Expert Answer:Soil Mechanics

  

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LAB 3 ATTERBERG LIMITS
Purpose:
This lab is performed to determine the plastic and liquid limits of a finegrained soil. The liquid limit (LL) is arbitrarily defined as the water content, in
percent, at which a pat of soil 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 (1/2
in.) when subjected to 25 shocks from the cup being dropped 10 mm in a standard
liquid limit apparatus operated at a rate of two shocks per second. The plastic limit
(PL) is the water content, in percent, at which a soil can no longer be deformed by
rolling into 3.2 mm (1/8 in.) diameter threads without crumbling.
Standard Reference:
ASTM D 4318 – Standard Test Method for Liquid Limit, Plastic Limit, and
Plasticity Index of Soils
Significance:
The Swedish soil scientist Albert Atterberg originally defined seven “limits of
consistency” to classify fine-grained soils, but in current engineering practice only
two of the limits, the liquid and plastic limits, are commonly used. (A third limit,
called the shrinkage limit, is used occasionally.) The Atterberg limits are based on
the moisture content of the soil. The plastic limit is the moisture content that
defines where the soil changes from a semi-solid to a plastic (flexible) state. The
liquid limit is the moisture content that defines where the soil changes from a plastic
to a viscous fluid state. The shrinkage limit is the moisture content that defines
where the soil volume will not reduce further if the moisture content is reduced. A
Engineering Properties of Soils Based on Laboratory Testing
Prof. Krishna Reddy, UIC
61
wide variety of soil engineering properties have been correlated to the liquid and
plastic limits, and these Atterberg limits are also used to classify a fine-grained soil
according to the Unified Soil Classification system or AASHTO system.
Equipment:
Liquid limit device, Porcelain (evaporating) dish, Flat grooving tool with gage,
Eight moisture cans, Balance, Glass plate, Spatula, Wash bottle filled with distilled
water, Drying oven set at 105°C.
Engineering Properties of Soils Based on Laboratory Testing
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Engineering Properties of Soils Based on Laboratory Testing
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Test Procedure:
Liquid Limit:
(1)
Take roughly 3/4 of the soil and place it into the porcelain dish.
Assume that the soil was previously passed though a No. 40 sieve,
air-dried, and then pulverized. Thoroughly mix the soil with a small
amount of distilled water until it appears as a smooth uniform paste.
Cover the dish with cellophane to prevent moisture from escaping.
(2)
Weigh four of the empty moisture cans with their lids, and record the
respective weights and can numbers on the data sheet.
(3)
Adjust the liquid limit apparatus by checking the height of drop of the
cup. The point on the cup that comes in contact with the base should
rise to a height of 10 mm. The block on the end of the grooving tool is
Engineering Properties of Soils Based on Laboratory Testing
Prof. Krishna Reddy, UIC
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10 mm high and should be used as a gage. Practice using the cup
and determine the correct rate to rotate the crank so that the cup
drops approximately two times per second.
(4)
Place a portion of the previously mixed soil into the cup of the liquid
limit apparatus at the point where the cup rests on the base. Squeeze
the soil down to eliminate air pockets and spread it into the cup to a
depth of about 10 mm at its deepest point. The soil pat should form
an approximately horizontal surface (See Photo B).
(5)
Use the grooving tool carefully cut a clean straight groove down the
center of the cup. The tool should remain perpendicular to the surface
of the cup as groove is being made. Use extreme care to prevent
sliding the soil relative to the surface of the cup (See Photo C).
(6)
Make sure that the base of the apparatus below the cup and the
underside of the cup is clean of soil. Turn the crank of the apparatus
at a rate of approximately two drops per second and count the number
of drops, N, it takes to make the two halves of the soil pat come into
contact at the bottom of the groove along a distance of 13 mm (1/2 in.)
(See Photo D). If the number of drops exceeds 50, then go directly to
step eight and do not record the number of drops, otherwise, record
the number of drops on the data sheet.
(7)
Take a sample, using the spatula, from edge to edge of the soil pat.
The sample should include the soil on both sides of where the groove
came into contact. Place the soil into a moisture can cover it.
Immediately weigh the moisture can containing the soil, record its
Engineering Properties of Soils Based on Laboratory Testing
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mass, remove the lid, and place the can into the oven. Leave the
moisture can in the oven for at least 16 hours. Place the soil
remaining in the cup into the porcelain dish. Clean and dry the cup on
the apparatus and the grooving tool.
(8)
Remix the entire soil specimen in the porcelain dish. Add a small
amount of distilled water to increase the water content so that the
number of drops required to close the groove decrease.
(9)
Repeat steps six, seven, and eight for at least two additional trials
producing successively lower numbers of drops to close the groove.
One of the trials shall be for a closure requiring 25 to 35 drops, one for
closure between 20 and 30 drops, and one trial for a closure requiring
15 to 25 drops. Determine the water content from each trial by using
the same method used in the first laboratory. Remember to use the
same balance for all weighing.
Plastic Limit:
(1)
Weigh the remaining empty moisture cans with their lids, and record
the respective weights and can numbers on the data sheet.
(2)
Take the remaining 1/4 of the original soil sample and add distilled
water until the soil is at a consistency where it can be rolled without
sticking to the hands.
(3)
Form the soil into an ellipsoidal mass (See Photo F). Roll the mass
between the palm or the fingers and the glass plate (See Photo G).
Use sufficient pressure to roll the mass into a thread of uniform
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diameter by using about 90 strokes per minute. (A stroke is one
complete motion of the hand forward and back to the starting position.)
The thread shall be deformed so that its diameter reaches 3.2 mm (1/8
in.), taking no more than two minutes.
(4)
When the diameter of the thread reaches the correct diameter, break
the thread into several pieces. Knead and reform the pieces into
ellipsoidal masses and re-roll them. Continue this alternate rolling,
gathering together, kneading and re-rolling until the thread crumbles
under the pressure required for rolling and can no longer be rolled into
a 3.2 mm diameter thread (See Photo H).
(5)
Gather the portions of the crumbled thread together and place the soil
into a moisture can, then cover it. If the can does not contain at least
6 grams of soil, add soil to the can from the next trial (See Step 6).
Immediately weigh the moisture can containing the soil, record its
mass, remove the lid, and place the can into the oven. Leave the
moisture can in the oven for at least 16 hours.
(6)
Repeat steps three, four, and five at least two more times. Determine
the water content from each trial by using the same method used in
the first laboratory. Remember to use the same balance for all
weighing.
Engineering Properties of Soils Based on Laboratory Testing
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Analysis:
Liquid Limit:
(1)
Calculate the water content of each of the liquid limit moisture cans
after they have been in the oven for at least 16 hours.
(2)
Plot the number of drops, N, (on the log scale) versus the water
content (w). Draw the best-fit straight line through the plotted points
and determine the liquid limit (LL) as the water content at 25 drops.
Plastic Limit:
(1)
Calculate the water content of each of the plastic limit moisture cans
after they have been in the oven for at least 16 hours.
(2)
Compute the average of the water contents to determine the plastic
limit, PL. Check to see if the difference between the water contents is
greater than the acceptable range of two results (2.6 %).
(3)
Calculate the plasticity index, PI=LL-PL.
Report the liquid limit, plastic limit, and plasticity index to the nearest
whole number, omitting the percent designation.
Engineering Properties of Soils Based on Laboratory Testing
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EXAMPLE DATA
Engineering Properties of Soils Based on Laboratory Testing
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ATTERBERG LIMITS
DATA SHEETS
Date Tested: September 20, 2002
Tested By: CEMM315 Class, Group A
Project Name: CEMM315 Lab
Sample Number: B-1, SS-1, 8’-10’
Sample Description: Grayey silty clay
Liquid Limit Determination
Sample no.
1
2
3
4
Moisture can and lid number
11
1
5
4
22.23
28.56
27.40
5.03
1.16
23.06
23.31
29.27
28.10
4.79
1.17
24.43
21.87
25.73
24.90
3.03
0.83
27.39
22.58
25.22
24.60
2.02
0.62
30.69
31
29
20
14
1
2
3
7
7.78
16.39
15.28
7.5
1. 11
14.8
14
7.83
13.43
12 .69
4.86
0.74
15.2
13
15.16
21.23
20.43
5.27
0.8
15.1
MC = Mass of empty, clean can + lid (grams)
MCMS = Mass of can, lid, and moist soil (grams)
MCDS = Mass of can, lid, and dry soil (grams)
MS = Mass of soil solids (grams)
MW = Mass of pore water (grams)
w = Water content, w%
No. of drops (N)
Plastic Limit Determination
Sample no.
Moisture can and lid number
MC = Mass of empty, clean can + lid (grams)
MCMS = Mass of can, lid, and moist soil (grams)
MCDS = Mass of can, lid, and dry soil (grams)
MS = Mass of soil solids (grams)
MW = Mass of pore water (grams)
w = Water content, w%
Plastic Limit (PL)= Average w % =
14.8 + 15.2 + 15.1
= 15.0
3
Engineering Properties of Soils Based on Laboratory Testing
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LIQUID LIMIT CHART
Water Content, w%
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
0
5
10
15
20
25
No. of Blows, N
From the above graph, Liquid Limit = 26
Final Results:
Liquid Limit = 26
Plastic Limit = 15
Plasticity Index =11
Engineering Properties of Soils Based on Laboratory Testing
Prof. Krishna Reddy, UIC
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35
71
BLANK DATA SHEETS
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ATTERBERG LIMITS
DATA SHEETS
Date Tested:
Tested By:
Project Name:
Sample Number:
Sample Description:
Liquid Limit Determination
Sample no.
1
2
3
1
2
3
Moisture can and lid number
MC = Mass of empty, clean can + lid (grams)
MCMS = Mass of can, lid, and moist soil (grams)
MCDS = Mass of can, lid, and dry soil (grams)
MS = Mass of soil solids (grams)
MW = Mass of pore water (grams)
w = Water content, w%
No. of drops (N)
Plastic Limit Determination
Sample no.
Moisture can and lid number
MC = Mass of empty, clean can + lid (grams)
MCMS = Mass of can, lid, and moist soil (grams)
MCDS = Mass of can, lid, and dry soil (grams)
MS = Mass of soil solids (grams)
MW = Mass of pore water (grams)
w = Water content, w%
Plastic Limit (PL) = Average w % =
Engineering Properties of Soils Based on Laboratory Testing
Prof. Krishna Reddy, UIC
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73
LIQUID LIMIT CHART
Water Content, w%
40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
0
10
20
30
40
No. of Blows, N
Final Results:
Liquid Limit =
Plastic Limit =
Plasticity Index =
Engineering Properties of Soils Based on Laboratory Testing
Prof. Krishna Reddy, UIC
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