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Soil Mechanics 2019

Soil Sampling and Preparation

1. Soil samples will be obtained by using a shovel.

2. Dig a hole at least 1m from the top soil.

3. Collect samples and then proceed to performing standard procedures for determining
soil properties.

Mixing the Baseline Soil to the Stabilizer

1. Mix the baseline soil to the stabilizer (gypsum). Prepare 3 different soil-stabilizer
mixture percentages (10%, 12% and 14%), in this experiment, by hand mixing to provide
equal distribution of the stabilizer to the sand bed.

2. Prepare to perform standard procedures using the 3 different soil-stabilizer mixtures.

Soil Testing

For Determining Soil Properties:

Atterberg’s Limits

Liquid Limit Test (ASTM D-4318)

1. Prepare at least 250g of representative airdry soil sample passing the no. 40 sieve.
Pulverize this soil sample. Be sure to break all lumps to elemental particles.

2. Prepare at least 3 moisture tin cans. Mix the prepared sample with a small amount
of water. Mix the sample of soil thoroughly until it becomes uniform and consistent
in appearance (no lumps). A major source of error is poor mixing.

3. On the liquid limit device cup, place an amount of sol. Smooth the pat surface.
Using the grooving tool, cut a groove at the middle.

4. Fasten the brass cup to the hinge of the liquid limit device.

5. Using the 1cm. block at the end of the grooving tool, adjust the height of the fall to
exactly 1 centimeter. Height of fall is very critical and as little as 0.1cm can affect
the liquid limit by several percent.

6. Prepare 3 different consistencies of soil based on the number of blows in the liquid
limit device: 25-35, 20-30 and 15-25 blows. This is done carefully by adding water
to the soil.

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Soil Mechanics 2019
7. Mix the soil sample until the consistency would require 25-35 blows to close the
groove for about 12.5 mm. Take moisture content near the groove using 30g of soil
to determine the moisture content by placing in the oven. Keep the temperature at
105 oC.

8. Add additional water to test the remaining consistencies of soil. Repeat procedure

9. Draw the flow curve wherein the data is recorded with the water content in the
domain and the log N in the abscissa. The water content that would require 25
blows to close the groove is the liquid limit of the sample.

Plastic Limit Test (ASTM D-4318)

1. Take a sample of about 100 grams.

2. Start rolling the soil between the finger and the glass plate with adequate pressure
to form a soil thread approximately 3mm with 80-90 strokes per minute. When the
diameter of the threads of soil becomes 3mm, break the threads in smaller pieces,
reform into a ball and re-roll. Continue this re-balling and re-rolling until threads
crumble under pressure and soil can no longer be rolled into threads.

3. When the threads crumbles at a diameter greater than 3mm this is satisfactory to
define the plastic limit.

4. Place the crumbled soil in a tin can until a weight of about 30grams is achieved. Do
this until two (2) samples are achieved. Place it in an oven to oven dry. Maintain
the temperature at 105 oC.

5. After determining the moisture content, determine its average. The result is the
plastic limit of the soil.

Compaction Test (ASTM D-698)

1. Weigh the empty mold.

2. Obtain a 6 lb. representative specimen of the soil sample to be tested. Break

sample with the use of rubber pestle and pass through No. 4 sieve.

3. Form a 2 to 3 inch layer using the soil passing though No. 4 sieve.

4. Press soil until it is smooth and compact it with a specific number of evenly
distributed blows of the hammer, using a one foot drop. Rotate the hammer to
ensure a uniform distribution of blows.

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Soil Mechanics 2019
5. Repeat the same procedure for the second and third layers seeing to it that a
uniform distribution of blows.

6. After compaction of the third layer the soil should be slightly above the top rim of
the mold.

7. Remove the collar and trim off the soil from the top of the mold. Tart trimming
along the center and work towards end of the mold.

8. After the soil has been made even with the top of the mold and all base soil cleaned
from the outside, weigh the cylinder sample to 10 lb.

9. Remove the soil from cylinder and obtain a representative sample of 50gm for a
water content determination. The water content sample should be made up with
specimens from the top, middle and bottom of the compacted soil.

10. Break up by hand then removed from the cylinder and remix with the original
sample and raise its water content by 3% by adding water to the sample with
sprayer. Mix the soil thoroughly. By weighing the sprayer before and after the
spraying, the amount of water added is known.

11. Keep repeating the procedures for 5 times until soil is sticky. Use 3% approximate
water content.

12. Compute dry density of each sample and plot the compaction curve. Determine the
Optimum Moisture Content of the sample.

For Shearing Testing:

Direct Shear Test (ASTM D-3080)

1. Remove the shear box assembly. Back off the three vertical and two horizontal
screws. Remove the loading head. Insert the two vertical pins to keep the two
halves of the shear box together.

2. Weigh some dry sand in a large porcelain dish, 𝑊1 , Fill the shear box with sand in
small layers. A tamper may be used to compact the sand layers. The top of the
compacted specimen should be about 2in. (6.4 mm) below the top of the shear box.
Level the surface of the sand specimen.

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Soil Mechanics 2019
3. Determine the dimensions of the soil specimen (i.e., length L, width B, and height H
of the specimen).

4. Slip the loading head down from the top of the shear box to rest on the soil

5. Put the shear box assembly in place in the direct shear machine.

6. Apply the desired normal load N, on the specimen. This can be done by hanging
dead weights to the vertical load yoke. The top crossbars will rest on the loading
head of the specimen which, in tum, rests on the soil specimen.'

7. Remove the two vertical pines (which were inserted in Step 1 to keep the two
halves of the shear box together).

8. Advance the three vertical screws that are located on the side walls of the top half
of the shear box. This is done to separate the two halves of the box. The space
between the two halves of the box should be slightly larger than the largest grain
size of the soil specimen (by visual observation).

9. Set the loading head by tightening the two horizontal screws located at the top half
of the shear box. Now back off the three vertical screws. After doing this, there will
be no connection between the two halves of the shear box except the soil.

10. Attach the horizontal and vertical dial gauges (0.001 in./small div) to the shear box
to measure the displacement during the test.

11. Apply horizontal load, S, to the top half of the shear box. The rate of shear
displacement should be between 0.1 to 0.02 in./min (2.54 to 0.51 mm/min). For
every tenth small division displacement in the horizontal dial gauge, record the
readings of the vertical dial gauge and the proving ring gauge (which measures
horizontal load, S). Continue this until after

a. the proving ring dial gauge reading reaches a maximum and then falls, or

b. the proving ring dial gauge reading reaches a maximum and then remains


Specific Gravity

𝑮𝒕 (𝑾𝒔 )
𝑮𝒔 =
𝑾𝒔 + (𝑾𝒂 + 𝑾𝒃 )

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Soil Mechanics 2019

𝑮𝒕 Specific Gravity of water

𝑾𝒔 Weight of oven dried soil

𝑾𝒂 Weight of bottle with water

𝑾𝒃 Weight of bottle with soil and water




Dry Density

𝝆𝒅 = 𝝎
𝟏 + 𝟏𝟎𝟎

Normal Stress

𝑵𝒐𝒓𝒎𝒂𝒍 𝑳𝒐𝒂𝒅 (𝒌𝑵)


Shearing Stress

𝑺𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝑭𝒐𝒓𝒄𝒆 (𝒌𝑵)


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