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Lab Report #2

Determination of the Atterberg Limits and Plasticity Index

The purpose of this report is to determine the liquid limit using Multipoint Method, the
plastic limit using Hand Method, and the plasticity index of the soil sample obtained from
the field. These values are essential in classifying the type of soil and are also used
together with other soil properties to associate soils behaviour such as compressibility,
shrink-swell, shear strength, relative consistency, and activity. It has been determined that
the liquid limit of the soil sample is 48%, the plastic limit is 29%, and the plasticity index
is 19%. Using these values, the soil sample was classified to have medium plasticity and
contain mostly of silts with medium compressibility.

Submitted by: Julius Rey D. Baniqued

Group Mates:
Renz Gian Cavida
Ephraim Madanguit
Christian Paul Maranan
Roland Mondano Jr.
Marc Neil Rabin

Date Performed: September 18, 2015


Date Submitted: October 2, 2015

I.

Objectives

Determine the liquid limit of the soil sample using Multipoint Liquid Limit
Test.

II.

III.

Determine the plastic limit using Hand Method.

Calculate the plasticity index.

Materials

Soil Sample

Liquid Limit Device

Grooving Tool

Water Content Containers

Weighing Scale

Spatula

Sieve No. 40

Water

Drying Oven

Mortar and Pestle

Mixing container

Methodology
Preparation of the Specimen

The specimen was


pulverized using mortar
and pestle.
Soil specimen
was taken in
the site.

The specimen
was dried in an
oven.
Sufficient amount of
material passing
through Sieve No. 40
was obtained

Multipoint Liquid Limit Test

A portion of the sieved


sample was mixed with an
amount of water and was
placed in the cup of the
liquid limit device using a
spatula, with the depth of
the deepest point about 10
mm.

A groove was
formed in the
soil pat using
the grooving
tool.

The crank of the liquid limit


device was turned until the
groove closes along a
distance of about 13 mm.
The number of turns was
recorded.

A slice of soil from


the liquid limit
device was placed
in the container
using a spatula. The
mass of the
container plus the
specimen was
determined.

The container with


the specimen was
dried in an oven.
The mass of the
container plus the
dried specimen was
determined.

Trials = 5?

No

The mass of the


container on which
the specimen will
be placed was
determined.

Yes

End

Plastic Limit Test


Using the same
specimen as the
liquid limit test, a
1.5 to 2 g portion
was obtained.

Start

No

The portion was


rolled into a thread
until its diameter
reaches 3.2 mm.

The portion was


reformed into an
ellipsoidal mass
and rerolled until it
crumbles.

No

Trials = 3?
Yes

Mass of
soil > 6 g?
Yes

End

Crumbled threads
are placed in a
container of known
mass.

IV.

Data and Results

Liquid Limit
Trial 1

Trial 2

Trial 3

Trial 4

Trial 5

Mass Moist Soil + Container, g

29.50

28.17

32.06

32.31

29.80

Mass Dry Soil + Container, g

22.23

21.48

25.39

24.79

22.58

Mass Container, g

8.00

6.44

9.89

9.75

8.21

Number of Blows

12

51

37

28

15

51.0892

44.4814

43.0323

50

50.2436

Water Content

Water Content vs Number of Blows


Water Content, %

52
50
y = -5.188ln(x) + 64.442
R = 0.7167

48
46

Water Content vs
Number of Blows

44

Log. (Water Content vs


Number of Blows)

42
1

10

100

Number of Blows

Substituting the x = 25 to the best-fit line equation or the flow line, the liquid limit was
determined to be 48%.

Plastic Limit
Trial 1

Trial 2

Trial 3

Mass Moist Soil + Container, g

21.98

22.1

16.70

Mass Dry Soil + Container, g

18.63

19.2

14.94

Mass Container, g

8.28

8.89

8.39

Water Content, %

32.3671

28.128

26.8702

Taking the average of the water content for 3 trials, the plastic limit was determined to be
29%.

Calculating the plasticity index,

Plasticity index is 19%.


Equations used

where:
w = water content, %
Mcms = mass of container and moist specimen, g
Mcds = mass of container and oven dry specimen, g
Mc = mass of container, g
Sample Computation:
Mass Moist Soil + Container, g
Mass Dry Soil + Container, g
Mass Container, g

V.

29.50
22.23
8

Analysis and Discussion

The moisture content at which the soil transitions from plastic state to liquid state is the
liquid limit. In the experiment, the liquid limit is the moisture content required closing a
groove after 25 blows. The water content values are plotted against the number of blows.
It has been noticed during the test that as the water content of the soil increases, the
number of blows required for the groove to close decreases. This indicates that as more
water is added to the specimen, it tends to reach its liquid state. The liquid limit was
determined to be 48%.

The moisture content at which the soil transitions from semisolid state to plastic state is
the plastic limit. In the experiment, it is the moisture content at which the soil crumbles
when rolled into threads of 3.2 mm. Taking the average of the moisture content of the

three trials made, the plastic limit of the soil specimen was determined to be 29%. For a
plastic soil, liquid limit should be greater than the plastic limit. This property has been
confirmed in the experiment as shown in the value of the plasticity index, i.e., PI = 19 >0.

The Atterberg limits are essential in classifying soils. These classification systems include
Burmister qualitative classification of soils and Casagrandes plasticity chart.

Using the classification of soils by the plasticity index shown below by Burmister (1949),
it can be shown that the soil sample has medium plasticity.

Using the plasticity chart by Casagrande (1932) below, it can be seen that the relationship
between the plasticity index and liquid limit of the soil sample lies below the A-line. The
A line separates the clays from the silts, where clays lie above the A-line while the silts
lie below it. From this, it can be seen that the soil sample consist of mainly inorganic silts
with medium compressibility and inorganic silts.

In terms of accuracy, it can be seen that the test has significant range of errors. When
considering liquid limit test, the quality of water used can affect the behaviour of the soil.
Possible contamination of the water used is a potential source of error of the experiment
as seen from the plot outliers. When considering the plastic limit test, the amount of hand
pressure and hand shape varies widely with respect to the experimenters. This can affect
the determined values of the plastic limit. Also, the time taken up in doing the experiment
may also affect the results.

VI.

Conclusion
Through the Multipoint Liquid Limit Test, it has been determined that the liquid limit of
the soil sample is 48%. The plastic limit has been determined to be 29%. Using the values
of the liquid and plastic limit, it has been determined that the plasticity index is 19%.
Using the Burmister classification and Casegrandes plasticity chart, it has been
determined that the soil sample has medium plasticity and contains mostly of silts with
medium compressibility.

VII.

References

ASTM D4318-10e1, Standard Test Methods for Liquid Limit, Plastic Limit, and
Plasticity Index of Soils, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA,
2010, www.astm.org
Burmister, D. M. Principles and Techniques of Soil Identification, Proceedings, Annual
Highway Research Board Meeting, National Research Council, Washington, D.C.,
Vol. 29,402434, 1949.
Casagrande, A. Research of Atterberg Limits of Soils, Public Roads, Vol. 13, No. 8,
121136, 1932.

Das, B.M.. Principles of Geotechnical Engineering. Cengage Learning. 2010.