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Determination of Califorrnia Bearing Ratio Through

Material Index Properties


1

Samar A. Taha, B.Sc., 2Sherif M. El-Badawy, Ph.D.

Alaa M. Ali, Ph.D.

Public Works Engineering Dept. Faculty of Engineering


Mansoura University
Mansoura, Egypt
e-mail: 1samar_civil_eng2010@yahoo.com,
2
sbadawy@mans.edu.eg

Civil Engineering Dept.


Misr Higher Institute for Engineering and Technology
Mansoura, Egypt
e-mail: allaawy@yahoo.com

AbstractIn Egypt, California Bearing Ratio (CBR) is the major


input parameter used to characterize the strength of the unbound
materials and subgrade soils for pavement structural design.
Despite its simplicity, the CBR test is tedious and laborious.
Thus, this paper focuses on the development of a simple but
reliable and rational regression model to predict the CBR of the
unbound materials as a function of the index material properties.
A historical database containing measured CBR values along
with index material properties was collected from Mansoura
University Highway Engineering Laboratory. The index
properties in the database are gradation, liquid limit (LL), plastic
limit (PL), material diameter at which 60 percent of the material
is finer (D60), soil classification according to American
Association of State Highway Transportation Officials
(AASHTO), maximum dry density (MDD), and optimum
moisture content (OMC). The database contained granular as
well as fine-grained materials with CBR values in the range of
10% to 95%. Analysis of the data showed that the CBR values
are greatly influenced by percent passing No. 200 sieve and
MDD. A simple model predicting the CBR as a function of these
parameters was developed using optimization techniques. The
goodness of fit statistics of the measured and predicted CBR
values using the proposed model indicates a good prediction
accuracy and minimal bias.
Keywords-CBR; index properties; dry density; liquid limit;
Proctor; soaked

I. INTRODUCTION
California Bearing Ratio (CBR) is a measure of the relative
resistance of the unbound granular base/subbase materials and
subgrade soils to uniaxial penetration. In Essence, it is a
relative measure of the strength (stiffness) of the unbound
materials. The CBR can be measured either in the laboratory or
in the field. This test was developed by the California Division
of Highways around 1930s and was subsequently adopted by
many countries around the world. In Egypt, CBR is the major
input parameter used to characterize the strength of the
unbound materials and subgrade soils for pavement structural
design. Despite its simplicity, the CBR test is tedious and
laborious. Thus, many studies have been conducted to estimate
the CBR from the physical and compaction properties of the
materials. The most important relationships found in the
literature are the ones developed at Arizona State University

and implemented in the AASHTOWare Pavement ME Design


since its first release [1]. These relationships are as follows:
For cohesionless materials:
CBR = 28.091 (D60) 0.3581

(1)

For cohesive materials:

CBR

75
1 0.728( wPI )

wPI = P200 . PI

(2)
(3)

Where D60=diameter at 60% passing from the grain size


distribution, mm; wPI=weighted plasticity index; P200=
percent passing No. 200 U.S. sieve, decimal; and PI = plasticity
index, percentage.
It should be noted that, these relationships are questionable
because of the way they were developed. Only seven and
eleven data points were used to establish Eqs (1) and (2),
respectively. Moreover, the data points used for the
development of these relationships were typical ranges and
values of the CBR and Atterberg limits based on the material
class either according to AASHTO or Unified systems soil
classification systems rather than laboratory measured values.
Many other correlations between CBR and index soil
properties were found in the literature. Some of these
correlations are summarized in TABLE 1. One can surmise from
the data shown in the table that most of these models are for
fine materials. Few models are for coarse materials. In
addition, some of the cited models are based on very limited
materials while others are based on a good number of
materials.
The correlations found in the literature are based on simple
regression analysis between the CBR either soaked or
unsoaked and the index soil characteristics and compaction
properties such as liquid limit (LL), plastic limit (PL),
maximum dry density (MDD), optimum moisture content
(OMC), etc. Some recent correlations were based on the use of
Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) such as the ones given
in [12], [13] and [14].

TABLE 1. SUMMARY OF THE LITERATURE MODELS CORRELATING CBR AND INDEX MATERIAL PROPERTIES
No. of
Materials

R2

Remarks

CBR = 28.09 (D60) 0.358

0.84

Coarse Grained Soils

75
CBR
1 0.728( wPI )

11

0.67

Fine Grained Soils

Equation

CBRu=17.009-0.0696(PI)-0.296(MDD)
+0.0648(OMC)

Reference

USA

[1]

Fine Grained Soils

South
Gujarat,
India

[2]

Error =
-2.5%
12

CBR=43.907-0.093(PI)-18.78(MDD)
-0.3081(OMC)

CBR = 2- 16 log (OMC) + 0.07 L.L

Country

Error =
-2.5%

48

N.A

N.A

India

[3]

57

N.A

Fine Grained Soils

Malaysia

[4]

N.A

N.A

Fine grained, cohesive


soils with CBR 20%

Victoria,
Australia

[5]

NA

lateritic soil (A-2-4)

Osogbo,
Nigeria

[6]

0.53

N.A

N.A

[7]

N.A
0.69

Base course material

N.A

[7]

N.A

South
Africa

[5]

N.A

Malaysia

[8]

MDD = 19.2 (CBRtop / OMC) 0.05


MDD = 18.5 (CBR bottom / OMC) 0.05
CBR = 4.5 [(20-GI)/18]2
CBRu = 0.031(LL) + 83.19
CBRu = 0.8 (PL) + 65.31
CBRu = 10.43 (SG) + 56.19
CBRu = 8.66 (MMD) + 65.88
CBR = 0.22 (LL) + 28.87
CBR = 1.04 (PL) + 13.56
CBR = 9.42 (SG) + 10.91
CBR = 50.28 (MMD) -70.22

Mean CBR = - (0.25) LSP + 124

Log10(CBR) = 0.29(GM) - 0.024( PI) +1.23


CBR=2.1 (eGM)23Log [(LSP) (P425)0.7]+54
CBR=96.317.8Log[(LSP)(P425)0.7]
28.7Log(P200)
CBR=97.717.1Log[(PI)(P425)0.5]
30.7Log(P200)
CBR=119.633Log[(LL)0.7(P425)0.3]
33.2Log(P200)
CBR=80.532.3Log[LSP(P425)0.7]
CBR=90 47.4Log (P200)
0.18
CBRTop

OMC 5.73
No. of Blows

N.A

N.A

0.69
0.66
0.62
0.59
0.59
26

0.45

CBR=0.064(F)+0.082(S)+0.033(G)- 0.069(LL)
25
0.92
Fine Grained Soils
India
[9]
+0.157(PL)-1.810(MDD)-0.061(OMC)
CBR= -0.889(WLM)+45.616
N.A
0.979
Fine Grained Soils
N.A
[10]
where, WLM= LL (1 P425/100)
CBRu=(8.44-16.1PI)[Fi+488PI2-314PI+45]
Fine Grained Soils
24
N.A
Sudan
[11]
(Silty Clay)
CBR=(1.44-4.23PI)[Fs+264PI2-56PI-5]
CBR = California Bearing Ratio (soaked), %; D60 = Diameter at 60% passing from grain size distribution, mm; wPI = Weighted
Plasticity index; MDD=Maximum dry density; CBRtop=CBR values at top face of sample; CBRbottom = CBR values at bottom face of
sample; OMC=Optimum Moisture Content; GI=group index; CBRu = unsoaked CBR; LL = Liquid limit; PL = Plastic limit; PI=Plasticity
index; SG = Specific gravity; LSP = Linear shrinkage P200 = passing No. 200 U.S. sieve, %; GM = grading modulus; P425 = passing
sieve size 0.425 mm; F=Fines, %; S=Sand, %; G=Gravel, %; Fi=initial state factor; Fi=soaking state factor.

II. OBJECTIVES
This paper focuses on the development of a simple but reliable
and rational regression model to predict the CBR of the unbound
materials used for road construction projects in the Delta region in
Egypt.

III. DATA COLLECTION

The distribution of the soaked CBR values for the entire


database is shwon by the histogram in Fig. 1. The figure
indicates that the largest portion of the data has a CBR in the
range of 25 to 45% which is suitable for embankment filling
and subbase course layers according to the Egyptian
specifications.
35

30
Frequency, %

However the use of the literature models to predict the CBR for
materials different from the original materials used to develop
the model is risky and might lead biased estimates with
significant errors. For example, Datta and Chottopadhyay [15]
tried to use correlations given by Vinod and Cletus [16] and
Patel and Desai [2] using soil properties reported by Roy, et
al., [17] and found significant scatter and bias in the predicted
CBR. Thus, before adopting any correlation calibration of the
models based on local materials is essential. Otherwise a new
model should be developed based on the actual data.

25
20
15
10

5
0

CBR Value, %

For the purpose of the study, a database including different


materials used for pavement construction projects in the Delta
region in Egypt was collected. The database was collected from
technical reports prepared at Mansoura University Highway
and Airport Engineering Laboratory during the period of 2009
to 2013. The majority of the materials contained in the database
are nonplastic cohesionless materials used as fill for road
embankments as well as subbase and base courses. This
historical database contains measured CBR values, under
soaked condition, along with index material properties and
compaction characteristics. The database contains the
following:
Particle size distribution and D60.
Atterberg Limits (liquid limit: LL, plastic limit: PL,
and plasticity index: PI).
Soil classification according to the AASHTO system.
Modified Proctor parameters (Maximum Dry Density
MDD, and Optimum Moisture Content: OMC).
Soaked CBR values
The descriptive statistics of the parameters contained in the
database are summarized in TABLE 2.
TABLE 2. Descriptive Statistics of the Database ParameteRS
Parameter

CBR

MDD
(t/m3)

OMC
(%)

LL
(%)

P4
(%)

P200
(%)

D60
(mm)

Mean

36.39

1.85

10.51

23.94

87.31

1.96

0.77

Median

30.00

1.82

11.00

24.00

96.30

0.80

0.90

Mode

30.00

1.79

12.90

24.70

100.00

0.30

0.90

Standard
Deviation

19.84

0.18

2.40

3.96

22.20

2.18

0.34

Range

84.20

0.76

12.82

21.00

100.00

6.52

1.40

Minimum

10.80

1.47

1.18

12.00

0.00

0.08

0.10

Maximum

95.00

2.23

14.00

33.00

100.00

6.60

1.50

No. of
Data
Points

51

51

47

51

51

51

51

Figure 1. Histogram of California Bearing Ratio values in the database

IV. MODEL DEVELOPMENT


In order to develop a model correlating the soaked CBR
with the soil index properties, the literature models were first
tried with the collected database. However, results show very
poor correlation and significant bias. Thus, the scatter diagrams
of the soaked CBR and each of the index soil properties were
drawn and presented in Fig. 2 through 6. Fig. 2 to 4 show
relatively strong linear correlations between the CBR and
MDD, P200 and P4, respectively. This is also indicated by the
values of the determination coefficients (R2) which ranged
between 0.345 and 0.548 as shown on the figures. On the other
hand, Figures 5 and 6 show very high scatter and very poor
correlation with D60 (R2 = 0.101) and LL (R2 = 0.025).
A multiple regression modeling was then tried using the
solver tool within Microsoft Excel and the goodness of fit
statistics according to the conceptual criteria proposed by
Pellinen, and shown in TABLE 3 was used to select the best
model [18]. This criterion is based on the coefficient of
determination (R2) and the standard error divided by the
standard deviation of measured CBR values about the mean
measured (Se/Sy). The R2 is simply the square of
the correlation coefficient between the measured and predicted
CBR. Higher R2 values indicate higher accuracy (less scatter).
The Se/Sy is an indicator for the relative improvement in
accuracy. Smaller Se/Sy values indicate better accuracy. These
statistical parameters are calculated with respect to the line of
equality which is a line with a slope of unity and intercept of
zero. Eqs (4) through (7) were used to calculate the goodness
of fit statistical parameters used to judge the model
accuracy [18]:

100

100
y = 85.668x - 121.92
R = 0.5481

y = -9.6872x + 43.807
R = 0.0252

80

60

CBR, %

CBR, %

80

40
20

60
40
20

0
1.40

1.60

1.80

2.00

2.20

2.40

0.5

Maximum Dry Density (t/m3)

1.5

D60, mm

Figure 2. Relationship between CBR and maximum dry density

Figure 6. Relationship between CBR and diameter at 60 percent passing


TABLE 3. CRITERIA FOR GOODNESS-OF-FIT STATISTICAL PARAMETERS [18]
Criteria

R2

Se/Sy

Excellent

0.90

0.35

Good

0.70 0.89

0.36 0.55

Fair

0.40 0.69

0.56 - 0.75

Poor

0.20 0.39

0.76 0.89

Very Poor

0.19

0.90

Figure 3. Relationship between CBR and percent passing No. 200 sieve

Se

y
i 1

y = -0.5446x + 84.024
R = 0.3452

CBR, %

Sy

60

yi

y
i 1

40
20

20

40

60

80

100

Passing No. 4 Sieve, %


Figure 4. Relationship between CBR and percent passing No. 4 sieve

2
adj

(4)

yi

(5)

n 1

S
R 1 e
S
y
2

np

100
80

n 1 Se

1
n p S y

(6)

(7)

where Se=standard error of estimate; Sy=standard deviation;


i =predicted value; yi = average of yi,;
yi=measured value; y
n=number of data points; p=number of regression coefficients,
R2=coefficient of determination; and R2adj =adjusted coefficient
of determination.
A number of different models have been tried and the best
goodness of fit statistics were found using the following model:
CBR= 0.025(P200)4+30.130(MDD)-25.813

(8)

Where CBR=soaked California Bearing Ratio, %;


P200=passing No. 200 U.S. sieve, %; MDD= maximum dry
density according to modified Proctor method, (t/m3).

Figure 5. Relationship between CBR and liquid limit

This model have an R2 of 0.785, R2adj of 0.776, and Se/Sy of


0.463. Comparison between laboratory measured and predicted
soaked CBR using the proposed model is shown in Fig. 7 along
with the line of equality and the goodness of fit statistics. The

figure and the goodness of fit statistics show good estimates of


the soaked CBR.

REFERENCES
[1]

100
Goodness of Fit

Predicted CBR, %

80
60

Se/Sy

0.463

R2

0.785

R2Adj

0.776

[2]

40

[3]

20

[4]

Line of Equality

100

[5]

Figure 7. Laboratory measured and predicted soaked CBR using the proposed
model

[6]

20

40

60

80

Laboratory Measured CBR, %

To evaluate the adequacy of the proposed model, an


analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed on the
regression results. This analysis was conducted with the null
hypothesis is that the CBR is not related to the P200 and MDD
and the alternate hypothesis is that the CBR is related to both
variables. The results of the ANOVA test are summarized in
Table 4.

[7]
[8]

[9]

TABLE 4. ANOVA RESULTS


[10]
Regression

df
2

SS
15624.29

MS
7812.144

Residual

48

4058.601

84.55418

Total

50

19682.89

F
92.39217

P-value
3.49E-17

df = degrees of freedom; SS=sum of squares; MS=mean square; F = F statistic.

Since the P-value is 3.49E-17, which is much less than the


significance value of 0.05, the null hypothesis is rejected. In
other words, there is a relation between the CBR and the
variables proposed in the model.
V. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
A historical database containing measured CBR values
along with index material properties was collected from
technical reports prepared at Mansoura University Highway
Engineering Laboratory. The index properties in the database
are gradation, LL, PL, PI, D60, AASHTO soil class, Modified
Proctor MDD, and OMC. Analysis of the data showed that the
CBR values are greatly influenced by percent passing No. 200
U.S. sieve and MDD. No strong correlation was evident
between the CBR and the index properties in the database. A
simple but reliable and relatively accurate regression model
predicting the CBR as a function of these parameters was
developed using optimization techniques. The goodness of fit
statistics of the measured and predicted CBR values using the
proposed model indicates a good prediction accuracy and
minimal bias (R2 of 0.785, R2adj of 0.776, and Se/Sy 0.463).

[11]

[12]

[13]

[14]

[15]

[16]

[17]

[18]

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