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(As per latest KTU Syllabus)

Transportation Engineering Division

Department of Civil Engineering

College of Engineering Trivandrum
Thiruvananthapuram -695 016

Sl. No. Experiments Page No.

Part I Tests on Aggregates

1. Determination of Aggregate Crushing Value 4

2. Determination of Aggregate Impact Value 9
3. Determination of Los Angeles Abrasion Value 15
4. Shape Tests on Aggregates 20
5. Determination of Angularity Number 25
6. Specific Gravity and Water Absorption of Aggregates 29
7. Stripping Value of Road Aggregates 33
8. Dry Packing Characteristics of Aggregates 35
Part II Tests on Soil
9. California Bearing Ratio Test 40
10. Dynamic Cone Penetration Test 49
III Tests on Bitumen

11. Penetration Value of Bitumen 56

12. Softening point of Bitumen 61
13. Ductility of Bitumen 64
14. Flash and Fire point of Bitumen 69
15. Measurement of Mixing and Compaction Temperature of
Bitumen (Brookfield Viscometer) 74

Transportation Engineering Lab, 2 College of Engineering Trivandrum

IV Tests on Bituminous Mixes
16. Determination of Theoretical Specific Gravity of Loose
Bituminous Mix 77
17. Determination of Bulk Density of Compacted
Bituminous Mix 81
18. Moisture Sensitivity Test of Bituminous Mixes 86
V. Functional Evaluation of Pavements
19. Determination of Road Roughness using MERLIN 91

Transportation Engineering Lab, 3 College of Engineering Trivandrum

IS: 2386 (Part 4) - 1963

1.1 Aim

(i) To determine crushing value of given road aggregates

(ii) To assess suitability of aggregates for use in different types of road

1.2 Concept and significance

The ―Aggregate crushing value‖ gives a relative measure of the resistance of an

aggregate to crushing under a gradually applied compressive load.. It is the
percentage by weight of the crushed or fine material obtained when the test
aggregates are subjected to a specified load under standardized conditions, and is
a numerical index of the strength of the aggregates used in road construction.
Aggregates with lower crushing value indicate a lower crushed fraction under load
and would give a longer service life to the road and hence a more economical

Low aggregate crushing value indicates strong aggregates, as the crushed fraction
is low. Thus the test can be used to assess the suitability of aggregates to be used
for the surface course of pavements as they should be strong enough to withstand
high stresses due to wheel loads, including the steel tyres of loaded bullock carts.
However as the stresses at the base and sub-base courses are low aggregates with
lesser crushing strength may be used at the lower layers of the pavement. The
aggregate crushing test is simple, rapid and gives fairly consistent results.

1.3 Apparatus

The apparatus for the standard aggregate crushing test (Fig.1.1) as per IS 2386-
1963 (Part IV) consists of the following:

(i) The test mould is a 15.2 cm diameter open ended steel cylinder with base
plate; plunger having a piston of diameter 15cm with a hole provided across

Transportation Engineering Lab, 4 College of Engineering Trivandrum

the stem of the plunger so that a rod could be inserted for lifting or placing the
plunger in the cylinder.
(ii) A cylindrical measure having internal diameter of 11.5 cm and height 18 cm.
(iii) A straight metal tamping rod of circular cross section 16 mm diameter and 45
to 60 cm long, rounded at one end.
(iv) A balance of capacity 5 kg, readable and accurate up to 1 g.
(v) A compression testing machine capable of applying load up to 40 tonnes at a
uniform rate of 4 tonnes / min.
(vi) IS sieves of sizes 12.5 mm, 10 mm, and 2.36 mm.

1.6 cm

45 to 60 cm
Fig. 1.1 Aggregate Crushing Value Test Apparatus

1.4 Procedure

The Aggregate Sample: The material for the standard test consists of aggregates sized
10.0 mm and 12.5 mm. The aggregates may be dried by heating at 100o to 110o C for not
more than 4 hrs and cooled to room temperature before testing, if necessary.

(i) Sieve the material through 12.5 mm and 10 mm IS sieves.

(ii) Take about 3.25 kg of this material.
(iii) Pour the aggregate to fill about just more than 1/3rd depth of the measuring

Transportation Engineering Lab, 5 College of Engineering Trivandrum

(iv) Tamp the material by giving 25 gentle blows with the rounded end of tamping
(v) Add two more layers in similar manner, such that the cylinder is full.
(vi) Remove the excess material with a straight edge. The quantity contained in the
measuring cylinder is that amount of aggregates which will be used to prepare
the test specimen.
(vii) The tested sample thus taken is then weighed. The same weight of sample is
taken in the repeat test.
(viii) Transfer the whole of this weighed quantity to the test mould by filling it in 3
layers in the same manner as for cylindrical measure. The total depth of the
sample is then about 10 cm and the surface a little below the top of the mould.
(ix) Level off the surface and place the plunger over it so that it rests horizontally
on the surface of the aggregates.
(x) Place this assembly on the pedestal of the compression testing machine.
(xi) Apply the load at a uniform rate of 4 tonnes per minute until the total applied
load is 40 tonnes, and then the load is released.
(xii) Take the aggregates out of the cylinder and sieve them through 2.36 mm IS
sieve. Weigh this fraction passing through it to an accuracy of 0.1 g. This
fraction is a measure of loss of material due to crushing.
(xiii) The above crushing test is repeated on second sample of the same weight in
accordance with above test procedure.
(xiv) The mean of the two observations rounded to the first decimal place is
reported as the ‘Aggregate crushing value’.

If standard size aggregates are not available then the above procedure can be done with
aggregates passing through 25mm and retained on 20mm sieve can be used. In this case,
the IS sieve used for separating the fines is 4.75mm.

Note: The aggregate sample for conducting the aggregate crushing test for the first time
is to be taken by volume in the specified cylindrical measure by tamping in a specified
manner and the weight of the sample is determined. When the test is repeated using the
same aggregate, it is sufficient to directly weigh and take the same weight of sample. This
is because it is necessary to keep the volume and height of the sample same, so that the
test conditions remain unaltered. If the quantity of test sample to be taken is specified by

Transportation Engineering Lab, 6 College of Engineering Trivandrum

weight, the volume and hence the height may vary depending on the variation in specific
gravity and shape factors of different aggregates.


a) The plunger should be placed centrally and it shall rest directly on the aggregate. Care
should be taken that it does not touch the walls of the cylinder so as to ensure that the
entire load is transferred to the aggregate.
b) In the operation of sieving the aggregates through 2.36 mm sieve care should be taken
to avoid loss of fines. The sum of weights of fraction retained and passing the sieve
should not differ from the original weights of the specimen by more than 1 g.
c) The tamping should be done properly by gently dropping the tamping rod and not by
hammering action. The tamping should be uniform over the surface of aggregate,
taking care that the tamping rod does not frequently strike against the walls of the

1.5 Record of observations

Sample 1 Sample 2

Total Weight of surface dry sample taken , W1 g

Weight of portion passing 2.36 or 4.75 mm sieve, W2 g

Aggregate crushing value (%) = x100

Mean value =

1.6 Result

Aggregate crushing value of the given sample of aggregate =…………….%

Transportation Engineering Lab, 7 College of Engineering Trivandrum

1.7 Interpretation of results

Indian Roads Congress and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) have specified that the
aggregate crushing value of the coarse aggregates used for cement concrete pavement at
surface should not exceed 30 percent. For aggregates used for concrete other than for
wearing surfaces, the aggregate crushing value shall not exceed 45 percent, according to
the ISS. However aggregate crushing values have not been specified by the IRC for
coarse aggregates to be used in bituminous pavement construction methods.

The suitability of aggregate is adjudged, depending upon its proposed use in pavement
layers. The table given below lays down specified limits of aggregate crushing value as
per Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), for different types of road construction.

Table 1.1 Specified Limits of Aggregate Crushing Value

Type of Road Construction Aggregate Crushing Value (%) not more than
1. Flexible Pavements
a. Soling
b. Water Bound Macadam 50
c. Bituminous macadam 40
d. Bituminous surface dressing 40
or thin premix carpet 30
e. Dense mix carpet
2. Rigid Pavements
a. Other than wearing course 45
b. Surface or wearing course 30

Transportation Engineering Lab, 8 College of Engineering Trivandrum



IS 2386 (Part 4) - 1963

2.1 Aim

i) To determine the impact value of road aggregates.

ii) To assess their suitability in road construction on the basis of impact value.

2.2 Concept and significance

The property of a material to resist impact is known as toughness. Due to movement of

vehicle on road, the aggregates are subjected to impact resulting in a breaking down into
smaller pieces. The aggregates should therefore have sufficient toughness to resist their
disintegration due to impact. This characteristic is measured by impact value test. The
aggregate impact value is a measure of resistance to sudden impact or shock, which may
differ from its resistance to gradually applied compressive load. The chief advantage of
aggregate impact test is that test equipment and the test procedure are quite simple and it
determines the resistance to impact of stones simulating field condition. Well shaped
cubical stones provide higher resistance to impact when compared with flaky and
elongated stones. The test can be performed in a short time even at a construction site or
at a quarry, as the apparatus is simple and portable.

2.3 Apparatus

The apparatus of the aggregate impact value test (Fig. 2.1) as per IS 2386 (Part IV)-1963
consists of:

(i) A testing machine weighing 45 to 60 kg and having a metal base with a plane
lower surface of not less than 30 cm in diameter. It is supported on level and
plane concrete floor of minimum 45 cm thickness. The machine should also
have provisions for fixing its base.
(ii) A cylindrical steel cup of internal diameter 102 mm, depth 50 mm and
minimum thickness 6.3 mm.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 9 College of Engineering Trivandrum

(iii) A metal hammer weighing 13.5 to 14 kg, lower end cylindrical in shape, is 50
mm long, 100 mm in diameter, with a 2 mm chamfer at the lower edge and
case hardened. The hammer should slide freely between vertical guides and be
concentric with the cup. The free fall of the hammer should be within (380±5)
(iv) A cylindrical metal measure having internal diameter of 75 mm and depth 50
mm for measuring the aggregate sample.
(v) Tamping rod of 10 mm in diameter and 230 mm long rounded at one end.
(vi) A balance of capacity not less than 500 g, readable and accurate upto 0.1 g.
(vii) Oven: A thermostatically controlled drying oven capable of maintaining
constant temperature between 100o and 110oC.

Fig. 2.1 Aggregate impact test setup

Transportation Engineering Lab, 10 College of Engineering Trivandrum

2.4 Procedure

The test sample: It consists of aggregates sized 10 mm to 12.5 mm. The aggregates
should be dried by heating at 100 to 110o C for a period of 4 hours and cooled.

(i) Sieve the material through 12.5 mm and 10 mm IS sieves. The aggregates
passing through 12.5 mm sieve and retained on 10 mm sieve comprises the
test material.
(ii) Pour the aggregates to fill about just 1/3rd depth of measuring cylinder.
(iii) Tamp the material by giving 25 gentle blows with the rounded end of the
tamping rod.
(iv) Add two more layers in similar manner, so that the cylinder is full.
(v) Strike off the surplus aggregates
(vi) Determine the net weight of the aggregates to the nearest gram (W1).
(vii) Bring the impact machine to rest without wedging or packing upon the level
plate, block or floor, so that it is rigid and the hammer guide columns are
(viii) Fix the cup firmly in position on the base of machine and place whole of the
test sample in it and tamp by giving 25 gentle strokes with tamping rod.
(ix) Raise the hammer until its lower face is 380 mm above the surface of the
aggregate sample in the cup and allow it to fall freely on the aggregate sample.
Give 15 such blows at an interval of not less than 1 sec between successive
(x) Remove the crushed aggregates from the cup and sieve it through 2.36 mm IS
sieve until no further significant amount passes in one minute. Weigh the
fraction passing through the sieve to an accuracy of 0.1 g (W2). Also weigh the
fraction retained in the sieve.
(xi) The fraction retained on the sieve is also weighed and if the total weight of the
fraction passing and retained on the sieve is added, it should not be less than
the original weight of the specimen by more than 1 g.
(xii) Note down the observations in the proforma and compute the aggregate
impact value. The mean of the two observations, rounded to the nearest whole
number is reported as the Aggregate Impact Value.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 11 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Note: It is essential that the first specimen to be tested from each sample of aggregate is equal in
volume; this is ensured by taking the specimen in the measuring cylinder in the specified manner
by tamping in three layers. If all the test specimens to be tested in aggregate impact testing mould
are of equal volume, the height of these specimens will be equal and hence the height of fall of the
impact rammer on the specimens will be equal. On the other hand if equal weight of different
aggregate samples is taken, their volume and height may vary depending upon the specific gravity
of the aggregates and their shape factors. There is no definite reason why the specified rate of
application of the blows of impact rammer should be maintained. For conducting the test under
wet conditions, immerse the oven dried sample in water for 3 days. Surface-dry the sample by
suitable cloth and follow the procedure for dry test.


a) The plunger should be placed centrally and rest directly on the aggregate. Care should
be taken that it does not touch the walls of the cylinder so at to ensure that the entire
lot is transferred to the aggregate.
b) In the operation of sieving the aggregates through 2.36 mm sieve care should be taken
to avoid loss of fines. The sum of weights of fraction retained and passing the sieve
should not differ from the original weights of the specimen by more than 1 g.
c) The tamping should be done properly by gently dropping the tamping rod and not by
hammering action. The tamping should be uniform over the surface of aggregate,
taking care that the tamping rod does not frequently strike against the walls of the

2.5 Record of observations

Sample 1 Sample 2
Total weight of dry sample taken, W1 g
Weight of portion passing 2.36mm sieve, W2 g
Aggregate impact value = x100
Aggregate Impact Value (%)

Mean value =

Transportation Engineering Lab, 12 College of Engineering Trivandrum

2.6 Result

The mean of the two results is reported as the Aggregate Impact Value of specimen to the
nearest whole number.

Aggregate Impact Value of the given sample of aggregate =…………..%

2.7 Interpretation of result

The aggregate impact test is considered to be an important test to assess the suitability of
aggregates as regards the toughness for use in pavement construction. It has been found
that for majority of aggregates, the crushing and impact values are numerically similar
within close limits. But in the case of fine grained highly siliceous aggregate which are
less resistant to impact than to crushing the aggregate impact values and higher than
crushing values. Aggregate impact value is used to classify the stones in respect of their
toughness property as indicated below.

Table 2.1 Classification of stones with respect to their toughness property

Aggregate Impact Value Classification

< 10% Exceptionally strong
10 – 20% Strong
10 – 30% Satisfactory for road surfacing
> 35% Weak for road construction

The Indian Roads Congress has recommended the following values for different types of
road construction.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 13 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Table 2.2 Maximum Allowable Impact Value of Aggregate in different types of
Pavement Material/Layers as per IRC
Sl. No. Types of pavement material/layer Aggregate impact value,
1 Water bound macadam(WBM), sub-base course 50
2 Cement concrete, base course(as per BIS) 45
3 (i) WBM base course with bitumen surfacing 40
(ii) Built-up spray grout, base course
4 Bituminous macadam, base course
5 (i) WBM, surfacing course
(ii) Built-up spray grout, surfacing course
(iii) Bituminous penetration macadam
(iv) Bituminous macadam, binder course
(v) Bituminous surface dressing
(vi) Bituminous carpet
(vii) Bituminous/Asphaltic concrete
Cement concrete, surface course

Table.2.3 Aggregate impact value of soft aggregates for road construction

Maximum aggregate impact value (%)

Condition of sample
Sub-base and base Surface course
Dry 50 32
Wet 60 39

Transportation Engineering Lab, 14 College of Engineering Trivandrum



IS 2386 (Part IV)

3.1 Aim

(i) To determine the Los Angeles abrasion value.

(ii) To find out the suitability of aggregates for its use in road construction.

3.2 Concept and Significance

The aggregate used in surface course of the highway pavements are subjected to wearing
due to movement of traffic. Resistance to wear or hardness is hence an essential property
for road aggregate especially when it is used in wearing course. When vehicles move on
the road, the soil particles present between the pneumatic tyres and road surface causes
abrasion of road aggregates. The steel rimmed wheels of animal driven vehicles also
cause considerable abrasion of road surface. Therefore the aggregate should be hard
enough to resist the abrasion. Resistance to abrasion of aggregate is determined in
laboratory by Los Angeles test machine. Hence in order to test the suitability of road
stones do resist the abrading action due to traffic, tests are carried out in the laboratory.
Abrasion test on aggregate are generally carried out by anyone of the following methods:
i) Los Angeles abrasion test
ii) Deval‘s abrasion test
iii) Dorry abrasion test
Of these test, Los Angeles abrasion test is more commonly adopted as the test values of
aggregates have been correlated with performance studies.
The principle of Los Angeles abrasion test is to produce the abrasive action by use of
standard steel balls which when mixed with the aggregates and rotated in a drum for
specific numbers of revolutions also cause impact on aggregates. The percentage wear of
the aggregates due to rubbing with steel balls is determined and is known as Los
Angeles Abrasion value.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 15 College of Engineering Trivandrum

3.3 Apparatus

The apparatus (Fig. 3.1) as per IS: 2386(Part4)-1963 consists of:

(i) Los Angeles apparatus: It consists of a hollow steel cylinder, closed at both
the ends with an internal diameter of 700 mm and length 500 mm (Fig. 3.1)
and capable of rotating about its horizontal axis. A removable steel shaft
projecting radially 88 mm into cylinder and extending full length (i.e.500
mm) is mounted firmly on the interior of cylinder. The shelf is placed at a
distance 150 mm minimum from the opening in the direction of rotation.
(ii) Abrasive charge: Cast iron or steel balls, approximately 48mm in diameter
and each weighing between 390 to 445 g; six to twelve balls are required.
(iii) Sieve: 1.70 mm IS sieve.
(iv) Balance of Capacity 5 kg or 10 kg
(v) Drying oven
(vi) Miscellaneous items like tray etc.

Fig. 3.1 Los Angeles abrasion testing machine

Transportation Engineering Lab, 16 College of Engineering Trivandrum

3.4 Procedure

Test sample: It consists of clean aggregates dried in the oven at 105oC-110oC coarser than
1.70 mm sieve. The sample should conform to any of the gradings shown in Table 3.1.

(i) Select the grading to be used in the test. It should be chosen such that it
conforms to the grading to be used in construction, to the maximum extent
(ii) Take 5 kg of sample for gradings A, B, C or D and 10 kg for gradings E, F
and G.
(iii) Choose the abrasive charge as per Table 3.1
(iv) Open the cover and feed the aggregates and steel balls in the cylinder.
Replace the cover tightly.
(v) Rotate the machine at a uniform speed of 30-33 Rev/min.
(vi) Allow the machine to run for 500 revolutions for grading A, B, C and D
1000 revolutions for grading E, F and G.
(vii) Stop the machine after the required number of revolutions and remove the
cover and take the material out.
(viii) Separate the steel balls and sieve the material on 1.7 mm IS sieve.
(ix) Weigh the material coarser than 1.7 mm size.
(x) Dry in the oven to a constant weight and weighed correct to an accuracy of
1 gm.
(xi) Calculate the percentage of fines from material.


a) The cover should be fixed tightly before rotating the machine.

b) All materials should be discharged from the cylinder after the conduct of the test

Transportation Engineering Lab, 17 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Table 3.1 Grading of test samples
Weight in grams of each test sample in the size range, mm(Passing and retained
Abrasive charge
on square holes)
80-63 63-50 50-40 40-25 25-20 20 - 12.5 10 - 6.3 - 4.75- Weight of

Number of spheres

12.5 -10 6.3 4.75 2.36 charge


A - - - 1250 1250 1250 1250 - - - 12 5000±25

B - - - - - 2500 2500 - - - 11 4584±25
C - - - - - - - 2500 2500 - 8 3330±20
D - - - - - - - - - 5000 6 2500±15
E 2500* 2500* 5000* - - - - - - - 12 5000±25
F - - 5000* 5000* - - - - - - 12 5000±25
G - - - 5000* 5000* - - - - - 12 5000±25
*Tolerance of ± 2 percent permitted

3.5 Record of observations

Grading selected Sample 1 Sample 2

Original weight of the sample,
Weight of aggregate retained on
1.7mm sieve, W2 gm
Loss in weight, (W1-W2)gm
Percentage weight,
(W1  W2 )

3.6 Result

Los Angeles abrasion value of the given sample of aggregate =………………%

Transportation Engineering Lab, 18 College of Engineering Trivandrum

3.7 Interpretation of result

Los Angeles abrasion test is very commonly used to evaluate the quality of
aggregates for use in pavement construction, especially to decide the hardness of stone.
The allowable limits of Los Angeles abrasion values have been specified by different
agencies based on extensive performance studies in the field. The BIS has also suggested
that this test should be preferred wherever possible. However, this test may be considered
as one in which resistance to both abrasion and impact of aggregate may be obtained
simultaneously, due to the presence of abrasive charge. Also the test condition is
considered more representatives of field conditions. The results obtained on stone
aggregate are highly reproducible. The test has more acceptability because the resistance
to abrasion and impact is determined simultaneously. Depending upon the numerical
value, the suitability of aggregates for different road construction can be judged as per
Indian Roads Congress specifications given below.

Table 3.2 Maximum allowable Los Angeles abrasion value of aggregates in different
types of pavement layers as per IRC
Sl. No. Type of pavement layer Max. permissible abrasion value in %
1 Water bound macadam, sub base 60
2 WBM base course with 50
bituminous surfacing
3 Bituminous bound macadam 50
4 WBM surfacing course 40
5 Bituminous pénétration 40
6 macadam 35
Bituminous surface dressing,
7 cement concrete surface course 30
Bituminous concrete surface

Transportation Engineering Lab, 19 College of Engineering Trivandrum



IS 2386 (Part 1) - 1963

4.1 Aim

To determine the combined flakiness and elongation indices of the given sample of

4.2 Concept and significance of the test

The particle shape of aggregate is determined by the percentages of flaky and elongated
particles contained in it. In the case of gravel it is determined by its angularity number.
For base course and construction of bituminous and cement concrete types, the presence
of flaky and elongated particles are considered undesirable as they may cause inherent
weakness with possibilities of breaking down under heavy loads. Rounded aggregates are
preferred in cement concrete road construction as the workability of concrete improves.
Angular shapes of particles are desirable for granular base course due to increased
stability derived from the better interlocking. Thus evaluation of shape of the particles,
particularly with reference to flakiness and elongation is necessary.

Flakiness index

The flakiness index of aggregates is the percentage by weight of particle whose least
dimension (thickness) is less than three-fifths (0.6 times) of their least dimension. This
test is not applicable to sizes smaller than 6.3 mm.

Elongation index

The elongation index of aggregates is the percentage by weight of particle whose greatest
dimension (length) is greater than one and four-fifths (1.8 times) their mean dimension.
The elongation test is not applicable for sizes smaller than 6.3 mm.

Combined Flakiness and Elongation index

Transportation Engineering Lab, 20 College of Engineering Trivandrum

This parameter is determined by first finding the flakiness index of the aggregate of the
representative sample. The non flaky aggregate particles are separated out and the
elongation index of only these aggregates is calculated. The values of flakiness and
elongation indices, thus found, are added up to calculate the combined flakiness and
elongation index.

4.3 Apparatus

The apparatus for the shape tests consists of the following:

(i) A standard thickness gauge (Fig. 4.1)

(ii) A standard length gauge (Fig. 4.2)
(iii) IS sieves of sizes 63, 50, 40, 31.5, 25, 20, 16, 12.5, 10 and 6.3 mm
(iv) A balance of capacity 5kg readable and accurate up to 1 g.

Fig. 4.1 Thickness gauge

Transportation Engineering Lab, 21 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Fig. 4.2 Length gauge

4.4 Procedure

(i) Sieve the sample through the IS sieves(as specified in the table)
(ii) Take a minimum of 200 pieces of each fraction to be tested and weigh them.
(iii) In order to separate the flaky materials, gauge each fraction for thickness on a
thickness gauge.
(iv) Weigh the flaky material passing the gauge to an accuracy of atleast 0.1 percent of the
test sample.
(v) The dimensions of thickness gauge and length gauge are given in Table 4.1
(vi) Separate the non flaky aggregates and find out the elongation index of these
(vii) In order to separate the elongated materials, gauge each fraction on the length gauge.
Weigh the elongated material retained on the gauge to an accuracy of at least 0.1
percent of the test sample.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 22 College of Engineering Trivandrum

4.5 Record of observations

Size of aggregates Weight of Thickness Weight Length Weight of Weight of non

the gauge of gauge aggregate Weight of flaky aggregate
fraction size (mm) aggregate size in each non flaky in each fraction
Passing Retained
consisting in each (mm) fraction aggregate (from W-w)
through on IS
of at least fraction retained in each retained on
IS sieve
200 passing on length fraction length gauge,
pieces, thickness gauge, (y) retained on (x) g
(mm) (mm)
(W) g gauge, g thickness
(w) g gauge,
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
63 50 W1= 23.90 w1= - y1= W1–w1= -
50 40 W2= 27.00 w2= 81.0 y2= W2–w2= x1=
40 25 W3= 19.50 w3= 58.0 y3= W3–w3= x2=
25 20 W4= 13.50 w4= 40.5 y4= W4–w4= x3=
20 16 W5= 10.80 w5= 32.4 y5= W5–w5= X3=
16 12.5 W6= 8.55 w6= 25.5 y6= W6–w6= X4=
12.5 10 W7= 6.75 w7= 20.2 y7= W7–w7= X5=
10 6.3 W8= 4.89 w8= 14.7 y9= W8–w8= X6=
Total ∑W= ∑w= ∑y= ∑W-∑w = ∑x =

Flakiness Index (%) = Total wt of material passing through thickness gauges

Total wt of sample gauged
= ∑w x 100
∑W As per IS 2386
Elongation index (%) = Total wt of material retained on length gauges
Total wt of sample gauged
= ∑y x 100
As per MoRTH specification (2001), Flakiness index and elongation index is replaced by
combined flakiness and elongation indices.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 23 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Combined Flakiness and Elongation Index (%) = Flakiness index + Elongation
index of non flaky aggregates
where, flakiness index is determined as per earlier procedure as ( ∑w x 100 )
but, elongation index is conducted only on the non flaky aggregates in each fraction and
is calculated as

Elongation index of non flaky aggregates = Total wt of non flaky material retained on
length gauge
Total wt of non flaky sample gauged
= ∑x x 100
(∑W - ∑w)- (W1-w1)

4.6 Result

Combined Flakiness and Elongation Indices of the given sample of aggregate =………%

4.7 Interpretation of result

The shape test gives only a rough idea of the relative shapes of the aggregates. Particular
care has to be taken while carrying out the test for angularity number. In pavement
construction flaky and elongated particles are to be avoided, particularly in surface
course. If flaky and elongated aggregates are present in appreciable proportions, the
strength of the pavement layer would be adversely affected due to the possibility of
breaking down under loads. In cement concrete the workability is also reduced. However,
the reduction in strength in cement concrete depends on the cement content and water
cement ratio.

The combined flakiness and elongation indices of aggregates must not be more than 30%
according to MoRTH specifications.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 24 College of Engineering Trivandrum



5.1 Aim

To determine the angularity number of given aggregates.

5.2 Concept and significance

Based on the shape of the aggregate particle, stones may be classified as rounded,
angular, and flaky. Angular particles possess well-defined edges formed at the
intersection of roughly plane faces and are commonly found in aggregates prepared by
crushing of rocks. Since weaker aggregates may be crushed during compaction, the
angularity number does not apply to any aggregate, which breaks down during
compaction. Angularity or absence of the rounding of the particles of an aggregate is a
property, which is of importance because it affects the ease of handling a mixture of
aggregate and binder or the workability of the mix. The determination of angularity
number of an aggregate is essentially a laboratory method intended for comparing the
properties of different aggregates for mix design purposes and for deciding their gradation
requirements. The degree of packing of particles of single sized aggregate depends on the
shape and angularity of the aggregates. If a number of single sized spherical particles are
packed together in the densest form, the total volume of solids will be 67 percent and the
volume of voids 33 percent of the total volume. However if the shape of the particles of
the same size deviates from the spherical shape to irregular or angular shape, when they
are densely packed, the volume of solids decreases resulting in an increase in the volume
of voids. Hence, the angularity of the aggregate can be estimated from the properties of
voids in a sample of aggregates compacted in a particular manner. The angularity number
of an aggregate is the amount by which the percentage voids exceeds 33 after being
compacted in a prescribed manner. The angularity number is found from the expression:
67 minus the percent solid volume. Here the value 67 represents the percentage volume of
solids of most rounded gravel, which would have 33 percent voids.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 25 College of Engineering Trivandrum

5.3 Apparatus

The apparatus consists of

(i) A metal cylinder closed at one end and of about 3 litre capacity, diameter
and height of this being approximately equal, i.e. about 15.64 cm diameter
x 15.64 cm respectively.
(ii) A metal tamping rod of circular cross section, 12 mm in diameter and 60
cm in length, rounded at one end.
(iii) A metal scoop of about 1 litre heaped capacity of size 20 x 10 x 5 cm, and
(iv) A balance of capacity 10 kg to weigh up to 1 g.

5.4 Procedure

(i) Calibrate the cylinder by determining the weight of water at 270C required to fill
it so that no meniscus is present above the rim of the container.
(ii) Test sample: The amount of aggregate available should be sufficient to provide,
after separation on the appropriate pair of sieves, at least 10 kg of predominant
size, as determined by the sieve analysis on the aggregate retained between the
appropriate pair of IS sieves from the following sets: 20 and 16 mm, 16 and 12.5
mm, 12.5 and 10 mm, 10 and 6.3 mm, 6.3 and 4.75 mm.
Note: In case of aggregate larger than 20 mm is used, the volume of the cylinder should
be greater than 3 litres. But when the aggregates smaller than 4.75 mm size is tested, a
smaller cylinder may be used. The procedure of the test is the same for each of these
except that the amount of compaction effort given by (weight of tamping rod x height of
fall x number of blows) should be proportional to the volume of the cylinder.
(iii) Select the sample of single – size aggregate retained between the specified pair of
sieves. Then dry it in an oven at a temperature of 1000 to 1100C for 24 hours and
cool it in an airtight container.
(iv) Fill the scoop and heap it to overflowing with the aggregate. Place the aggregate
in the cylinder by allowing it to slide gently off the scoop from the lowest
possible height.
(v) Compact the aggregate in the cylinder by 100 blows of the tamping rod at the rate
of about 2 blows per second. Apply each blow by holding the rod vertically with
its rounded end 5 cm above the surface of aggregate and releasing it so that it falls

Transportation Engineering Lab, 26 College of Engineering Trivandrum

vertically and no force is applied on it. The blows should be distributed evenly
over the surface.
(vi) Repeat the process of filling and tamping with a second and the third layer of
aggregates. The third layer should contain only the aggregate required to just fill
up the cylinder level before tamping. After the third layer is tamped, fill the
cylinder to overflowing, and strike the aggregates off level with the top using the
tamping rod as the straight edge.
(vii) Add individual pieces of aggregate and roll in to the surface by rolling the
tamping rod across the upper edge of the cylinder, until the aggregates do not lift
the rod off the edge. No downward pressure should be applied on the rod.
(viii) Weigh the aggregate with the cylinder to the nearest 5g. Make separate
determinations and calculate the mean weight of the aggregate. If the result of any
one determination differs from the mean by more than 25 g, make three additional
determinations and find the mean of all the six determinations.
Then angularity number = 67 – 100
W = mean weight of the aggregates in the cylinder, g
C = weight of water required to fill the cylinder, g
G = specific gravity of aggregate
The angularity number is expressed to the nearest whole number.

5.5 Record of observations

Weight of water filling the cylinder, C = =

(where‗d‘ is the diameter and ‗h‘ the height of the cylinder)

Specific gravity of the aggregate, G =
Trial number
1 2 3 Mean 4 5 6 Mean
Weight of
aggregate filling
the cylinder to
the nearest 5g

Transportation Engineering Lab, 27 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Mean weight of the aggregate filling the cylinder, W g =
Angularity Number = 67 – 100 =

5.6 Result
Angularity number of the given sample of aggregate =

5.7 Interpretation of result

The angularity number of aggregates generally ranges from 0 for highly rounded gravel to
about 11 for freshly crushed angular aggregates. Slightly higher values of angularity
number may also be obtained in case of highly angular and flaky aggregates. Thus higher
the angularity number, more angular and less workable this aggregate mix. In cement
concrete mix, rounded aggregates may be preferred because of better workability, lesser
specific surface, and higher strength for particular cement content. But in flexible
pavement construction methods, using hard aggregates such as bituminous construction
methods, WBM, etc, angular aggregates are preferred because of higher stability due to
better interlocking and friction. However, in dense bituminous mixes such as bituminous
concrete, the gradation requirement may have to be suitably modified during mix design
in the case of aggregates with high angularity number so as to obtain well designed mix.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 28 College of Engineering Trivandrum



IS: 2386 (1963)

6.1 Aim

To measure the strength or quality of the material.

6.2 Concept and significance

The specific gravity of an aggregate is considered to be a measure of strength or quality

of the material. Stones having low specific gravity are generally weaker than those with
higher specific gravity values. The specific gravity test helps in the identification of stone.
The specific gravity values of aggregates are made use of for making weight- volume
conversions and for calculating the void content in compacted bituminous specimens

6.3 Apparatus

The apparatus consists of the following:

(a) A balance of capacity about 3 kg, to weigh accurate to 0.5 g, and of such a type and
shape as to permit weighing of the sample container when suspended in water.
(b) A thermostatically controlled oven to maintain temperature of 1000 to 1000C.
(c) A wire basket of not more than 6.3 mm mesh or a perforated container of convenient
size with thin wire hangers for suspending it from the balance.
(d) A container for filling water and suspending the basket.
(e) An air tight container of capacity similar to that of the basket (referred to in ‗c‘
(f) A shallow tray and two dry absorbent clothes, each not less than 75 x 45 cm.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 29 College of Engineering Trivandrum

6.4 Procedure

(i) About 2 kg of the aggregate sample is washed thoroughly to remove fines,

drained and then placed in the wire basket and immersed in distilled water at a
temperature between 220 and 320C and a cover of at least 5 cm of water above the
top of the basket.
(ii) Immediately after immersion the entrapped air is removed from the sample by
lifting the basket containing the sample, 25 mm above the base of the tank and
allowing it to drop 25 times at the rate of above one drop per second. The basket
and the aggregate should remain completely immersed in water for a period of
(24±1/2) hour afterwards.
(iii) The basket and the sample are then weighed while suspended in water at a
temperature of 220 to 320C. The weight is noted while suspended in water = W1 g.
(iv) The basket and the aggregate are removed from water and allowed to drain for a
few minutes, after which the aggregates are transferred to one of the dry
absorbent clothes. The empty basket is then returned to the tank of water, jolted
25 times and weighed in water = W2 g.
(v) The aggregates placed on absorbent clothes are surface dried till no further
moisture could be removed by this cloth. Then the aggregates are transferred to
the second dry cloth spread in single layer and allowed to dry for at least 10
minutes until the aggregates are completely surface dry. The surface dried
aggregates is then weighed = W3 g.
(vi) The aggregates are then placed in a shallow tray and kept in an oven maintained
at a temperature of 1100C for 24 hour. It is then removed from the oven, cooled in
an airtight container and weighed = W4 g.

At least two tests should be carried out, but not concurrently.

Specific gravity = Dry weight of the aggregate

Weight of equal volume of water

Transportation Engineering Lab, 30 College of Engineering Trivandrum

6.5 Record of observations

Weight of saturated aggregate suspended in water with the basket = W1 g

Weight of basket suspended in water = W2 g

Weight of saturated aggregate in water = (W1–W2) =

WS g

Weight of saturated surface dry aggregate in air = W3 g

Weight of oven dried aggregate in air = W4 g

Weight of water equal to the volume of the aggregate = (W3 – WS) g

(1) Specific gravity = Weight of dry aggregate x 100 = W4

Loss of weight in water W3- (W1 - W2)

(2) Water absorption = x 100

6.6 Results
Specific gravity of the given sample of aggregate = ………..
Water absorption of the given sample of aggregate = …………%

6.7 Interpretation of results

The size of the aggregate and whether it has been artificially heated should be indicated.
BIS specifies three methods of testing for the determination of the specific gravity of
aggregates, according to the size of the aggregates. The three size ranges used are
aggregates larger than 10 mm, between 10 mm and 40 mm, and smaller than 10 mm. The
specific gravity of aggregates normally used in road construction ranges from about 2.5 to
3.0 with an average of about 2.68. Though high specific gravity is considered as an
indication of high strength, it is not possible to judge the suitability of a sample road
aggregate without finding the mechanical properties such as aggregate crushing, impact
and abrasion values. Water absorption of an aggregate is accepted as a measure of
porosity. Sometimes this value is even considered as a measure of its resistance to frost
action, though this has not yet been confirmed by adequate research. Water absorption
value ranges from 0.1 to 2.0 % for aggregate normally used in road surfacing. Generally a

Transportation Engineering Lab, 31 College of Engineering Trivandrum

value less than 0.6% is considered desirable for surface course though slightly higher
values are allowed in bituminous constructions. IRC has specified the maximum water
absorption values as 10 % for aggregates used in bituminous surface dressing and built-up
spray grout.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 32 College of Engineering Trivandrum



IS 6241-1971

7.1 Aim
(i) To determine the stripping value of aggregates used in road construction.
(ii) To ascertain the suitability of road aggregates for bituminous road

7.2 Concept and significance

The test is conducted to determine the effects of moisture upon the adhesion of the
bituminous film to the surface particles of the aggregate. This is a very critical factor for
pavement, as stripping is the initial stage of serious distresses which follow This test is of
significant value to ascertain the stability of the two materials viz. bitumen (binder) and
aggregates, because one particular aggregate may be satisfactory with one binder and
unsatisfactory with another; and the same being true for the binders. The specifications of
Ministry Of Transport And Shipping recommend the determination of stripping value by
static immersion method in accordance with IS 6241-1971.

7.3 Apparatus
(i) Thermostatically controlled water bath.
(ii) Beakers of capacity 500 ml.

7.4 Procedure
(i) Obtain the material that passes through 25mm sieve and is retained on
12.5mm sieve.
(ii) Dry, clean and heat the binder and aggregates to 150 to 175o C and 120 to 150o
C respectively and mix with 5% binder by weight of aggregate.
(iii) After complete coating, allow the mixture to cool at room temperature in clean
dry beaker.
(iv) Add distilled water to immerse the coated aggregates.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 33 College of Engineering Trivandrum

(v) Cover the beaker and keep it undisturbed in a thermostatic water bath at a
temperature of 40oC for a period of 24 hours.
(vi) Estimate the extent of stripping by visual examination while the specimen is
still under water and express the average percent area of aggregates surface.
Note: Three samples may be tested simultaneously so as to arrive at an average value. The
stripping value is expressed to the nearest whole number.

(i) The aggregates should be thoroughly dried before mixing with binder
(ii) Distilled water should be used for the test
(iii)Mix up of the two separate samples should be uniform

7.5 Record of observations

Sample 1 Sample 2 Sample 3 Sample 4
Percentage of area of aggregate
uncoated by immersion in water % % % %

Stripping value = %

7.6 Result
Stripping value of the given sample of bitumen = …………..%

7.7 Interpretation of result

The results of the stripping value test give an indication regarding susceptibility of
aggregates to the action of water, or moisture .The more the stripping value, the poorer
are the aggregates from the point of view of adhesion. IRC has specified the maximum
stripping value of 25% for aggregates to be used in road constructions.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 34 College of Engineering Trivandrum

(ASTM C29M-97)
8.1 Aim
To determine the bulk density and voids in aggregates

8.2 Concept and Significance

This test method covers the determination of bulk density (unit weight) of aggregate in
a compacted or loose condition, and calculated voids between particles in coarse, or
mixed aggregates based on the same determination. This test method is often used to
determine bulk density values that are necessary for use for many methods of selecting
proportions for concrete mixtures.

8.3 Apparatus
(i) Balance : A balance or scale accurate within 0.1 % of the test load at any point
within the range of use, graduated to at least 0.05 kg.
(ii) Tamping Rod : Round, straight steel rod, 16 mm in diameter and approximately 600
mm in length, having the tamping end, or both ends, rounded to a hemispherical tip, the
diameter of which is 16 mm.
(iii) Measure : Cylindrical metal measure, preferably provided with handles. The
measure shall have a height approximately equal to the diameter, but in no case shall the
height be less than 80 % nor more than 150 % of the diameter.
Table 8.1 Capacity of Measures

Nominal size of aggregates (mm) Capacity of measure L(m3)

12.5 2.8(0.0028)
25 9.3(0.0093)
37.5 14(0.014)
75 28(0.028)
100 70(0.070)
125 100(0.100)
If the measure is to also be used for testing for bulk density of freshly-mixed concrete
according to Test Method C 138(test method for density, yield and air content), the

Transportation Engineering Lab, 35 College of Engineering Trivandrum

measure shall be made of steel or other suitable metal not readily subject to attack by
cement paste
(iv) Shovel or Scoop: Shovel or scoop of convenient size for filling the measure with
(v) Calibration Equipment: Piece of plate glass, preferably at least 6 mm thick and at
least 25 mm larger than the diameter of the measure to be calibrated. A supply of water-
pump or chassis grease that can be placed on the rim of the container to prevent

8.4 Procedure
Obtain the sample in accordance with Practice D 75 (Practice for sampling of
aggregates), and reduce to test sample size in accordance with Practice C 702 (Practice
for Reducing Samples of Aggregate to Testing Size)

Test Sample
The size of the sample shall be approximately 125 to 200 % of the quantity required to
fill the measure, and shall be handled in a manner to avoid segregation. Dry the
aggregate sample to essentially constant mass, preferably in an oven.

Calibration of Measure

(i) Fill the measure with water at room temperature and cover with a piece of plate
glass in such a way as to eliminate bubbles and excess water.

(ii) Determine the mass of the water in the measure using the balance described in 5

(iii)Measure the temperature of the water and determine its density from Table 2,
interpolating if necessary.

(iv) Calculate the volume (V) of the measure by dividing the mass of the water
required to fill the measure by its density. Alternatively, calculate the factor for
the measure (1/V) by dividing the density of the water by the mass required to fill
the measure

Transportation Engineering Lab, 36 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Table 8.2 Density of water
Temperature (degree Celsius) Density (kg/m3)
15.6 999.01
18.3 998.54
21.1 997.97
23.0 997.54
23.9 997.32
26.7 996.59
29.4 995.83

Selection of Procedure
The shoveling procedure for loose bulk density shall be used only when
specifically stipulated. Otherwise, the compact bulk density shall be determined
by the rodding procedure for aggregates having a nominal maximum size of 37.5
mm or less, or by the jigging procedure for aggregates having a nominal
maximum size greater than 37.5 mm and not exceeding 125 mm.
Rodding Procedure
(i) Fill the measure one-third full and level the surface with the fingers. Rod the layer of
aggregate with 25 strokes of the tamping rod evenly distributed over the surface. Fill
the measure two-thirds full and again level and rod as above. Finally, fill the measure to
overflowing and rod again in the manner previously mentioned. Level the surface of the
aggregate with the a straightedge

(ii) Determine the mass of the measure plus its contents, and the mass of the measure
alone, and record the values to the nearest 0.05 kg.

Jigging Procedure
(i) Fill the measure in three approximately equal layers as described in 8, compacting
each layer by placing the measure on a firm base, such as a cement-concrete floor.
Compact each layer by dropping the measure 50 times in the manner described, 25
times on each side. Level the surface of the aggregate with the straightedge.
(ii) Determine the mass of the measure plus its contents, and the mass of the measure
alone, and record the values to the nearest 0.05 kg.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 37 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Shoveling Procedure
(i) Fill the measure to overflowing by means of a shovel or scoop, discharging the
aggregate from a height not to exceed 50 mm above the top of the measure. Level the
surface of the aggregate with the a straightedge in such a way that any slight projections
of the larger pieces of the coarse aggregate approximately balance the larger voids in
the surface below the top of the measure.
(ii) Determine the mass of the measure plus its contents, and the mass of the measure
alone, and record the values to the nearest 0.05 kg.
8.5 Calculation

Bulk Density : Calculate the bulk density for the rod-ding, jigging, or shoveling
procedure as follows:
M = bulk density of the aggregate, kg/m3
G = mass of the aggregate plus the measure, kg
T = mass of the measure, kg,
V = volume of the measure, m3

The bulk density determined by this test method is for aggregate in an oven-dry
condition. If the bulk density in terms of saturated-surface-dry (SSD) condition is desired,
use the exact procedure in this test method, and then calculate the SSD bulk density using
the following formula:
Mssd=M (1+A/100)
Mssd = bulk density in SSD condition, kg/m3
A = % absorption

Void content
Void Content—Calculate the void content in the aggregate using the bulk density
determined by either the rodding, jigging, or shoveling procedure, as follows:

% Voids = 100 (SxW) - M (SxW)


Transportation Engineering Lab, 38 College of Engineering Trivandrum

M = bulk density of the aggregate, kg/m3
S = bulk specific gravity (dry basis)
W = density of water, kg/m3

8.6 Result

Bulk density = kg/m3

Percentage voids in aggregate =

Transportation Engineering Lab, 39 College of Engineering Trivandrum



IS: 2720 (Part XVI)

9.1 Aim

To determine the California Bearing Ratio of subgrade soil.

9.2 Concept and significance

California bearing ratio (CBR) test was originally developed by California Division of
Highway (U.S.A.) as one of the commonly used methods to evaluate the strength of
subgrade soil for design of pavement thickness. The CBR is a measure of resistance of a
material to penetration of standard plunger under controlled density and moisture
condition. The CBR test may be conducted in remoulded or undisturbed specimen in the
laboratory. The test consists of causing a cylindrical plunger of 50mm diameter to
penetrate a pavement component material at 1.25 mm/minute. The loads for 2.5 mm and
5 mm are recorded. The load is expressed as a percentage of standard load value at a
respective deformation level to obtain the CBR value. The details of dynamic penetration
are given in Table 9.1.

9.3 Apparatus

The apparatus as per IS: 2720(Part XVI) – 1979 comprises of the following:

(i) Mould. A metallic cylinder of 150mm internal diameter and 175mm

height; provided with a detachable metal extension collar 50mm in height.
It also has a detachable perforated base plate of 10mm thickness. The
perforations in the base plate do not exceed 1.5mm in diameter.
(ii) Steel cutting collar, which can fit flush with the mould.
(iii) Spacer disc. A metal disc of 148mm diameter and 47.7mm in height.
(iv) Surcharge weights. One annular metal weight and slotted weights each of
2.5kg and 147mm in diameter with a central hole 53mm in diameter.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 40 College of Engineering Trivandrum

(v) Compaction Rammer: The material is usually compacted on specified for
the work, either by dynamic compaction or by static compaction. The
details for dynamic compaction suggested by the ISI are given in table 9.1.

Table 9.1 Details for dynamic compaction as per ISI

Magnitude of Blows
Number of
Type of compaction Weight of Number of
layers Fall, cm
hammer, kg blows
Light compaction 3 2.6 31 56
Heavy Compaction 5 4.89 45 56

(vi) Dial gauges: Two dial gauges reading to 0.01 mm.

(vii) IS sieves of sizes 47.5 mm and 20 mm.
(viii) Penetration plunger. A metallic plunger having a diameter of 50 mm and
atleast 100 mm long.
(ix) Loading machine with a capacity of atleast 5000 kg and equipped with a
platform that can move vertically at a rate of 1.25 mm per minute.
(x) Miscellaneous apparatus like mixing bowl, straight edge, scales, soaking
tank, drying oven, filter paper, dishes, and calibrated measuring jar.

9.4 Procedure

9.4.1. Preparation of Undisturbed Specimen

Fit to the mould, the steel cutting edge of 150 mm internal diameter. Push the mould into
the ground as gently as possible till the mould is full of soil. Remove the soil from the
sides and bottom. Trim the excessive soil from top and bottom.

9.4.2 Preparation of Remoulded Specimen

Remoulded samples are prepared such that the dry density obtained from proctor
compaction tests and the water content of remoulded samples is either optimum water
content or the field moisture as the case may be, the remoulded sample are compacted
either statically or dynamically.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 41 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Statically Compacted Specimen

(i) Calculate the amount of soil required such that it fills the mould (excluding
collar) at the desired density after compaction.
(ii) Calculate the amount of water to be added to give desired water content.
(iii) Mix the soil thoroughly with water.
(iv) Fix the extension collar to the mould and clamp it to the base plate.
(v) Fix the mould with soil, gently pressing it with hands so that it does not spill
out of the mould.
(vi) Place a coarse filter paper over the levelled soil surface and then insert the
spacer disc.
(vii) Place the assembly on the pedestal of compression machine and compact the
soil until the top of the spacer disc is flush with the top of the collar.

Dynamically compacted specimen

(i) Sieve the material through 20 mm IS sieve.

(ii) Take about 4.5 kg or more of representative sample for fine grained soils and
about 5.5 kg for granular soils in a mixing pan.
(iii) Add water to the soil in the quantity such that the moisture content of the
specimen is either equal to field moisture content or OMC as desired.
(iv) Mix together the soil and water uniformly.
(v) Clamp the mould along with the extension collar to the base plate.
(vi) Place the coarse filter paper on the top of the spacer disc.
(vii) Pour soil water-mix in the mould in such a quantity that after compaction
about 1/5th of the mould is filled.
(viii) Give 56 blows with the rammer weighing 2.6kg dropping through 310mm in
three layers (light compaction) or 4.89kg dropping through 450mm in 5 layers
(heavy compaction) evenly spread on the surface.
(ix) Scratch the top layer of compacted surface. Add more soil and compact in
similar fashion. Fill the mould completely in five layers.
(x) Remove the base plate, spacer disc and the filter paper and note down the
weight of mould and compacted specimen.
(xi) Place a coarse filter paper on the perforated base plate.
(xii) Invert the mould containing compacted soil and clamp it to the base plate.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 42 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Fig. 9. 1 Setup for CBR test

Transportation Engineering Lab, 43 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Fig. 9. 2 Typical Load Penetration Curve

9.5 Testing the Specimen

(i) Place the mould containing the specimen, with the base plate in position, on
the testing machine.
(ii) Place the annular weight of 2.5 kg on the top surface of soil.
(iii) Bring the penetration plunger in contact with soil surface and apply a load of
4 kg so that full contact between soil and plunger is established. This should
be taken as zero load.
(iv) Place the remainder surcharge weight so that the total surcharge weight equals
to 5 kg.
(v) Set the reading of dial gauges to zero.
(vi) Apply load so that penetration rate is 1.25 mm per minute. Record the load at
penetration of 0.05, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 4.0, 5.0, 7.5, 10 and 12.5 mm. The
maximum load has to be recorded if it occurs at less than 12.5mm.
(vii) Collect about 20 to 50 g of soil to determine the water content.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 44 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Note: Annular surcharge weights are placed on the surface of the specimen to
simulate the surcharge load caused by the pavement layers above the
subgrade soil.

9.6 CBR Test on Soaked Specimen

To perform CBR test on soaked specimen, the sample excluding base plate and spacer
disc is weighed. A filter paper is placed on the sample with a perforated plate on it. Over
it, a surcharge weight of 2.5 or 5 kg is placed and the sample is soaked in water tank for 4
days. The sample is then allowed to drain off water in a vertical position for about 15
minutes. The sample is then weighed again to calculate the percentage of water absorbed.
It is then tested following the normal procedure. CBR test on soaked specimen is done so
as to simulate the worst possible field condition.

9.7 Computation of Test Results

(i) Plot the load penetration curve with load as ordinate and penetration as
abscissa. Sometimes the initial portion of the curve is concave upwards due to
(a) the bottom surface of the plunger or the top surface of the soil specimen
not being horizontal, with the result the plunger surface not being in full
contact with the top of the specimen initially (b) top layer of the specimen
being too soft or irregular. In such a case, a correction is to be applied. Draw
tangent at the point of greatest slope. The point where this tangent meets the
abscissa is the corrected zero reading of penetration.
(ii) From the curve, determine the load value corresponding to the penetration
value at which the CBR is desired.
(iii) Compute CBR value as follows:

CBR value = Test load corresponding to chosen penetration x 100

Standard load for the same penetration

Usually the CBR value is calculated for 2.5mm and 5mm penetration. Generally, the CBR
value at 2.5mm penetration will be greater than that at 5mm and in such a case; the
former is taken for design purposes. If the 5mm value is greater, the test is repeated and if

Transportation Engineering Lab, 45 College of Engineering Trivandrum

the same results follow, the CBR value corresponding to 5mm penetration is adopted for
design purposes. The standard load is given in table 9.2.

Table 9.2 Standard Load for Different Penetration Values

Penetration Unit standard load Total standard load
mm kg(f)/cm2 kg(f)
2.5 70 1370
5.0 105 2055
7.5 134 2630
10.0 162 3180
12.5 183 3600


(i) The holes of the base plate of the mould should not be blocked
(ii) The surcharge weight should be aligned with the plunger so that the plunger
penetrates freely into the soil

9.8 Record of observations

Type of sample = Undisturbed/Remoulded

Type of compaction = Static/Dynamic

Condition of specimen = Soaked/Unsoaked

Period of soaking = …………… days

Surcharge weight =

Dry unit weight =

Weight of material coarser than 20mm replaced =

Transportation Engineering Lab, 46 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Penetration No. of divisions on Corresponding load Corrected load
mm proving ring kg(f) kg(f)

9.10 Result

CBR at 2.5mm penetration =

CBR at 5mm penetration =

CBR value of the given sample of subgrade soil =

9.11 Interpretation of results

California bearing ratio is an empirical value and is useful in design of flexible

pavements. Design curves evolved by Road Research Laboratory, U.K. have been
adopted by Indian Roads Congress. Depending upon the expected traffic volume, the
thickness of base course and sub- base course can be determined from their respective
CBR values, the suitability of the soil tested for use as a subgrade material (or for other
materials to be used as sub – base and base) in road construction may be interpreted from
the curves given which give the relationship between bearing value and penetration.

As per IRC: 37-2001 the subgrade soil should have a CBR of 2 percent. If the CBR value
of the subgrade is less than 2 percent then the design should be based on subgrade CBR
value of 2 percent and a capping layer of 150 mm thickness of material with a minimum
CBR of 10 percent shall be provided in addition to sub-base. The sub-base material

Transportation Engineering Lab, 47 College of Engineering Trivandrum

should have a minimum CBR of 20 percent for cumulative traffic upto 2 million standard
axle and 30 percent for traffic exceeding 2 million standard axle.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 48 College of Engineering Trivandrum

10.1 Aim
To compute the penetration rate or DCP value of pavement layer
10.2 Concept and Significance

The Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP) is a field test equipment widely used for
the evaluation of the properties of the materials at site, such as subgrade soil and the
materials below the pavement, without the need to cut open the pavement layers. The
basic principle of the test is based on the fact that the resistance to penetration of a
standard cone pushed into a layer depends on the strength characteristics of the materials
in the layer including its dry density and moisture content. A hammer of known load is
allowed to fall on a rod fitted with a metal cone of standard size and shape at the bottom.
The resistance to penetration of the standard cone into the layer is measured in terms of
the depth of penetration due to dropping the hammer of specified weight from a specified
height per blow of the hammer of the DCP. It is also possible to assess the boundaries
between the different layers with different strength and density and thus to estimate the
thickness of the layers.
The equipment may be generally used to evaluate the properties of the soil layers in the
field, up to a depth of 800 mm without an extension rod and up to 1200mm with an
extension rod.
10.3 Apparatus

The equipment (Fig. 10.1) consists of the following components:

i. 15.8 mm diameter steel rod with a replaceable cone tips. The tip has an included angle
of 60 degrees and a diameter of 20mm at the base
ii. 8 kg hammer which is dropped from a fixed height of 575 mm, a coupler assembly
and a handle for holding the rod in a vertical position. A hammer of 4.6 kg weight
may be used on the weak materials, where 8.0kg hammer may produce excessive
penetration per blow: however the standard drop height is to be maintained the same.
iii. A vertical scale graduated in increments of 1.0 mm or measuring rod longer than the
longest driving rod , if the drive rods are not graduated
iv. Disposable cone tips
v. Extraction jack, if disposable cone tips are not used

Transportation Engineering Lab, 49 College of Engineering Trivandrum

vi. Tools for assembling the DCP test equipment at the test site

Fig. 10.1 Dynamic Cone Penetrometer

10.4 Procedure

Before operation, the equipment is checked for any damage, especially the tips of the
cone. All the connections are tightened securely. The DCP assembly if held vertically
by the operator and the cone is seated such that the top of the widest part of the cone is

Transportation Engineering Lab, 50 College of Engineering Trivandrum

flush with the surface the layer to be tested. The initial reading of the graduated drive
rod is noted to the nearest mm. The hammer is released from the standard drop height
and the penetration reading is noted, from which the penetration value per hammer blow
is determined. The penetration readings and the corresponding number of hammer
blows may be recorded in increments of about 10mm penetration. Alternatively the
penetration scale readings may be recorded in increments of 10mm penetration.
Alternatively the penetration scale readings may be recorded after a set of 5 or 10 blows.
The number of blows between each reading may be decided depending upon the extent
of penetration or the resistance to penetration offered by the material. For hard
pavement layers like granular sub base / stabilized layers, the readings may be taken at
every 5-10 blows whereas for weak soil layers, it may be appropriate to record readings
for every blow or two blows. However if too less readings are recorded, there is a
possibility of missing the weak spots and it may be difficult to identify the boundaries of
different layers accurately.
If the total depth of penetration is more than 400 to 500 mm, the extension rods of the
DCP are to be used. The metre scale has to be detached from the base plate and the
bottom rod is to be split to accept the extension rod and the test is continued.
10.5 Data and Recording of Results

Table 10.1 shows the format for the recording of the data and some typical observations
taken during a DCP test for computation of the penetration rate or the DCP value. The
data of the no of blows and the penetration values are recorded. The cumulative number
of blows and the cumulative penetration values are also entered in the respective columns
of the table. A graph is plotted with the cumulative values of number of blows on the X-
axis and the depth of penetration in mm on the Y-axis. Fig. 10.2 shows the typical plot of
the results of the DCP test. The DCP value of a layer of material is the penetration value
in mm per blow at that depth. The penetration rate or slope of the plot represents the
strength characteristics of the material in the layer. The change in penetration rate or
change in slope of the curve indicates change in material type. The boundaries between
the layers and the depth of the layers may be identified by the change in the rate of

Transportation Engineering Lab, 51 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Table 10.1 Typical Format for recording data
No. Cumulat No. Cumulat
Sl. Cumulat Sl. Cumulat
of Penetrati ive of Penetrati ive
N ive no. N ive no.
blo on, mm depth, blo on, mm depth,
o. of blows o. of blows
ws mm ws mm
1 0 33 0 0 21 5 422 160 389
2 10 53 10 20 22 5 450 165 417
3 10 83 20 50 23 3 472 168 439
4 10 104 30 71 24 1 492 169 459
5 10 125 40 92 25 1 512 170 479
6 10 145 50 112 26 1 532 171 499
7 10 165 60 132 27 1 555 172 522
8 10 183 70 150 28 1 570 173 537
9 10 200 80 167 29 1 592 174 559
10 10 218 90 185 30 1 613 175 580
11 10 230 100 197 31 1 630 176 597
12 10 252 110 219 32 1 648 177 615
13 10 275 120 242 33 1 665 178 632
14 5 295 125 262 34 1 690 179 657
15 5 314 130 281 35 1 705 180 672
16 5 333 135 300 36 1 720 181 687
17 5 352 140 319 37 1 740 182 707
18 5 370 145 337 38 1 758 183 725
19 5 390 150 357 39 1 775 184 742
20 5 405 155 372 40 1 789 185 756

Transportation Engineering Lab, 52 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Fig.10.2 Typical plot of variation of depth of penetration with no. of blows

10.6 Result

DCP value of ________________ layer =

10.7 Interpretation of Results

Corrections have been established by various agencies between DCP value determined
using a dynamic cone penetrometer and the California Bearing Ratio (CBR) values, so
that the results can be compared and later used for pavement design. Correlations have
also been established between the rate of penetration and the resilient modulus of the soil
layers. The DCP test may also be used to check the quality of construction at the site.The
penetration rate per blow is used to estimate the CBR value or the shear strength using
appropriate correlation. Different organizations have developed different equations
representing the DCP value and the strength parameter such as CBR value. The general
equations recommended by some of the organizations are given below:
US Corps of the Engineers:
For all soils except for CL and CH soils having CBR value less than 10%,

Where, DCP is the penetration per below

Transportation Engineering Lab, 53 College of Engineering Trivandrum

For CL soils with CBR˂ 10,

For CH Soils,

TRRL of UK (vide Road Note 8, with 60˚ cone):

10.8 Discussion
The DCP can be used to assess the density of a fairly uniform material and therefore, the
equipment may be used to check the quality of construction especially the amount of
compaction, so that weak spots, if any may be identified and rectified. However, this
needs development of relations between average penetration rate and the density of soils.
The field CBR or in-situ CBR value of a soil generally differs considerably from the CBR
value of the same soil determined in the laboratory after re-compaction at the same
density. Similarly the field DCP measurement results will not normally have good
correlation with the laboratory CBR value of the same material. The test is intended to
evaluate the in-situ strength of a material under existing field conditions. The DCP may
be used to assess the density of a fairly uniform soil by relating the density to penetration
rate on the same material. Under-compacted or weak spots may be identified for
rectification. However it is to be noted that the DCP does not measure the density
Difficulty may be experienced with the penetration of most types of granular or lightly
stabilized material. It is also more difficult to penetrate through semi-rigid and well
stabilized layers, granular materials with large particles and dense graded high quality
aggregate layers, crushed stone layers like wet mix macadam, crusher run macadam etc.
also there will be considerable variation in the rate of penetration or the DCP values from
spot to spot depending on the presence of relatively large stone particle beneath the cone.
Penetration rate as low as 0.5mm / blow are acceptable, but when there is no measurable
penetration after 20 consecutive blows, it can be considered that DCP will not penetrate
the material. The DCP can be driven through surface dressing and thin bituminous
surfacing layers, but it is recommended that thick layers bituminous surface and binder
courses should be removed by core drilling, prior to starting the DCP test.
The extensive use of the DCP for hard materials results in wear on the cone. The cone is a
replacement part and it is generally recommended that the cone replaced when the

Transportation Engineering Lab, 54 College of Engineering Trivandrum

diameter of the cone is reduced by 10%. Typically, the cone will need replacement after
about 15 tests in hard material.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 55 College of Engineering Trivandrum

IS 1203-1978
11.1 Aim

(i) To determine the consistency of bituminous material;

(ii) To assess the suitability of bitumen for its use under different climatic
condition and type of construction.
11.2 Concept and significance

Penetration value is a measurement of hardness or consistency of bituminous material. It

is the vertical distance traversed or penetrated by the point of a standard needle into the
bituminous material under specific conditions of load, time and temperature. This
distance is measured in one tenth of a millimeter. This test is used for evaluating
consistency of bitumen. It is not regarded as suitable for use in connection with the testing
of road tar because of the high surface tension exhibited by these materials and the fact
that they contain relatively large amount of free carbon.

11.3 Apparatus

(i) Container: A flat bottomed cylindrical metallic dish 55mm in diameter

and 35mm in depth is required. If the penetration is of the order of 225
or more deeper dish of 70mm diameter and 45mm depth is required.
(ii) Needle: A straight, highly polished, cylindrical hard steel rod
(iii) Water bath: A water bath maintained at 25.0o±0.1o C containing not
less than 10 litres of water, the sample being immersed to a depth not
less than 100mm from the top and supported on a perforated shelf not
less than 50mm from the bottom of the bath.
(iv) Transfer dish or tray: It should provide support to the container and
should not rock the container. It should be of such capacity as to
completely immerse the container during the test.
(v) Penetration apparatus: It should be such that it will allow the needle to
penetrate without much friction and is accurately calibrated to give
results in one tenth of a millimeter.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 56 College of Engineering Trivandrum

(vi) Thermometer: Range 0 - 44oC and readable upto 0.2o C.
(vii) Time measuring device: With an accuracy ± 0.1sec

11.4 Procedure
(i) Preparation of test specimen: Soften the material to a pouring consistency
at a temperature 75o C to 100o C and stir it thoroughly until it is
homogeneous and is free from air bubbles and water. Pour the melt into
the container to a depth at least 10mm in excess of the expected
penetration. Protect the sample from dust and allow it to cool in an
atmosphere at a temperature between 15o to 30o C for one hour. Then place
it along with the transfer dish in the water bath at 25o ± 0.1o C, unless
otherwise stated.
(ii) Fill the transfer dish with water from the water bath to depth sufficient to
cover the container completely. Place the sample in it and put it upon the
stand of the penetration apparatus.
(iii) Clean the needle with benzene, dry it and load with the weight. The total
moving load required is 100± 0.25gms, including the weight of the needle,
carrier and super-imposed weights.
(iv) Adjust the needle to make contact with the surface of the sample. This may
be done by placing the needle point in contact with its image reflected by
the surface of the bituminous material
(v) Make the pointer of the dial to read zero or note the initial dial reading.
(vi) Release the needle for exactly five seconds
(vii) Adjust the penetration machine to measure the distance penetrated.


Start After 5 seconds

Transportation Engineering Lab, 57 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Fig. 11.1 Penetration test concept

Fig. 11.2 Penetrometer

(viii) Repeat the test till concordant results are arrived at. The points should be
so selected such that they are on the surface of the sample not less than
10mm apart and not less than 10mm from the side of the dish. After each
test return the sample and transfer dish to the water bath and wash the
needle clean with benzene and dry it. In case the material is of penetration
greater than 225 three determinations on each of the two identical test
specimens using a separate needle for each determination should be made,
leaving the needle in the sample on completion of each determination to
avoid disturbance of the specimen.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 58 College of Engineering Trivandrum

(i) There should be no movement of the container while needle is penetrating into the
(ii) The sample should be free from any extraneous matter
(iii)The needle should be cleaned with benzene and dried before each penetration

11.5 Record of observations

Actual Test Temperature = C

Test 1 Test 2 Test 3

Penetrometer dial reading
a) Initial
b) Final
Penetration value

Penetration value =

11.6 Result
Penetration value of the given sample of bitumen =

Table 11.1 Classification of Bitumen

A 25 A35 & S35 A45 & S45 A65 & S65 A90 & S90 A200 & S200

20 to 30 30 to 40 40 to 50 60 to 70 80 to 100 175 to 225

11.7 Interpretation of result

Penetration test is a commonly adopted test on bitumen to grade the material in terms of
its hardness. A80/100 grade bitumen indicates that its penetration value lies between 80
and 100. The grading of bitumen helps to assess its suitability for use in different climatic

Transportation Engineering Lab, 59 College of Engineering Trivandrum

conditions and types of construction. For bituminous macadam and penetration macadam,
IRC suggests bitumen grades 30/40, 60/70 and 80/100. In warmer regions lower
penetration grades are preferred to avoid softening whereas higher penetration grades like
180/200 are used in colder regions so that excessive brittleness does not occur. Highest
penetration grade is used in spray application works. The Bureau of Indian Standards
(BIS) has classified paving bitumen available in this country into six categories
depending on the penetration values as given in Table 11.1.

Limitations of penetration test for grading of bitumen binders are:

Penetration test is an empirical test and there is no relation to fundamental properties of
binder ; the penetration test temperature of 250C is not at all the actual pavement service
temperature ,the service temperature of the pavement is much higher say, about 600C for
most time of the day ; bitumen having the similar penetration value may have different
performance while in service, depending on its temperature susceptibility , because
bitumen have widely varying temperature –stiffness relationship. In view of the above
limitations, Viscosity Grading is currently recommended by the BIS for paving

Transportation Engineering Lab, 60 College of Engineering Trivandrum



IS: 334-1982
12.1 Aim
To determine the softening point of bitumen.

12.2 Concept and significance

The softening point of bitumen or tar is the temperature at which the substance
attains a particular degree of softening. As per IS: 334 – 1982, it is the temperature (in oC)
at which a standard ball passes through a sample of bitumen in a mould and falls through
a height of 2.5 cm, when heated under water or glycerine at specified conditions of test.
The binder should have sufficient fluidity before its applications in road uses. The
determination of softening point helps to know the temperature upto which a bituminous
binder should be heated for various road use applications, softening point is determined
by ring and ball apparatus.

12.3 Apparatus
(i) The ring and ball apparatus consists of the following
(a) Steel balls-two numbers each of 9.5mm dia. And weighing 3.5±0.05g.
(b) Brass rings-two numbers each having depth of 6.4 mm. The inside
diameter at bottom and top is 15.9mm and 17.5mm respectively.
(c) Ball guides to guide the movement of steel balls centrally.
(d) Support-that can hold rings in position and also allows for suspension
of a thermometer. The distance between the bottom of the rings and the
top surface of the bottom plate of the support is 25mm.
(ii) Thermometer that can read upto 100o C with an accuracy of 0.2oC.
(iii) Bath – A heat resistant glass beaker not less than 85mm in diameter and
1220mm in depth.
(iv) Stirrer

Transportation Engineering Lab, 61 College of Engineering Trivandrum



Start End

Fig. 12. 1 Ring and Ball apparatus

12.4 Procedure
(i) Preparation of test sample: Heat the material to a temperature between 75o
-100o C above its softening point; stir until, it is completely fluid and free
from air bubbles and water. If necessary filter it through IS sieve 30. Place
the ring, previously which has been coated with a mixture of equal parts of
glycerine and dextrine. After cooling for 30 minutes in air, level the
material in the rings by removing the excess with a warmed, sharp knife.
(ii) Assemble the apparatus with the rings, thermometer and ball guides in
(iii) Fill the bath with distilled water to a height of 50mm above the upper
surface of the rings. The starting temperature should be 5oC. Note: Use
glycerine in place of water if the softening point is expected to be above
80o C; the starting temperature may be kept 35o C.
(iv) Apply heat to the bath and stir the liquid so that the temperature rises at a
uniform rate of 5±0.5o C per minute.
(v) As the temperature increases the bituminous material softens and the ball
sinks through the ring, carrying a portion of the material with it.
(vi) Note down the temperature when any of the steel ball with bituminous
coating touches the bottom place.
(vii) Record the temperature when the second ball also touches the bottom
plate. The average of the two readings to the nearest 0.5o C is reported as
the softening point.

(i) Distilled water should be used as the heating medium
(ii) During the conduct of test the apparatus should not be subjected to vibrations

Transportation Engineering Lab, 62 College of Engineering Trivandrum

(iii) The bulb of the thermometer should be at about the same level as the rings
12.5 Record of observations
Grade of bitumen =
1 2
Temperature when the ball touches bottom, oC
Softening point of bitumen

12.6 Result

Softening point of the given sample of bitumen =…………. oC

Property Paving grade Method of

VG 10 VG 20 VG 30 VG 40 Test
Softening 40 45 47 50 IS:1205-
Point(R&B), 1978
C, Min

12.7 Interpretation of result

Softening point indicates the temperature at which binders possess the same viscosity.
Bituminous materials do not have a definite melting point. Rather the change of state
from solid to liquid is gradual and over a wide range of temperature. Softening point has
particular significance for materials that are to be used as joint and crack filler, higher
softening point ensures that they will not flow during service. In general, the higher the
softening point, the lesser the temperature susceptibility. Bitumen with higher softening
point may be preferred in warmer places.
Bitumen grades Softening point, oC
* A 25 & A 35 55 to 70
* S 35 50 to 65
A 45, S 45 & A 65 45 to 65
S 65 40 to 55
A 90 & S 90 35 to 50
A 200 & S 200 30 to 45

*A denotes bitumen for Assam petroleum

*S denotes bitumen from other sources other than Assam petroleum

Transportation Engineering Lab, 63 College of Engineering Trivandrum



IS: 1208-1978

13.1 Aim

(i) To measure the ductility of a given sample of bitumen.

(ii) To determine the suitability of bitumen for its use in road construction.

13.2 Concept and significance

The ‗Ductility test‘ gives a measure of adhesive property of bitumen and its ability to
stretch. In a flexible pavement design, it is necessary that binder should form a thin
ductile film around the aggregates so that the physical interlocking of the aggregates is
improved. Binder material having insufficient ductility gets cracked when subjected to
repeated traffic loads and it provides pervious pavement surface. Ductility of bituminous
material is measured by the distance in centimeter to which it will elongate before
breaking when two ends of standard briquette specimen of the material are pulled apart at
a specified speed and at specified temperature.

13.3 Apparatus

The apparatus for the standard ductility test as per IS: 1208-1978 consists of the

(i) Briquette mould: The mould when properly assembled form a briquette specimen of
the following dimensions:

Total length 75.00.5mm

Distance between clips 30.00.3mm
Width at mount of slip 20.00.2mm
Width at minimum cross- section 10.00.1mm
(Half way between clips)
Thickness throughout 10.00.1mm

Transportation Engineering Lab, 64 College of Engineering Trivandrum

(iii) Water bath: A bath maintained within  0.1oC of the specified test temperature,
containing not less than 10cm and supported on a perforated shelf and less than
5cms from the bottom of the bath.
(iv) Testing machine: For pulling the briquette of bituminous materials apart, any
apparatus may be used which is so constructed that the specimen will be
continuously submerged in water while the two clips are being pulled apart
horizontally at a uniform speed of 502.5mm per minute.
(v) Thermometer: Range 0-44oC and readable upto 0.2oC.

Fig. 13.1 Briquette mould

Transportation Engineering Lab, 65 College of Engineering Trivandrum

13.4 Procedure

(i) Melt the bituminous test material completely at a temperature of 75oC to 100oC
above the approximate softening point until it becomes thoroughly fluid.
(ii) Strain the fluid through IS sieve 30.
(iii) After stirring the fluid, pour it in the mould assembly and place it in a brass plate.
(iv) In order to prevent the material under test from sticking coat the surface of the plate
and interior surface of the plate and interior surfaces of the sides of the mould with
mercury or by a mixture of equal parts of glycerin and dextrin.
(v) After about 30-40 minutes, keep the plate assembly along with the sample in the
water bath. Maintain the temperature of the water bath at 27oC for an hour.
(vi) Remove the sample and mould assembly from the water bath and trim the specimen
by leveling the surface using a hot knife.
(vii) Replace the mould assembly in water bath maintained at 27oc for 80-90 minutes.
(viii) Remove the sides of the mould.
(ix) Hook the clips carefully on the machine without causing any initial stain.
(x) Adjust the pointer to read zero.
(xi) Start the machine and pull two clips horizontally at a speed of 50mm per minute.
(xii) Note the distance at which the bitumen thread of specimen breaks.
(xiii) Record the observations in the proforma and compute the ductility value. Report the
mean of two observations, rounded to nearest whole number as the ‗ductility value‘.


(i) The plate assembly upon which the mould is placed shall be perfectly flat and
level so that the bottom surface of the mould touches it throughout
(ii) In filling the mould, care should be taken not to disarrange the parts and thus
distort the briquette and to see that no air pocket shall be within the moulded

13. 5 Record of Observations

(i) Bitumen grade =

(ii) Pouring temperature =
(iii) Test temperature =
(iv) Periods of cooling, minutes =

Transportation Engineering Lab, 66 College of Engineering Trivandrum

(a) In air =
(b) In water bath before trimming =
(c) In water bath after trimming =

Briquette No.
1 2 3
Initial reading
Final reading
Ductility =b-a(cm)

13.6 Result

Ductility value of the given sample of bitumen =………….cm

Property VG 10 VG20 VG30 VG40 Method of test

(Ref No)
Ductility at 25oc , cm min 75 50 40 25 IS:1208-1978
after thin film oven test

It is to be noted that as per the current specifications for paving bitumen, the ductility
requirement s are to be conducted on samples obtained after thin film oven test and not on
bitumen samples obtained from the refinery directly

13.7 Interpretation of result

The suitability of bitumen is judged, depending upon its type and proposed use. Bitumen
with low ductility value may get cracked especially in cold weather. BIS has specified
following values of minimum ductility for various grades of bitumen as given in Table

Table 13.1 Values of minimum ductility

Source of paving bitumen and penetration grade Minimum ductility value (cm)
Assam petroleum A25 5
A35 10
A45 12

Transportation Engineering Lab, 67 College of Engineering Trivandrum

A65, A90 and A200. 15

Bitumen from sources other than 50

Assam Petroleum S35
S45,S65,S90 75

A certain minimum ductility is necessary for a bitumen binder. This is because of the
temperature changes in the bituminous mixes and repeated deformations that occur in
flexible pavements due to traffic loads. If the bitumen has low ductility value, the
bituminous pavement may crack, especially in cold weather.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 68 College of Engineering Trivandrum




IS: 1209-1978

14.1 Aim

To determine the flashpoint and fire point of the bituminous material.

14.2 Concept and significance

At high temperature bituminous materials emit hydrocarbon vapours, which are

susceptible to catch fire. Therefore the heating temperature of bituminous material should
be restricted to avoid hazardous conditions. Flash point and fire point tests are used to
determine the temperature to which bituminous material can safely be heated. Bituminous
material leaves out volatiles at high temperatures depending on their grades. These
volatile vapours catch fire causing a flash.

The flash point of a material is the lowest temperature at which the application of test
flame causes the vapours from the material momentarily catches fire in the form of a flash
under specified conditions of test.

The fire point is the lowest temperature at which the application of test flame causes the
material to ignite and burn atleast for 5 seconds under specified conditions of test.

14.3 Apparatus

The apparatus (Fig.14.1) as per IS: 1209-1978 consists of:

(i) Pensky- Martens closed tester consisting of the following major parts:
(a) Cup: It is made of brass, the inside of the cup may be turned to a slightly larger
diameter above the filling mark and the outside may be tapered above the flange. The
flange is about 12mm in width and approximately 3mm in thickness. It is equipped with
device for locating the position of the lid on the cup and the cup itself in the stove. A
handle is attached to the flange of the cup.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 69 College of Engineering Trivandrum

(b) Lid: It includes a stirring device, cover proper, shutter and flame exposure device.
The stirring device consists of a vertical steel shaft of 2.5 mm to 3mm diameter and
mounted in the center of the cup. It carries two bladed brass propellers. Cover is made of
brass and fits the outside of the cup closely. It has four openings. Opening A has an area
defined by area of two concentric circles. Opening B and C are of equal areas and
approximately half the angular width of opening A. Opening D is provided to grip the
thermometer collar.
Shutter: 2.5mm thick and made of brass. It is so shaped and mounded that it rotates on the
axis of the horizontal center of the lid. On one extreme position, the openings A, B and C
of the lid are completely closed and when in the other extreme position, these orifices are
completely opened.
Flame: Exposure device having a tip with an opening 0.7 to0.8 mm in diameter . the
device is equipped with an operating mechanism which ,when the shutter is in open
position ,depresses the tip so that the center of the orifice is between the planes of the
under and the upper surfaces of the lid proper. A pilot flame for automatic relighting of
the exposure flame should be provided.
(c) Stove: it consists of an air bath and a top plate on which the flame on the cup rests.
Air bath has a cylindrical interior, 41.3 to 42.2mm in depth. The air bath may be either a
flame heated metal casting or an electric resistant element.
(d) Thermometers: For low range values, it has measurement range from –7 to 110oC and
readable upto 0.5oC for expected values of flash and fire points thermometer having a
range of 90o C to 370o C and readable to 2oC should be used.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 70 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Fig.14. 1 Components of Pensky Martens closed tester

Transportation Engineering Lab, 71 College of Engineering Trivandrum

14.4 Procedure

14.4.1 For Bitumen other than Cut Back Bitumen

(i) Clean and dry all parts of the cup and its accessories thoroughly.
(ii) Fill the cup with the material to be tested upto the level indicated by filling mark.
(iii) Place the lid on the cup and set latter in the stove.
(iv) Insert the thermometer.
(v) The bitumen sample is then coated.
(vi) Turn the stirrer at a rate approximately 60 revolutions per minute.

Apply the test flame by operating the device controlling the shutter and test flame
burner so that the flame is lowered in 0.5 seconds, left in its position for one second,
and quickly raised to its position discontinue stirrer during the application of test flame.
(vii) Apply the test flame initially at a temperature 17oC below the expected flash
point. Thereafter apply the test flame at an interval of 1oC for the range above
104oC. For the temperature range above 104oC increase this interval by 2oC.
(viii) Note down the flash point as the temperature at which the flame application
causes a distinct flash in the interior of the cup.

The duplicate test results should not differ by more than the following:

Flash Point Range Repeatability Reproducibility

104oc and below 2oc 3.5oc
Above 104oc 5.5oc 8.5oc


(i) The test flame should neither be larger than stipulated nor be applied more
frequently than specified as the surface layer may get superheated.
(ii) The bluish halo that sometimes surrounds the test flame should not be confused
with the true flash.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 72 College of Engineering Trivandrum

14.5 Record of observations

Grade of bitumen =

Property Test Mean

1 2 3
Flash point
Fire point

14.6 Results

Flash point of the given sample of bitumen = ……………….º C

Fire point of the given sample of bitumen = ……………….º C

14.7 Interpretation of results

The determination of flash point is helpful in assessing the safe limits of heating the
bitumen. The heating temperature of bitumen should be limited well below the flash
point. It is specified that in closed cup system the test results should not differ from the
mean by more than 3oC for materials flashing above 104oC and not more than 1oC from
the mean for materials flashing below 104oC. The minimum value of flash point by
Pensky Marten‘s closed type apparatus specified by BIS is 175 oC for all grades of
bitumens (for both Assam petroleum and those from other sources). The minimum
specified flash point for rapid curing bitumen of all grades is 26oC and that for medium
curing type is 38o C for grades 0 and 1 and 65o C for grades 2 to 5. Slow curing cutbacks
have minimum values ranging from 65o C to 121o C.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 73 College of Engineering Trivandrum



15.1 Aim

i) To determine the viscosity of the given sample of bitumen using Brookfield


15.2 Apparatus

The apparatus consist of

i. Brookfield Viscometer
ii. Spindle(usually S21)
iii. Thermostat
iv. Extracting tools
v. Temperature controller

15.3 Procedure

i. Connect the viscometer and thermostat to the mains.

ii. Connect the temperature probe of the thermostat to the thermosel. Also connect
the power cable from thermostat to thermosel.
iii. After assembling, level the viscometer (seeing bubble at the top) by adjusting the
screws at the bottom of the viscometer.
iv. Switch on the viscometer by using the switch at the back
v. Viscometer will display ―Remove the spindle and Press any key‖. Follow the
vi. Connect the viscometer and thermostat to the mains.
vii. Connect the temperature probe of the thermostat to the thermosel. Also connect
the power cable from thermostat to thermosel.
viii. After assembling, level the viscometer (seeing bubble at the top) by adjusting the
screws at the bottom of the viscometer.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 74 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Fig.15.1 Brookefield Viscometer

ix. Switch on the viscometer by using the switch at the back

x. Viscometer will display ―Remove the spindle and Press any key‖. Follow the
xi. Press ―Select Spindle‖ and change the spindle number by using the up/down
arrow. Normally S21 is used for testing bitumen.
xii. Press up/down arrow to select the speed and then press ―Set Speed‖.
xiii. Press ―Autorange‖ which allows in determining the maximum viscosity reading
possible with that spindle/speed.
xiv. Then spindle is attached to the viscometer by lifting the shipping cap and
screwing the spindle in the clock-wise direction, holding the shipping cap firmly
xv. Check the position of the thermosel such that the spindle is at the centre. Level
the thermosel by adjusting the screws at bottom of thermosel.
xvi. ‗On‘ the thermostat by pressing the switch at the back. Press the ―Set‖ button and
adjust the temperature using up/down arrow and again press ―Set‖. Press
―Run/Std By‖. (Bitumen test is done by setting the temperature at 1300C)

Transportation Engineering Lab, 75 College of Engineering Trivandrum

xvii. Pour the bitumen into the vessel at pouring temperature. Place the vessel into the
thermosel and lower the spindle into the sample without touching the sides of the
xviii. Immerse the spindle fully into the sample and maintain the temperature at 1300C.
xix. Now press the ―Motor On/Off‖ after ensuring temperature of 1300C. Note down
the value which is least fluctuating or take the value which is displayed within the
first 5 seconds.
xx. Turn off the viscometer after pressing ―Motor On/Off‖.

15.5 Record of observations

Sample 1 Sample 2
Viscosity(centi Poise)

Mean value

15.6 Result

The mean of the two results is reported as the Viscosity of specimen :

Sl.No Viscosity Absolute Kinematic Range of

Grading viscosity at 60 o Viscosity at penetration
C,Poise(min) 135 oC, cSt value at 25oC
1 VG10 800 250 80-100
2 VG20 1600 300 60-80
3 VG30 2400 350 50-70
4 VG40 3200 400 40-60


 The viscosity value with torque value below 10% is discarded and value with
torque above 40% is accurate.
 If the viscometer displays error, repeat the experiment by changing the RPM
value or the spindle.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 76 College of Engineering Trivandrum

16.1 Aim
To determine the theoretical maximum specific gravity and density of
uncompacted bituminous paving mixtures
16.2 Concept and Significance

This test method covers the determination of the theoretical maximum specific gravity
and density of uncompacted bituminous paving mixtures at 25˚c. The theoretical
maximum specific gravity (Gtm) is used to a) calculate air voids in compacted bituminous
mixtures b) calculate the amount of bitumen absorbed by the aggregate and c) provide
target values of air voids and density for the compaction of paving mixtures in the field.
While designing dense bituminous mixes in the laboratory attempt is made to achieve
4.0% air voids in the compacted mix. However during field compaction of the same dense
bituminous mix, initial compaction of the pavement layer is limited to a lower density and
higher air voids content (in the order of 6 to 8% air voids) so as to minimise bleeding
when the pavement layer gets densified due to traffic movement.
A sample of loose paving mixture is placed in a vacuum vessel of known weight.
Water at 24˚ C is added to completely submerge the sample. A specified amount of
vacuum is gradually applied to remove the air bubbles entrapped between bituminous mix
particles. After the vacuum is released, the volume of the sample of the voidless paving
mixture is obtained by either immersing the vacuum container with the sample in a water
bath and weighing or by filling the calibrated vacuum container level full of water and
weighing in air.
16.3 Apparatus

A container, a vacuum bowl (made of metal or plastic) with diameter of 180 to 260 mm
and height of at least 160 mm. The bowl shall be equipped with a stiff, transparent cover
fitted with a rubber gasket and a connection to a vacuum line. The hose connection shall
be covered with a small piece of fine wire mesh to minimise loss of any fine material
from the mix. Alternately a vacuum flask for weighing in air, consisting of thick walled
volumetric glass flask with a capacity of about 4000 ml, fitted with a rubber stopper with

Transportation Engineering Lab, 77 College of Engineering Trivandrum

a connection for the vacuum line. The hose connection shall be covered with a small
piece of fine wired mesh to minimise loss of any fine material from the mix.
Balance to read upto 0.1 g, with a suitable suspension arrangement for weighing the
sample while suspended in water.
Vacuum pump capable of evacuating air from the vacuum container to a residual
pressure of 4.0 kPa(30 mm of Hg) or less. A suitable trap is provided between the pump
and container to minimise water vapour entering the vacuum pump.
Manometer or calibrated absolute pressure gauge with a bleed valve to adjust the
vacuum level.
Water bath capable of maintaining a constant temperature of 25 ± 1 ˚c and suitable for
immersion of suspended container.
Calibration of bowls
Calibration of bowls is done by determining the weight of the container (B) immersed
in water at 25 ± 1 ˚C. If the bowl is used for weighing in air, the volumetric lid is placed
on the bow while under water. The water-filled bowl with the lid is removed and dried
prior to determining the combined mass of the bowl, lid and water. The experiment is
repeated three times in average the three weights (D) is determined.
Calibration of flask
The volumetric flask is calibrated accurately by determining the weight of the flask
filled with water at 25 ± 1 ˚C. The glass cover plate is used to ensure that the flask is
completely full.
16.4 Procedure

The sample of bituminous mix to be compacted in the field is collected and the
particles of the loose paving mixture (while it is warmed) are separated out by hand so
that the particles are not larger than about 6 mm. The aggregates should not be fractured.
A minimum sample size of 1500 g is needed for mixes with nominal maximum aggregate
size of 12.5 mm and 2500 g for mixes with nominal maximum aggregate sizes 19 to 25
mm. Sufficient water is added at 25 ˚C to cover the sample completely. The mix sample
is placed directly into the bowl or flask of known weight. The container is weighed and
net weight of the sample only is determined (A). The cover or stopper is placed on the
containers. The container with the sample and water is placed on a mechanical agitator
and vibrated. Alternately the container is agitated manually for 2 to 3 minutes. The

Transportation Engineering Lab, 78 College of Engineering Trivandrum

entrapped air is removed by gradually applying vacuum and increasing the vacuum
pressure until the residual manometer reads 3.7 ± 0.3 kPa (27.5 ± 2.5 mm of Hg). After
achieving this level within 2 minutes the vacuum and agitation is continued for 15 ± 2
minutes. The vacuum pressure is released with the bleed valve. The bowl and its contents
without lid is suspended in water for 10 ± 1 minutes and the weight in water is
determined (C). Slowly the bowl and the sample are submerged in water in the water bath
maintained at 25 ± 1 ˚C and kept for 10 ± 1 minutes. The lid is immersed in water and
slided onto the bowl without removing water from the bowl so that no air is trapped
inside the bowl. The bowl with the lid in place is removed from the water bath. The bowl
and the lid are dried with a dry cloth. The weight of the bowl, sample and lid is
determined €. The flask is filled slowly with water ensuring that no air is introduced into
the sample. The flask is placed in water bath for 10 ± 1 minutes to stabilize the
temperature at 25 ˚C without submerging the top of the flask. The flask is filled
completely with water by using a cover plate without entrapping air beneath the cover
plate. The exterior of the flask and cover plate are wiped dry. The mass of the flask, plate
and its contents completely filled with water is determined. Let this mass be designated as
16.5 Calculations

The maximum specific gravity of the sample of loose paving mixture is calculated as
Determination with bowl under water:

Gtm = theoretical maximum specific gravity of the mixture.
A = weight of the dry sample in air, g.
B = weight of the bowl in water, g.
C = weight of bowl and sample under water, g.
Determination with bowl in air :

Gtm = theoretical maximum specific gravity of the mixture.
A = weight of the dry sample in air, g.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 79 College of Engineering Trivandrum

D = weight of the lid and bowl with water at 25˚C, g.
E = weight of lid, bowl, sample and water at 25˚C, g.
Determination with flask:

Gtm = maximum theoretical specific gravity of the mixture.
A = weight of the dry sample in air, g.
D = weight of cover plate and flask filled with water at 25˚C, g.
E = weight of flask, cover plate, sample and water at 25˚C, g.

16.6 Results
Theoretical maximum specific gravity =

Transportation Engineering Lab, 80 College of Engineering Trivandrum


17. 1 Aim
To determine the bulk density of specimen of compacted bituminous mix

17.2 Concept and significance

Marshall Stability test is conducted on compacted cylindrical specimens of

bituminous mix of diameter 101.6 mm thickness 63.5 mm. The load is applied
perpendicular to the axis of the cylindrical specimen through a testing head consisting of
a pair of cylindrical segments, at a constant rate of deformation of 51 mm per minute at
the standard test temperature of 60 degree. The ‗Marshall Stability‘ of the bituminous mix
specimen is defined as a maximum load carried in kg at the standard test temperature of
60 when load is applied under specified test conditions. Marshall stability test concept is
illustrated in Fig.17.1.The bulk density is tested on the Marshall specimen.

17.2 Apparatus

(i) Compaction mould assembly : Consists of (a) compaction mould of cylindrical shape
of diameter 101.6 mm and height 75mm with a collar extension and a base plate Both the
ends of the cylindrical mould are interchangeable and may be placed on the base plate (b)
Compaction hammer with a flat circular plate of diameter 98.4mm and a hammer of
weight 4.5kg which can be lifted and released to obtain 457mm drop (c) Compaction
pedestal and mould holder, consisting of a wooden block capped with a steel plate to
hold the mould assembly in position during compaction, a mould holder with spring
tension device to hold compaction mould in place on the compaction pedestal.

(ii) Specimen Extractor : A specimen extractor suitably fitted with a jack or compression
machine, for extruding the compacted specimen from the mould
(iii) Testing Head : It consists of upper and lower cylindrical segments of test head with
an inside radius of curvature 51mm. The lower segment is mounted on a base having two
vertical guide rods which facilitate insertion in the holes of upper test head.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 81 College of Engineering Trivandrum

(iv) Testing Machine : The Marshall stability testing machine consists of a motorized
loading unit provided with a gear system to lift the base plate upward at the specified rate.
A calibrated proving .ring of 5 tonne capacity with a dial gauge or a load cell with a
digital load display unit is fixed on the upper end of the machine to measure the load
applied. In between the base and the proving ring/load cell, the testing head with the
specimen inside is placed in position. The strain controlled loading machine produces a
movement of the base plate at the rate of 51mmper minute. By operating the lever of the
gear it is possible to reverse the movement of the base plate downwards to enable
removal of the testing head and the specimen after each test.

Fig. 17.1 Marshall Apparatus

(v) Deformation measuring dial gauge : A dial gauge with a least count of 0.01mm or
0.025mm fixed to the guide rods of the testing machine to measure the vertical
deformation of the specimen placed inside the test head due to the load applied.
(vi) Other accessories: These include thermostatically controlled oven, hot plate, mixing
device, thermostatically controlled water bath and thermometers of suitable range and
sensitivity to be used in the oven and water bath.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 82 College of Engineering Trivandrum

17.3 Procedure
17.3.1 Preparation of Test Specimen
The course aggregate, fine aggregates and the filler materials are proportioned and
mixed in such way that the gradation of the mixture is within the range specified for the
desired type of bituminous mix. The maximum permissible size of course aggregate for
the preparation of Marshall stability test specimen is 25 mm. The type and gradation of
the aggregates to be used, the type of bituminous binder and the range of binder content
to be used for the preparation of the bituminous mix specimens are as given in the
standard specifications such as the Indian Roads Congress or any other standard agency
or as per ‗job mix formula‘ specified for the project. For example, the specifications for
bituminous concrete pavement surface course as per the Ministry of Road Transport and
Highways, Government of India are present in Table 17.1

Table17.1 Specified Grading of Aggregates and Binder for Bituminous Concrete

Nominal aggregate size * 19 mm 13 mm

Layer thickness 50-65 mm 30-45 mm
Sieve size, mm Percentage passing by weight
Grade 1 Grade 2
26.5 100 -
19 79 - 100 100
13.2 59 - 79 79 - 100
9.5 52 - 72 70 - 88
4.75 35 - 55 53 - 71
2.36 28 - 44 42 - 58
1.18 20 - 34 34 - 48
0.6 15 - 27 26 - 38
0.3 10 - 20 18 - 28
0.15 5 - 13 12 - 20
0.075 2-8 4 – 10
Bitumen Content,% by weight of total mix 5.0 to 6.0 5.0 to 7.0
Bitumen grade VG 30 VG 30
(Penetration 65) (Penetration 65)

Transportation Engineering Lab, 83 College of Engineering Trivandrum

*Nominal maximum size is one size larger than the first sieve, which retains more than
10% material
The aggregate and filler are mixed together in the desired proportion to fulfil the
design requirements and the specified gradations. The required quantity of the mineral
aggregate mix is weighed and taken so as to produce a compacted bituminous mix
specimen of thickness 63.5 mm approximately.
In the first attempt approximately 1200 g of the aggregates and the filler mix is
taken, weighed correctly and heated to a temperature of 175 C to 190 C ( not exceeding
28 C above the mixing temperature). The compaction mould assembly and rammer are
cleaned and kept pre-heated at a temperature of 95 C to 150 C.
The bitumen binder is heated to a temperature of 120 C to 165 C (depending on
the type and grade of the binder used). The required quantity of bitumen is calculated as
per the percentage binder by weight of total mineral aggregate specified in the mix design
or job formula for the project. The weighed quantity of heated bitumen is added to the
heated aggregate and the mixture is thoroughly mixed at the specified mixing
temperature, using a mechanical mixture or by hand mixing with trowel. It is suggested
that the bituminous binder is heated such that its kinematic viscosity is in the range of
170±20 centistocks. The recommended mixing temperature for VG 10 grade bitumen
(equivalent to 80/100 penetration grade bitumen) is about 154°C and that for VG 30
grade (60/70 penetration grade bitumen) is about 160 °C.

After mixing thoroughly such that the surface of the aggregates are uniformly and fully
coated with the binder the bituminous mix may be allowed to slightly cool down to
recommended compacting temperature. It is suggested that the compacting temperature
should be such that the kinematic viscosity of the bituminous binder in the mix is 280 ±30
centistokes. The recommended compacting temperature is about 138°C for VG 10 grade
bitumen (80/100 penetration grade bitumen) and about 149°C tor VG 30 grade (60/70
penetration grade) bitumen.

The mix is placed in the pre-heated mould and is compacted by the rammer at the
specified temperature by applying 75 blows on either side. Alter the compaction the
specimen with the mould is allowed to cool down the room temperature. During the
cooling period additional test specimen may be prepared using pre-heated spare moulds.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 84 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Alter the bituminous mix with the mould is cooled, the test specimen is carefully extruded
from the mould using the specimen extractor

The compacted specimen should have a thickness of 63.5 ±1.27 mm. If the
average thickness of the specimen in the first trial does not fulfil this requirement, the
weight of the aggregate taken my be suitably altered in the next trial to obtain a thickness
of 63.5 mm. At least three test specimens should be prepared for each mix of aggregates
and bitumen content.

17.3.2 Determination of weight and dimensions or volume of test specimens

Each specimen prepared as above is weighed in air and the average diameter and
thickness of the cylindrical specimen is obtained by taking measurements at three or four
locations of the specimen. The volume of the each specimen is calculated from the
average diameter and thickness values. The volume of the specimens may also be
determined by finding the weights of the specimen in air and its apparent weight by
suspending it in water. The main objective is to determine the density or specific gravity
of the each compacted bituminous mix specimen.

17.4 Bulk Density / Specific Gravity of Compacted Specimen

Let the weight of the compacted specimen of bituminous mix (weight in air) be =W g
Let the volume of the compacted specimen (determined either by measuring the mean
dimension or by weighing it in air and in water and thus finding the volume of water
displaced) be= V cm3
The bulk density of the compacted specimen of bituminous mix = W/V( g/cm3 )
17.5 Result
Bulk density of Marshall specimen =

Transportation Engineering Lab, 85 College of Engineering Trivandrum




18.1 Aim
To determine the tensile strength of compacted bituminous specimens

18.2 Concept and Significance

The durability and good performance of bituminous paving mixes depends on the
materials used and their compatibility. The long term adhesion property between the
bitumen binder and the aggregates is quite complex. The loss of bond or stripping due to
the presence of moisture between the aggregates and bitumen binder depends on several
factors such as (a) characteristics of aggregates, binder and anti-stripping additives used,
if any (b) properties of the compacted bituminous mix, (c) construction practice, (d)
drainage, (e) environment and (f) traffic.
Several laboratory test procedures have been developed and are in use to assess
the moisture susceptibility of compacted bituminous paving mixtures. The principle
followed in these methods are : (a) determination of strength property of the control
specimens prepared as per the mix design (b) conditioning another set of identical test
specimens by subjecting them to weathering action and then determination of the strength
property, same as (a) above (c) finding the strength ratio between the conditioned
specimens and the control or unconditioned specimens and (d) comparing with the
minimum acceptable strength ratio or the maximum permissible loss in strength.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH), Government of India
in the ‗Specifications for Road and Bridge Works‘ has suggested ‗Water Sensitivity Test‘
to determine the ‗Retained Tensile Strength‘ of compacted specimens of bituminous mix
as per AASHTO T-283. The outline of this method has been briefly given in this chapter.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 86 College of Engineering Trivandrum

18.3 Apparatus
Vacuum container, vacuum pump, manometer and accessories as specified in ASTM
D2041, the other accessories required include freezer maintained at 1.8C  3C, two
water baths capable of maintaining temperatures of 60C  1C and 25C  0.5C, steel
loading strips of suitable size to conduct indirect tensile strength test on the specimens,
loading machine and weighing machine.

18.4 Procedure

18.4.1 Preparation of test specimens with specified air voids content

Initially a few trial specimens are to be prepared by varying the amount of

compaction to establish the degree of compaction required in order to obtain water
sensitivity test specimens with specified air voids content of 7.0 0.5%, by trial. The level
of high air voids can be obtained by trial by varying the number of Marshall Compaction
blows applied on each side of the specimens, starting from about 10 blows on either side
though the voids content as per mix design will be much lower (about 4.0 %), the initial
voids content of the compacted bituminous concrete pavement layer in the field will be
generally in the range of about 6.5 to 7.5 %. Therefore trial specimens are prepared by
imparting varying number of blows and determining the weight, volume, density and air
voids content of the specimens. Using the test results, the actual number of blows
required to get the test specimens having the specified air voids content is determined.

18.4.2 Water sensitivity test

Cylindrical bituminous mix specimens are prepared with a Marshall compactor so

that the compacted specimens have air voids of 7.0  0.5 %. At least six compacted test
specimens are prepared for each bituminous mix, three to be tested as ‗control test
specimens‘ without subjecting to soaking in water and conditioning and three to be tested
after conditioning by partial saturation and moisture conditioning with a freeze thaw
The compacted specimens are allowed to cool at room temperature and the weight
and the volume of two sub sets are approximately equal. One set of three specimens is

Transportation Engineering Lab, 87 College of Engineering Trivandrum

denoted as control specimens and the other set is subjected to conditioning. The subset of
control specimens are placed in the water bath maintained at 25  0.5C for two hours
and soon after subjected to indirect tensile strength test at this temperature. The other
subset of test specimens are subjected to conditioning as follows.
The three specimens are submerged in the vacuum container filled with water at
room temperature. A vacuum of 13-67k Pa absolute pressure or 254 – 660mm Hg partial
pressure is applied for 30 minutes. The vacuum is removed and the specimens are left
submerged in water for 5 – 10 minutes. A plastic film is wrapped around each saturated
specimen and wrapped specimen is placed in a plastic bag containing 10ml of water and it
is sealed. The plastic bag is kept in a freezer at a temperature of 183C for a minimum at
601C for 24 hours. The specimens are removed from the hot water bath, placed under
water and the plastic bag and film are removed from each specimen and then the
specimens are placed in a water bath maintained at 250.5C for two hours. The
conditioned specimens are removed and subjected to indirect tensile strength test at this
The indirect tensile strength of all the three control specimens and three
conditioned specimens are determined at 250.5C after removing the specimens from
water bath, as per the procedure given below:
The mean thickness, t of each specimen is measured. Two steel loading strips are
placed on the bottom and top of the specimens across the diameter. The specimen is
placed in the Marshall testing machine or a compression testing machine and the vertical
load is applied on the specimens diametrically at a rate of 50mm per minute. The
maximum compressive strength is recorded and the loading is continued until a vertical
crack appears in the specimen. The cracked specimen is removed from the machine and
the degree of damage caused due to moisture is visually estimated by noting the
appropriate extend of stripped or bare aggregate on the fractured faces of the specimen,
on a scale of 0 to 5.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 88 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Table 18.1 Air voids in specimens compacted at varying degrees of compaction
Trial No. No. of blows on Volume of Bulk density of Air voids
either side compacted compacted mix (Gb) (Vv) %
specimen (V), cc g/cc

Table 18.2 Observations of water sensitivity value test

Specimen No. Indirect tensile strength, kPa Tensile strength
ratio, S2/S1
Unconditioned, S1 Conditioned, S2

18.5 Calculations

The tensile strength of each specimen is calculated as follows, in SI units

St = 2000 P
πt d

St = tensile strength , kPa

P = maximum load, N
t = mean thickness of specimen, mm
d = diameter of specimen, mm

Transportation Engineering Lab, 89 College of Engineering Trivandrum

the numerical index of resistance of bituminous mixture to the detrimental effects of
water or the water sensitivity value is expressed as the ratio of the retained strength after
conditioning by accelerated moisture and freeze thaw to the orginal strength of control
specimen. The tensile strength ratio (TSR) is calculated.

TSR = S2/S1

Retained tensile strength , % = 100* (S2/S1)

S1 = average tensile strength of the control or unconditioned subset of specimens, kPa
S2 = average tensile strength of the conditioned subset of specimens, kPa

18.6 Application
The minimum specified value of retained tensile strength is 80 %(TSR(.8) ) as per
MORTH specification.It is also suggested in the above specification that the water
sensitivity test may be conducted if the aggregates fail to satisfy minimum retained
coating of 95% in the ‗Stripping Value Test‘ .

18.7 Discussion
Water sensitivity may also be assessed by conducting Marshall Stability tests on control
specimens in the conventional manner and again after immersion in water maintained at
60 degree Celsius for 24 hours of conditioning. The ratio of the stability values after
immersion to that without immersion indicates the retained Marshall Stability value or
water sensitivity by this method. This test is adopted at times for routine testing as the
procedure is easy and simple to be carried out in small laboratories near the construction
The water sensitivity test evaluates one of the requirements of the coarse
aggregates used in the bituminous mix and does not exactly access the property of the
design bituminous mix.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 90 College of Engineering Trivandrum


19.1 Aim

To measure the roughness index of pavement surface

19.2 Concept and Significance

MERLIN is simple equipment which can measure the unevenness of pavement

surface more accurately, but a slow speed. MERLIN denotes the short form of ―Machine
for Evaluating Roughness using Low- Cost Instrumentation‖. This equipment measures
the vertical displacement between the road surface under the probe and the centre point of
an imaginary line joining the two points where the road surface is in contact with the two
feet, which is called as the ‗mid-chord deviation.‘ If the pavement surface is rough, the
variability of the displacement will be higher. By plotting the displacements as a
histogram on a chart mounted on the equipment, the spread can be measured and it has
been found to correlate well with the road roughness(unevenness) , as measured on a
standard roughness scales.

19.3 Apparatus
MERLIN has two feet which are spaced at 1.8m and a probe that rest on the wheel
track. The probe lies mid-way between the two feet. The equipment is fitted with a
bicycle tyre for ease of operation in the front leg. A rigid metal road is fitted in the rear
leg. A stabilizer leg is fitted at the rear to prevent the equipment from falling. The probe
is attached with a moving arm with a pointer at one end, which moves over a prepared
data sheet. The arm has a mechanical amplification of ten, so that a movement of the
probe of 1 mm will produce a movement of the pointer of 10mm.The chart consists of
columns; each 5mm wide and divided into boxes .Fig shows Merlin equipment.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 91 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Fig. 19.1 MERLIN Setup
19.4 Procedure

The wheel path along which the readings are to be taken are marked. The
MERLIN is moved and kept at the starting point. The location of the pointer on the chart
is recorded with a cross at the appropriate column to keep a record of the total number of
observations, a cross mark is also made in a ‗tally box‘ in the chart. The handle of the
MERLIN is raised, so that only the wheel is in contact with the road surface and moved
forward to the next measuring point and the process is repeated. The next point is located
after each revolution of the wheel of the MERLIN. A mark is painted on the rim of the
wheel and the measurement is taken every time, the wheel rotates and the mark comes to
the road surface. It is desirable to have at least 200 readings at regular intervals or for 200
wheel revolutions. When 200 observations are made, the chart is removed from
MERLIN. The number of cross-marks is counted from either end. The position mid-way
between the tenth and eleventh cross marks from either end are marked on the chart. If
needed, the position may be interpolated between tenth and eleventh readings. The
spacing between the two marks; D is measured in millimeter and taken as the roughness
on the ‗MERLIN scale‘. A typical figure showing the computations of the distance ‗D‘ is
showed in Fig.19.2.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 92 College of Engineering Trivandrum

Fig. 19.2 Sample Output

19.5 Calculation

The relationship between the MERLIN scale and International Roughness Index
(IRI) by Bump Integrator are given below.
For all roads surfaces:
IRI = 0.593 +0.0471 D
42 < D > 312 (2.4 < IRI > 15.9)
IRI is the roughness in terms of the International Roughness Index and measured
in meters per kilometer length of road and D is the roughness in terms of the MERLIN
scale and is measured in mm.
BI = -983 +47.5 D
Where, BI is the Roughness as measured by a fifth wheel Bump Integrator towed at
32kmph and is measured in millimeter per kilometer.

Transportation Engineering Lab, 93 College of Engineering Trivandrum

19.6 Results

International Roughness Index =

Transportation Engineering Lab, 94 College of Engineering Trivandrum