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OBJECTIVE

To Determine the Lowest Moisture Content at Which the Soil Behaves Plastically.

INTRODUCTION
The following moisture conditions - liquid unlit, plastic limit, along with shrinkage limit
are referred to as the "Atterberg Limits", after the originator of the test procedures. SemiSolid .StagySolid State Atterbera Limits and Indices. The

plastic limit, also known as

the lower plastic limit, is the water content at which a soil changes from the plastic state
to a semisolid state. A plastic limit set is an apparatus that is used to determine the
plastic limit of soil. The change from a semisolid state to a plastic state of soil is a gradual
process. According to a standard empirical definition, the plastic limit is the water content
at which a soil passing a 0.425mm sieve can be rolled into threads one-eighth inch in
diameter without the soil breaking into pieces. Generally, the terms

plastic

and liquid limit are used together for soil identification and classification.The

limit
method

described herein is based upon A_ASHTO Designation T89 which has been modified for
New York State Department of Transportation use. The liquid limit of a soil is the
moisture content, expressed as a percentage of the weight of the oven-dried soil. at the
boundary between the liquid and plastic states of consistency. The moisture content at
this boundary is arbitrarily defiled as the water content at which two halves of a soil
ca1Le will flow together, for a distance of l,- in.(12.7 min) along the bottom of a groove
of standard dimensions separating the two halves, when the cup of a standard liquid limit
apparatus is dropped 25 times from height of 0.3937 in. (10 nun) at the rate of two
drops/second.

DISCUSSION
Plastic limit ( P w ) of soil is defined as the water content at which a soil
to crumble when rolled into a thread of approximately 3 mm in

will just begin

diameter. It is water

content at the boundary between the plastic and semi-solid states of consistency of the
soil. Plasticity index (PI or IP) is the numerical difference of the liquid and plastic limit,
and indicates the range of water content through which the soil remains plastic.
Plasticity Index
(IP or PI)
0
<7
7-17
> 17

Degree of Plasticity

Type of Soil

Non-Plastic
Sand
Low-Plastic
Silt
Medium Plastic
Silty clay or clayey silt
Highly
Plastic Clay
Classification of soil according to plasticity.

Liquidity Index (IL or LI)


Consistency
< 0.0
Desiccated (dry) hard soil
0.0-0.25
Stiff
0.25-0.50
Medium to soft
0.50-0.75
Soft
0.75-1.00
Very soft
>1.00
Liquid s
Classification of soil according to liquidity indices.

APPARATUS & MATERIAL


1.

The most important piece of apparatus for this test is the hand of operator,
which should be clean and free from grease.

2.

Evaporating dish.

3.

A separate glass plate reserved for rolling of threads.

4.

Two palette knives or spatulas.

5.

A short length (say 100 mm) of 3mm diameter metal rod.

6.

Standard moisture content apparatus (container, balance and oven)

PROCEDURES
1)

First of all a soil paste is prepared and a part of it is placed on the glass
mixing plate.

2)

The soil is allowed to dry to such an extent that it becomes plastic and can
be shaped into a ball.

3)

The ball is then moulded by pressing gently between fingers and palms so
that it dries up and cracks appear on the soil.

4)

The soil is then divided into two sub-samples and separate determination
process is carried out for both the samples. Moisture is evenly spread on
both soil samples by pressing them between fingers. A thread is formed of
about 6mm diameter between the first finger and thumb of each hand.

5)

The thread is rolled between the fingers, from the finger-tip to the second
joint, of one hand and the surface of the glass rolling plate.

6)

The process is repeated until the thread shears both longitudinally and
transversely when it has been rolled to about 3mm diameter, as gauged by
a rod.

7)

Moisture content measurement :


This is placed in a numbered moisture content container, which is
weighed, oven dried and weighed as in the standard moisture

content

procedure.
i.

Weight the empty moisture content container

ii.

Take a moisture content sample of about 10 g from the area


penetrated by the cone, using the tip of a small spatula.

iii.

Weight the wet sample

iv.

Dry in the oven for about 24 hours (overnight)

v.

Weight the dry sample

(a)

(b)

(c)

(d)

6.0

(e)

RESULTS / ANALYSIS / CALCULATION

Container

Mass of empty

Mass of filled

After heated

A
B
C

container (g)
25.3
24.0
26.3

container (g)
43.6
47.2
48.0

40.2
42.9
43.7

Plastic limit