.g. clay) and the Constant Head test is used for soils of high permeability (e.g. sand). In both methods, K is determined using Darcys law Neither the constant head nor the falling head method provides a reliable value for the coefficient of permeability of a soil. Reasons for this are varied, but the major ones are: 1. The soil in the permeability device is never in the same state as in the field, it is always disturbed to some extent. 2. Orientation of the in-situ stratum to the flow of water is probably not duplicated. 3. Boundary conditions are not the same in the laboratory as they were in the field. 4. The effect of entrapped air on the laboratory sample will be large even for small air bubbles since the sample is small. If the soils in the field are reasonably homogeneous, it may be possible to make a satisfactory estimation of the average field permeability based on laboratory tests. In the vast majority of cases, the soils in the field vary erratically and often in a manner that is too costly to investigate. In some cases, field testing may be necessary.


Permeability of a homogeneous isotropic soil mass is affected by a number of factors, such as: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Grain size and shape. Properties of the pore fluid. Void ratio of the soil. Soil structure. The degree of saturation.

The coefficient of permeability of a soil varies inversely with the viscosity of the pore fluid (usually water). As the temperature increases, the viscosity of water decreases and the coefficient of permeability increases; i.e. the flow rate increases. The coefficient of permeability is standardized at 20C (K20), and the coefficient of permeability at any temperature (KT) is related to K20 as in the following equation: K20 = KT (+T/+20) where and +T and +20 are the viscosities of the fluid at the temperature T of the test and at 20C, respectively. The properties of distilled water are given in. the following table:

Temperature (T) %C 4 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Density of water ($w) g/cm3 1.0000 0.99897 0.99880 0.99862 0.99844 0.99823 0.99802 0.99780 0.99757 0.99733 0.99708 0.99682 0.99655 0.99627 0.99598 0.99568

Dynamic Viscosity (+) g/cm s 0.01567 0.01111 0.01083 0.01056 0.01030 0.01005 0.00981 0.00958 0.00936 0.00911 0.00894 0.00874 0.00855 0.00836 0.00818 0.00801



&' &' &' &' &'

Constant head permeameter Balance (0.1 g sensitivity) Stop watch Thermometer Graduated cylinder (1000cc)


1. Measure the inside diameter of the permeameter cylinder (D), the height of the sample space (H) and the length of the seepage path (L). 2. Weigh a container filled with dry sand, then load the permeameter with the dry soil to a loose, uniform density by pouring the soil in. Make sure that the soil layers are of equal thicknesses after compaction, but not less than approximately 15 mm (0.60 in). 3. Compact successive layers of soil to the desired relative density by using the appropriate hand tamper. 4. Weigh the container and the remaining soil. The difference between the initial and final weights is the weight of the soil inside the permeameter. 5. Cover the permeameter with the top part and place it in position for testing. Attach the tubes as shown in the schematic drawing (Fig 1). 6. Allow the water to saturate the sample from the bottom and rise up. In this step, the air valve should be open to remove all the air bubbles from the permeameter. Note: Care should be taken to ensure that the permeability flow system is free of air and is working satisfactorily. 7. Begin the test by connecting the permeameter to the constant head tank, then open the valve to start the flow downwards. 8. After allowing a few minutes for equilibrium conditions to be reached, collect a sufficient amount of water in the graduated cylinder for satisfactory measurement of its volume and record the corresponding time. Record the temperature of the water. Note: It is recommended to collect about 700 mil to 900 mil of water. 9. Repeat step 7 two or three times using a different quantity of collected water. 10. Measure the difference in head (h) along the seepage path (L).


11. Remove the sample from the permeameter, clean the cell, and place a new sample of lower void ratio. This can be achieved by placing the sample in layers and applying compaction to each layer. 12. Repeat steps 8-10 .

1. Report all test data and observations, if any. 2. Calculate the void ratio (e) of the utilized sand using the value of the specific gravity of the sand from the specific gravity test. 3. Calculate the coefficient of permeability K using Darcys law: v=Ki q=KiA K=qL/Ah where: Q q K i h L A 4. = = = = = = = Volume of water collected (cm3) Quantity of fluid flow per unit time : q= Q/t (cm3/s) Coefficient of permeability (cm/s) Hydraulic gradient (h/L) Differential head across the seepage path L (cm) Length of seepage path (cm) Cross sectional area of soil mass under consideration (cm2)

Calculate the coefficient of permeability at 20C (K20).



Coefficient of Permeability
Description of Soil: _____________________________________________________________ Depth of Sample: _________________ Tested by: ___________________ Date: ________ Diameter: _____________ cm Height: _______________ cm Weight of empty permeameter: Area: _____________ cm2

Volume: _____________ cm3 _____________ g

Weight of permeameter with soil: _____________ g Weight of soil specimen: _____________ g Unit weight of specimen: _____________ kN/m3 Void ratio of specimen: _______________ Test No. 1 2 3 4 Avg. Test No. 1 2 3 4 Avg. Time (sec) Head (cm) Q (cm3) q=Q/T (cm3/sec) Temp. %C KT=qL/Ah +T/+20 Time (sec) Head (cm) Q (cm3) q=Q/T (cm3/sec) Temp. %C KT=qL/Ah +T/+20




Experiment No. 5:

Consolidation Test

Student Name: Student ID: Lab & week: Names of Group Members:


Experiment No. 5


SCOPE This test method covers the procedure for determining the magnitude and rate of consolidation of soil when it is restrained laterally and drained axially while subjected to incrementally applied controlled-stress loading. The test method is performed with constant load increment duration of 24 hours, or multiples thereof. Time-deformation readings are required on a minimum of two load increments. This test method is most commonly performed on undisturbed or compacted fine grained soils. GENERAL DISCUSSION Consolidation is an important fundamental phenomenon which must be understood by everyone who attempts to gain a knowledge of soil behavior in engineering problems. The main purpose of consolidation tests is the prediction of the rate and the amount of settlement of structures founded on clay.

When pressure is applied to a saturated, fine grained soil mass and water is allowed to drain out of the voids, compression of the soil starts. At the instant of application, the pressure is carried almost entirely by the pore water because water is incompressible in comparison with the soil structure. The pressure that builds up in the pore water due to the load on the soil is termed hydrostatic excess pressure. This excess hydrostatic pressure causes the water to drain out of the pores. As the water drains from the soil pores, the load is shifted to the soil structure. The transference of load is accompanied by a change in the volume of soil equal to the volume of water drained. This process is known as consolidation. When a load is applied or increased on a soil that is not fully saturated, a sudden reduction in the volume of the soil occurs, which is due to expulsion and compression of air in the voids. This phenomenon is termed initial consolidation. If equilibrium is not attained after initial consolidation, further reduction in volume continues which is mainly due to the squeezing out of water from the voids. This phenomenon is termed primary consolidation. After the reduction of all excess hydrostatic pressure to zero, some compression of a soil takes place at a very slow rate. This reduction is known as secondary consolidation which can be attributed to rearrangement and plastic deformation of soil particles. Consolidation test results are greatly affected by sample disturbance and dependant upon the magnitude of the load increments. Traditionally, the load is doubled for each increment resulting in a load-increment ratio of 1. Also, test results are dependant upon the duration of each load increment, which is normally 24 hours. Two semi-empirical equations, proposed by Casagrande and Taylor will be presented later for the calculation of the coefficient of consolidation.


APPARATUS Consolidometer. Consolidation ring and consolidation machine. Balance sensitive to 0.1g. Measuring device (Caliper). Sample trimming equipment. Moisture content cans. Stop watch. PROCEDURE 1. Measure the weight and dimensions of an empty consolidation ring.

2. Press the consolidation ring carefully inside the sample. Trim the extra soil and clean the ring without damaging the sample. 3. Weigh the consolidation ring with the sample inside it. 4. From the soil trimmings obtain representative specimens for water content determination. 5. Put the consolidation ring in the consolidometer with saturated porous stones above and below. If the sample is too soft that it may stick to the stones, filter paper may be put between the stones and the sample. 6. Mount the consolidometer, filled with water, on the loading frame. Balance the counterweight so that the lever arm is horizontal when in contact with the loading head, then set the vertical deflection dial gage to zero. 7. Apply the initial load assigned by the instructor and record the deformation dial gauge readings at the following times: 6, 15 and 30 seconds, 1, 2, 4, 8, 15,30, and 60 minutes. 8. Double the previous load and record the corresponding deformation dial gauge readings as in step 7. 9. Remove the specimen from the ring and obtain samples for moisture content determination.
RESULTS AND CALCULATIONS 1. Calculate the initial volume of the sample (Vi), which is equal to the volume of the consolidation ring. Also, calculate the initial unit weight ($) and void ratio (ei) of the sample assuming that the specific gravity (Gs) is equal to 2.65.

2. Plot the deformation of the sample in mm versus the log of time in minutes. Find the coefficient of consolidation as given by the equation proposed by Cassagrand as follows:


2 0,197 H D Cv " t 50


where: HD = the length of drainage path [equal to the height of the specimen in case of single drainage and half of the height in case of double drainage]. t50= the time corresponding to 50% consolidation.

The following steps explain how to find the time for 50% consolidation as given by Casagrande: a. Define the point of the intersection of the two tangents to the curve at the end of loading. This point represents the time (t100) and deformation (d100) for 100% consolidation (end of primary consolidation). b. To determine the deformation at 0% primary consolidation (do), select two points that have a time ratio of 1:4 on the horizontal axis. Measure the vertical distance between the points (x). The location of do is 2x above the point of intersection of the curve and the vertical axis. c. The deformation corresponding to 50% consolidation (d50) is equal to the average of do and d100. d. The time corresponding to 50% consolidation can be found graphically as the time that corresponds to d50 on the curve.


3. Plot the deformation of the sample in mm versus the square root of the time in minutes. Find the coefficient of consolidation as given by the equation proposed by Taylor as follows:
2 0.848 H D Cv " t 90


where HD = the length of drainage path [equal to the height of the specimen in case of single drainage and half of the height in case of double drainage]. t50 = the time corresponding to 90% consolidation.

The following steps explain how to find the time for 50% consolidation as given by Taylor: a. Draw a straight line through the points representing the initial readings that exhibit a straight line trend. This line will intersect with the vertical axis at a point representing the deformation at 0% primary consolidation (do). It intersects the horizontal axis at a distance X from the origin. b. On the horizontal axis, locate the point 1.15X from the origin. Draw a straight line between this point and do. The intersection of this line and the data curve defines t90. 4. Compare the values of Cv obtained with the Casagrande and Taylor formulas.


Consolidation Test

Description of Soil ___________________________________________________________ Tested by: ____________________ Date: _____________ Diameter of ring (D): ________ cm Height of ring (H) ___________ cm Weight of ring: _____________ g Unit weight of soil ($wet) _________kN/m3 Time t (min) Deformation gauge reading Change in sample height ,H (mm) Area of ring (A): ________ cm2 Volume of ring (V): ________ cm3 Weight of ring + soil ___________ g Specific Gravity (Gs) __________ Void ratio e

Change in void ratio ,e

t 0.5


Casagrandes coefficient of consolidation (Cv) = _____________ Taylors coefficient of consolidation (Cv) = _____________


Experiment No. 6:

Direct Shear Test

Student Name: Student ID: Lab & week: Names of Group Members:


SCOPE This test method covers the determination of the consolidated drained shear strength of a soil material in direct shear. The test is performed by deforming a specimen at a controlled strain rate on or near a single shear plane determined by the configuration of the apparatus. Generally, three or more specimens are tested, each under a different normal load, to determine the effects upon shear resistance and displacement, and strength properties such as Mohr strength envelopes. GENERAL DISCUSSION In all soil stability problems; such as the design of foundations, retaining walls, and embankments; knowledge of the strength of the soil involved is required. The determination of the proper strength to use in a stability problem can be the most difficult question arising in soil engineering.

The shear strength of a soil is its maximum resistance to shearing stresses. It is usually taken to be equal to the shear stress at failure on the failure plane. Failure is often taken to correspond to the maximum shear stress attained, or the shear stress at 15 to 20 percent relative lateral displacement.

Figure 1 Schematic diagram of shear box apparatus


The shear strength represented is composed of: 1. Internal friction, or the resistance due to interlocking of particles and friction between individual particles at their contact points. 2. Cohesion, or the resistance due to interparticle forces which tend to hold the particles together in a soil mass. The shear strength (-) of soil can be represented by Coulombs equation as follows, - = c + .tan/ where . = total normal stress on the failure plane. c = cohesion. / = angle of shearing resistance

For cohesionless materials, the cohesion (c) is zero by definition, and the previous equation will be reduced to: - = .tan/ The direct shear test is one method of measuring the shear strength of cohesionless soils in the laboratory. It is suited to the relatively rapid determination of consolidated drained strength properties because the drainage paths through the test specimen are short, thereby allowing excess pore pressure to be dissipated more rapidly than with other drained stress tests. During the direct shear test, there is rotation of principal stresses, which may or may not model field conditions. Moreover, failure may not occur on the weak plane since failure is forced to occur on a horizontal plane at the middle of the specimen. Some disadvantages of this test are: 1. There is unequal distribution of shear stresses over the potential surface of sliding. 2. With the progress of the test, the area under shear gradually decreases. 3. There is little control on the drainage of soil. 4. The plane of shear failure is pre-determined which may not necessarily be the weakest one. On the other hand, the fixed location of the plane in the test can be an advantage in determining the shear resistance along a recognizable weak plane within the soil material and for testing interfaces between dissimilar materials.


APPARATUS Direct shear box and machine. Set of dial gauges to measure horizontal and vertical displacements. Balance sensitive to 0.1g. Measuring device (Caliper). Tamper for compacting soil. PROCEDURE 1. Assemble the two halves of the shear box together and tighten up the vertical lock screws. Obtain sufficient dimensions for calculation of the sample volume.

2. Weigh the amount of dry sand required to give the unit weight given by the instructor. 3. Place the sample in a smooth layer to the marked limit. For dense sand (high unit weight) the sample could be placed in layers, then tamped. For loose sand (low unit weight) the sample should be placed carefully with a funnel. 4. Put the loading block on top of the soil then carefully put the shear box in the machine. 5. Put the ball bearing and hanger on the loading block and attach the dial gauges which show vertical and horizontal deformation of the sample. 6. Apply the vertical normal load given by the instructor. 7. Remove the vertical tightening screws to separate the two parts of the shear box, then raise the upper frame of the box by turning the spacing screws. Tighten the two horizontal grating screws and then turn the spacing screws clear of the lower frame. Note: The gap between the two halves of the shear box should be slightly larger (by eye) than the largest soil grain of the sample used. 8. Bring the loading piston up into contact with the shear box. Initialize the readings of dial gauges to zero. 9. Start loading at a shearing rate of approximately 0.5 to not more than 2 mm/mm. 10. Take simultaneous sufficient readings for displacements and the corresponding shear forces. The readings should be taken at close displacement intervals. For example, record the readings of all the dials at horizontal displacement 5, 10 and every 10 or 20 horizontal dial displacement units. 11. Continue the test until the peak load on the proving ring has been passed and the readings have decreased to a constant value. Do not take any readings after a horizontal deformation of approximately 20% of the length of the sample. 12. Repeat the procedure two more times for different vertical loads.



1. Plot the relationship between the shear load (Ph) and the corresponding horizontal displacement (,H) for all the samples on the same graph. 2. Calculate the dry unit weights ($dry) and the void ratios (e) for the tested sand, assuming that the specific gravity (Gs) is equal to 2.65. 3. Plot the shear strength (maximum shear stress) versus the corresponding vertical stress (the normal load divided by the corresponding corrected area of the sample). Use the same scale for both axes of the graph. 4. Determine the angle of shearing resistance (/) for the used sand. The angle is equal to the slope of the average line on the shear strength-vertical stress curve.


Direct Shear Test

Description of Soil ___________________________________________________________ Tested by: ____________________ Date: _____________ Width of shear box: ________ cm Height of shear box ___________ cm Cross-sectional area: ________ cm2 Volume of shear box: ________ cm3 Dry unit weight ___________ kN/m3 Normal load: ______________ kN Loading rate: ______________ Horizontal Horizontal Corrected Dial Displacement Area Reading Acor ,H (cm2) (mm) Shear Force Fh (kN) Shear Stress (kN/m2) Normal Stress .n (kN/m2)


Experiment No. 7:

Unconfined Compression Test

Student Name: Student ID: Lab & week: Names of Group Members:



SCOPE This test method covers the determination of the unconfined compressive strength of cohesive soil in the undisturbed, remolded, or compacted condition, using strain-controlled application of an axial load. It provides an approximate value of the strength of cohesive soils in terms of total stress. This test method is applicable only to cohesive materials that will not expel bleed water during the loading portion of the test. TERMINOLOGY Unconfined compressive strength (qu): It is the compressive stress at which an unconfined cylindrical specimen of soil will fail in a simple compression test. The unconfined compressive strength is taken as the maximum load attained per unit area or the load per unit area at 15% axial strain, whichever is secured first during the performance of the test.

Shear strength (su): For unconfined compressive strength test specimens, the shear strength is calculated to be half of the compressive stress at failure.
GENERAL DISCUSSION The unconfined compression test of a soil is similar to the compression test on any other material (i.e. wood, steel, concrete, etc.). This test is widely used as a quick and economical means of obtaining the approximate shear strength of a cohesive soil. In passing, it should be noted that while the results of the unconfined compression test may not be highly reliable, there are few test methods that provide much better results.

With more knowledge concerning soil behavior available, it became evident that the unconfined compression test does not generally provide a very reliable value of soil shear strength for the following reasons: 1. The effect of lateral restraint provided by the surrounding soil mass on the sample is lost when the sample is removed from the ground. 2. The internal soil conditions (the pore water pressure under stress deformation and the effects of altering the degree of saturation) can not be controlled. 3. The loading platens provide lateral restraint on the ends of the sample. This alters the internal stresses in the specimen. The unconfined compression test may be either strain-controlled or stress-controlled. The straincontrolled test is almost universally used since it requires a simple loading method in which a


motor with the proper gear ratio controls the rate of advance of a loading head. On the other hand, a stress-controlled test requires incremental changing of loads and may result in erratic strain response. The shear strength obtained from the unconfined compression test is usually conservative (too low). This is probably due to loss of confining pressure and sampling disturbance.

APPARATUS Unconfined compression machine. Trimming and cutting devices and tools. Balance (sensitive to 0.01 g). Moisture content cans. Remolding apparatus. Drying oven at ll0C.

PROCEDURE Preparing an undisturbed specimen &' Remove the undisturbed sample from its wax seal.

&' Place the sample in the lathe and trim it carefully to a diameter, about 2 mm larger than the required one, using a wire saw. The largest particle size contained within the specimen should be smaller than one tenth of the specimen diameter. Then, use the other side of the lathe to trim the sample to its final diameter (minimum 30 ram or 1.3). Note: This procedure avoids shearing the sample before achieving the required diameter. &' Put the sample in the miter box and cut it to a length that provides height-to-diameter ratio between 2 to 2.5. &' From the trimmings, obtain three representative specimens for water content. determination (one from near each end and one from near the mid height).
Preparing a compacted specimen &' In this case, specimens shall be prepared to the predetermined water content and density prescribed by the individual assigning the test.

&' Mix about 1 kg of the soil with water to reproduce a sample of a specific water content. &' From the soil mix, obtain three representative specimens for water content determinations &' Prepare the specimen in the specific mold, trim the ends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis, remove from mold and determine the mass and dimensions of the test specimen.


Loading procedure

1. Place two filters at the ends of the specimen and then place it in the testing machine with its vertical axis as near to the center of the loading blocks. 2. Apply normal load slowly at a constant rate until either failure or 15% deformation occurs, whichever is reached first. 3. Record simultaneous readings of the load and deformation at frequent enough intervals to define the stress-strain relationship. 4. Sketch the failed specimen. This sketch should be shown on the sheet representing the stressstrain plot.
RESULTS AND CALCULATIONS 1 Record all data on the data sheet.

2. Calculate the axial strain (0) for all the applied loads using the equation 0 = ,L/Lo where: 0 ,L Lo = = = Axial strain Change in specimen height for a given stress. Initial specimen height

3. Calculate the actual stress for the corresponding loads. The stresses shall be calculated based on the corrected cross sectional area as follows: . = P/Acorr Acorr = Acorr /(1-0) where: . Acorr Ao = = = the actual stress on the specimen the corrected cross sectional area of the specimen the initial cross sectional area of the specimen

4. Plot the relationship between the compressive stress and the corresponding axial strain. Determine the maximum value of the compressive stress or the compressive stress at 15% axial strain, whichever is secured first. This value represents the unconfined compressive strength (qu) 5. The shear strength (su) of the specimen is calculated as half of the unconfined compressive strength (qu).


Unconfined Compression Test

s u = qu / 2

Description of Soil ___________________________________________________________ Depth of sample: ___________ Tested by: ____________________ Date: _____________ Diameter: ________ cm Area: ________ cm2 Height ___________ cm Volume: ________ cm3 Weight: ________ g Wet unit weight ___________ Water content: ________ % LRC: ________ Dry unit weight ___________ cm Load Axial Strain Total Unit Area Corrected Sample Dial Load Dial Deformation Strain Correction Area Stress(.) Reading (kN) Reading factor Acorr KN/m2 ,L (mm) ,L/Lo

Unconfined compression strength (qu) = _____________ Shear strength (su) = _____________