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Laboratory Testing Guidance

Cuts / At Grade
Cohesive Soils
1.

PSD bulk samples Fine (150g) Med (2.5kg) Coarse (17kg) required.

2.

Atterbergs - bulk or disturbed samples Fine (500g) Med (1kg) Coarse (2kg) required.
* Check MC is supplied, if not these will have to be scheduled separately.

3.

MCV bulk (large) up to 12kg required after sieving single point @ one MC
Calibration @ five MCs.
Calibration is valuable for soils thought at SI stage to be employed as fill.

4.

Compaction bulk -

2.5kg rammer for up to med gravel


)
4.5kg rammer for same but for when
)
larger embankments are anticipated )

2.5kg sample

Vibrating rammer for coarse gravel

80kg sample

*Check MC is supplied, if not will have to be scheduled.


5.

CBR bulk up to 12kg sample

Samples close to proposed road formation, so


may be at depth if proposed cut is large.
Not appropriate for really coarse material.

* Check MC is supplied, if not will have to be scheduled.


6.

Bulk density undisturbed need good sample size, and relatively homogenous
clays

7.

Triaxial (shear strength) undisturbed sample (to get c and )


- consolidated (with PWP) undrained (specimen not allowed to drain)
- consolidated drained (specimen allowed to drain)
- Multistage drained (long test, 3 stages)
Effective stress testing
Effective stress = applied stress
Single stage = OB
Multi stage = 0.5 x OB, OB, 2 x OB

Granular Soils (a lot of parameters can be correlated from SPTs)


1.

PSD (as before)

2.

Compaction (as before)

3.

CBR (if max particle size < 20mm)

Rock
1.

UCS (ISRM, 1981)


Test specimens: Circular cylinders height to diameter ratio of 2.5 3.0, diameter
preferably not less than NX core size (approx. 54mm); largest grain : rock ratio at least
10:1
Load applied continuously to specimen until failure
For Rock Excavatability, Rock Cut Slopes, Rock Anchors, Retaining Walls etc.

2.

Point Load Test (ISRM, 1985)


Test specimens:
Core
- Diametral test length/diameter ratio >1.0
- Axial test length/diameter ratio 0.3-1.0
Blocks - Block test rock blocks size 50 30 mm
Lumps - Irregular lump test lump size 50 30 mm
For Rock Excavatability, Rock Cut Slopes, Rock Anchors, Retaining Walls etc.

3.

Soundness by Solution of Magnesium Sulphate (BS812)


Sample: Aggregate passing 14mm sieve and retained on 10mm sieve (25kg)
Used for Classification of Aggregate as Fill.
(Ability of an aggregate to resist excessive volume changes as a result of changes in
the physical environment, e.g. freeze-thaw, thermal changes at temp. above freezing,
slaking etc.)

4.

10% Fines
Sample: Aggregate passing 14mm sieve and retained on 10mm sieve (25kg)
Classification of Aggregate as Fill
(Resistance of aggregate to crushing under a gradually applied compressive load)

5.

Slake Durability (ISRM)


Number of small samples of known weight placed in wire mesh drum and immersed in
water. Drum rotated at fixed speed for 10 minutes, causing specimens to rub and
abrade. % loss in weight is slake durability index. Measures resistance of rock to
slaking
Classification of Aggregate as Fill / Sub Base
In aggregates, test is only relevant to the lowest grade materials whose weakness is
self evident and which might be employed in road sub-base material.

Embankments and Structures


Cohesive Soils
1.

PSD built samples Fine (150g) Med (2.5kg) Coarse (17kg) required.

2.

Atterbergs - bulk or disturbed Fine (500g) Med (1kg) Coarse (2kg) required.
* Check MC is supplied, if not these will have to be scheduled separately.

3.

Consolidation Oedometer its useful to know proposed embankment/structure


loadings in area sample was taken.
Standard test is for at least 4 increments of pressure.
(0.5 x OB, OB, 2 x OB, 4 x OB, 2 x OB, 0.5 x OB)
This test gives you mv (compressibility) and cv (consolidation)

4.

Triaxial (shear strength) undisturbed sample (to get Cu and )


Quick undrained (without PWP) can be single stage, multistage or 3 x 38mm
samples (mainly for piling)

Granular Soils (a lot of parameters can be correlated from SPTs)


1.

PSD bulk samples Fine (150g) Med (2.5kg) Coarse (17kg) required.
Note - For a concrete structures, schedule SO4 and PH to assess chemical attack on
concrete (SO4 = 1.2 x 503). For metal structures, schedule redox potential and
resistivity to assess corrosiveness of soils.

Rock
1.

UCS (ISRM, 1981)


For Foundation design

2.

Point Load Test (ISRM, 1985)


For foundation design