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To determine the shrinkage limit, shrinkage ratio and volumetric shrinkage of the
remoulded soil sample.
1) Evaporating dishes
2) Shrinkage dish
3) Glass plate
4) Glass cup
5) Metal prongs
6) Spatula
7) Straight edge
8) 425μ IS Sieve
9) Balance
11)Wash bottle containing distilled water
Shrinkage limit (Ws) is the water content of the soil when the water is just sufficient to
fill all the pores of the soil and the soil is just saturated. Volume of the does not decrease when
the water content is reduced below the shrinkage limit. It can be determined from the relation
Ws (%) = W1 (%) - ɣw (𝑀2−𝑀3) * 100
Where W1 (%) = initial moisture content = 𝑀2−𝑀3 ∗ 100

ɣ w = density of water = 1 g/cc

M1= mass of shrinkage dish + wet soil (g)
M2 = mass of shrinkage dish + dry soil (g)
M3 = mass of shrinkage dish alone (g)
M4 = mass of mercury filling the shrinkage dish (g)
V1 = original volume of wet soil = volume of shrinkage dish = (M4)/13.6 in cc
M5 = Mass of mercury displaced by dry pat (g)
V2 = Final volume of dry pat = (M5)/ 13.6
Shrinkage ratio (R) = 𝑉2

Volumetric shrinkage Vs = [W1 (%) - Ws (%)] * R

1. Take about 100 g of soil sample passing through 425μ IS Sieve.
2. Place about 30 g of the above sample in evaporation dish and mix it thoroughly with
distilled water. Water added should be sufficient to fill the voids in the soil completely. Make
the soil paste enough to be readily worked into the shrinkage dish without entrapping air
bubbles. In the case of plastic soils, the water content of the paste may exceed its liquid limit
by as much as 10% while for friable soils the amount of water required to obtain the desired
consistency may be equal to or slightly more than liquid limit.
3. Clean the shrinkage dish and determine its weight accurately (M3). To determine its
volume, place the dish on an evaporating dish and fill the shrinkage dish with mercury till it
overflows. Then remove the dish and wipe off any mercury adhering to the outside of the
shrinkage dish. Transfer the mercury into another evaporating dish and weigh it. Mass of the
mercury filling the dish (M4) divided by density of mercury gives the volume of the shrinkage
dish (V1).
4. Coat the inner side of the shrinkage dish with a thin layer of Vaseline. In the center of dish,
place the soil paste about one third of the volume of the dish, with the help of spatula. Tap the
dish gently on the rubber sheet and allow the paste to flow towards the edges. Repeat the
process till the dish is completely filled and excess soil over flows. Strike off the excess soil
paste with the straight edge. Wipe off the soil adhering to the outside of the dish and weigh it
as M1.
5. Weigh the shrinkage dish and keep it open to air until the colour of pat turns from dark to
light. Keep the dish into the oven and dry the pat to the constant weight at 105c to 110c and
place the dish in a desiccator and weigh the dish with dry soil (M2) immediately.
6. Keep the glass cup in a china dish. Fill the cup to overflowing with mercury, remove the
excess mercury by pressing the glass plate with the three prongs firmly over the top of the
cup. Transfer the cup to another evaporating dish: wipe off any mercury which may be
adhering to the outside of the cup. Place the oven dried soil pat on the surface of mercury in
the cup and carefully force the pat into the mercury, by pressing it by the glass plate
containing three metal prongs. Collect the displaced mercury and weigh it (M5). The volume
of the dry soil pat is then determined by dividing this weight by the unit weight of mercury.

S. No. Description 1 2 3
1 Shrinkage dish no.

2 Weight of shrinkage dish + wet soil in g

3 Wt. of shrinkage dish + Wt. of dry soil
pat in g (M2)
4 Wt. of shrinkage dish in g (M3)

5 Weight of mercury filling the dish (M4)

in g
6 Original volume of wet soil V1 =
7 Mass of mercury displaced by dry pat
8 Volume of dry pat (V2) = M5/13.6

Initial moisture content W1 (%) = 𝑀2−𝑀3 ∗ 100 =

Shrinkage limit Ws (%) = W1 (%) - ɣw (𝑀2−𝑀3) * 100 =

Shrinkage ratio (R) = =

Volumetric shrinkage Vs = [W1 (%) - Ws (%)] * R =


Shrinkage limit Ws (%) =

Shrinkage Ratio (R) =

Volumetric shrinkage Vs =