|Dry Density - Water Content Relationship||
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To assess the degree of compaction, it is necessary to use the dry unit weight, which is an indicator of compactness of solid soil particles in a given volume. The laboratory testing is meant to establish the maximum dry density that can be attained for a given soil with a standard amount of compactive effort.
A series of samples of the soil are compacted at different water contents, and a curve is drawn with axes of dry density and water content. The resulting plot usually has a distinct peak as shown. Such inverted “V” curves are obtained for cohesive soils (or soils with fines), and are known as compaction curves.
Dry density can be related to water content and degree of saturation (S) as
This increase in dry density continues till a stage is reached where water starts occupying the space that could have been occupied by the soil grains. Thus the water at this stage hinders the closer packing of grains and reduces the dry unit weight. The maximum dry density (MDD) occurs at an optimum water content (OMC), and their values can be obtained from the plot.
An increase in compactive effort produces a very large increase in dry density for soil when it is compacted at water contents drier than the optimum moisture content.It should be noted that for moisture contents greater than the optimum, the use of heavier compaction effort will have only a small effect on increasing dry unit weights.
It can be seen that the compaction curve is not a unique soil characteristic. It depends on the compaction effort. For this reason, it is important to specify the compaction procedure (light or heavy) when giving values of MDD and OMC.