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UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL MAYOR DE SAN MARCOS

FACULTAD DE INGENIERIA GEOLOGICA, MINERA,


METALURGIA Y GEOGRAFICA

ESCUELA DE POSGRADO

MECANICA DE SUELOS Y CIMENTACIONES

Mag. Ing. Lloyd Solrzano P.


Index Propierty of Soil

GO
Plasticity Index of Soils
A. Overview

soil texture
degree of plasticity (Atterberg Limits)
Soil Texture Wentworth
Scale

Remove
Cobbles and
Boulders from
Analysis (>75mm)

Gravel
75-2 mm

Sand
2-0.075 mm

Silt and Clay


<0.075 mm
B. Overview of Mechanics

As water content increases,


the shear strength
decreases
Its all about shear strength
Atterberg Limits
The presence of water in fine-grained soils can significantly affect
associated engineering behavior, so we need a reference index to
clarify the effects. (The reason will be discussed later in the topic of clay minerals)

In percentage

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(Holtz and Kovacs, 1981)
C. Liquid Limit
Soil is practically a liquid
Shows minimal shear strength
Defined as the moisture content required
to close a distance of 0.5 inch along
the bottom of a groove after 25 blows
of the liquid limit device.

animation
C: Liquid Limit-LL
Casagrande Method
(ASTM D4318-95a)
Professor Casagrande standardized the test and developed the
liquid limit device.
C: Liquid Limit-LL
D. Plastic Limit
Water content at which the soil is a plastic
Less water content than liquid limit
Wide range of shear strengths at plastic limit
Defined as the moisture content % at which the
soil begins to crumble when rolled into 1/8
diameter threads

animation
D: Plastic Limit-PL

(Holtz and Kovacs, 1981)

The plastic limit PL is defined as the water content at which a soil thread
with 3.2 mm diameter just crumbles.
ASTM D4318-95a, BS1377: Part 2:1990:5.3

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E. Plasticity Index (PI)

Difference between Liquid Limit and Plastic Limit


Important measure of plastic behavior
E. Plasticity Index (PI)

In general.

PI Degree of Plasticity
0 Nonplastic
1-5 Slightly plastic
5-10 Low plasticity
10-20 Medium plasticity
20-40 High plasticity
40+ Very high plasticity
(from Burmister, 1949)
Atterberg Limits
Particle size is not that useful for fine grained soils

Figure: Moisture content versus volume relation during drying

SL - Shrinkage Limit
PL - Plastic Limit
LL - Liquid limit
Atterberg Limits
SL - Shrinkage Limit
PL - Plastic Limit
LL - Liquid limit

mass of water
Moisture content
mass of solids

Plasticity Index = LL - PL = PI or Ip
Shrinkage Limit-SL

Definition of
shrinkage limit:
The water content at
which the soil volume
ceases to change is
defined as the
SL shrinkage limit.

(Das, 1998)
Shrinkage Limit-SL (Cont.)
Soil volume: Vi
Soil mass: M1

Soil volume: Vf
Soil mass: M2

(Das, 1998)

SL w i (%) w (%)
M1 M 2 Vi Vf
(100) ( w )(100)
M2 M2
Plasticity Chart
L H
The A-line generally
separates the more
claylike materials
from silty materials,
PI
and the organics
from the inorganics.
The U-line indicates
the upper bound for
general soils.

LL

(Holtz and Kovacs, 1981)


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Symbols
Soil symbols: Liquid limit symbols:
G: Gravel H: High LL (LL>50)
S: Sand L: Low LL (LL<50)
M: Silt Gradation symbols:
C: Clay W: Well-graded
O: Organic P: Poorly-graded
Pt: Peat Well graded soil
Example: SW, Well-graded sand 1 Cc 3 and C u 4
(for gravels )
SC, Clayey sand
1 Cc 3 and C u 6
SM, Silty sand,
(for sands )
MH, Elastic silt 21
Procedure for AASHTO
Classification
(American Association of State
Highway and Transportation
Officials)

Developed in 1929 as the Public Road Administration Classification System


Modified by the Highway Research Board (1945)
Procedure for AASHTO
Classification
Determine the percentage of soil passing
the #200 sieve
Determine the subgroups
For coarse-grained soils (gravel and sand),
determine the percent passing the #10, 40,
and 200 sieves, AND
Determine the liquid limit and plasticity index
THEN, determine soil group or subgroup from
Table 9.1
For coarse-grained soils (gravel and sand),
determine the percent passing the #10, 40,
Cobble
and 200 sieves. 3
Gravel
#10
#10 Very Coarse to Med Sand
#40
Fine/Very Fine Sand
#200
Silt/Clay

#200
#40
Procedure for AASHTO
Classification
Determine the percentage of soil passing
the #200 sieve
Determine the subgroups
For fine-grained soils (silt & clay), determine
the liquid limit and plasticity index
Determine soil group or subgroup from Table
9.2
AASHTO Classification for Soils
Determine the group index
Determine the Group Index (usually reflects the
relative strength of the material, where low values
have the greatest shear strength)
Determine the group index

fine

{e.g.: A-7-5(9)}
Example Problem
A-7-6(10)
Unified Soil Classification System
(USCS)
Origin of USCS:
This system was first developed by Professor A. Casagrande (1948) for
the purpose of airfield construction during World War II. Afterwards, it
was modified by Professor Casagrande, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation,
and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to enable the system to be
applicable to dams, foundations, and other construction (Holtz and Kovacs, 1981).

Four major divisions:


(1) Coarse-grained
(2) Fine-grained
(3) Organic soils
(4) Peat
Definition of Grain Size
No specific
grain size-use
Atterberg limits

Gravel Sand Silt and


Boulders Cobbles Clay
Coarse Fine Coarse Medium Fine

300 mm 75 mm No.4 No.200


4.75 mm 0.075
19 mm No.10 No.40 mm
2.0 mm 0.425 mm
General Guidance
50 %
Coarse-grained soils: Fine-grained soils:
Gravel Sand Silt Clay
NO. 4 NO.200
50%
4.75 mm 0.075 mm

Grain size distribution PL, LL LL>50


LL <50
Cu Plasticity chart
Cc
Required tests: Sieve analysis

Atterberg limit
Symbols
Soil symbols: Liquid limit symbols:
G: Gravel H: High LL (LL>50)
S: Sand L: Low LL (LL<50)
M: Silt Gradation symbols:
C: Clay W: Well-graded
O: Organic P: Poorly-graded
Pt: Peat Well graded soil
1 Cc 3 and C u 4
Example: SW, Well-graded sand
(for gravels )
SC, Clayey sand 1 Cc 3 and C u 6
SM, Silty sand, (for sands )
MH, Elastic silt
Unified Soil Classification
To determine if W or P, calculate Cu and Cc
D60
Cu
D10 x% of the soil has particles
D302 smaller than Dx
Cc
(D60D10 )
Unified Soil Classification
To determine W or P, calculate Cu and Cc
D60
Cu
D10 x% of the soil has particles
D302 smaller than Dx
Cc
(D60D10 )
100

80
% Finer

60

40

20

0
0.0001 0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10 100
Particle size (mm)
Example
100

80
% Finer

60

40

20

0
0.0001 0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10 100
Particle size (mm)

%fines (% finer than 75 mm) = 11% - Dual symbols required


Example
100

80
% Finer

60

40

20

0
0.0001 0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10 100
Particle size (mm)

%fines (% finer than 75 mm) = 11% - Dual symbols required


D10 = 0.06 mm, D30 = 0.25 mm, D60 = 0.75 mm
Unified Soil Classification
To determine W or P, calculate Cu and Cc
D60
Cu
D10

D302
Cc
(D60D10 )

If prefix is G then suffix is W if Cu > 4 and Cc is between 1


and 3 otherwise use P

If prefix is S then suffix is W if Cu > 6 and Cc is between 1


and 3 otherwise use P
Grading curves
100

80
% Finer

60

40

20

0
0.0001 0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10 100
Particle size (mm)
W Well graded
Grading curves
100

80
% Finer

60

40

20

0
0.0001 0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10 100
Particle size (mm)
W Well graded
U Uniform
Grading curves
100

80
% Finer

60

40

20

0
0.0001 0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10 100
Particle size (mm)
W Well graded
U Uniform
P Poorly graded
Grading curves
100

80
% Finer

60

40

20

0
0.0001 0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10 100
Particle size (mm)
W Well graded
U Uniform
P Poorly graded
C Well graded with some clay
Grading curves
100

80
% Finer

60

40

20

0
0.0001 0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10 100
Particle size (mm)
W Well graded
U Uniform
P Poorly graded
C Well graded with some clay
F Well graded with an excess of fines
Plasticity Chart
L H
The A-line generally
separates the more
claylike materials
from silty materials,
PI
and the organics
from the inorganics.
The U-line indicates
the upper bound for
general soils.

Note: If the measured


limits of soils are on
the left of U-line,
LL they should be
rechecked.
(Holtz and Kovacs, 1981)
Procedures for Classification
Coarse-grained
material
Grain size
distribution

Fine-grained
material
LL, PI

Highly

(Santamarina et al., 2001)


Example

Passing No.200 sieve 30 %


Passing No.4 sieve 70 %

LL= 33
PI= 12
Passing No.200 sieve 30 % LL= 33
Example Passing No.4 sieve 70 % PI= 12

Passing No.200 sieve 30 %

Passing No.4 sieve 70 %

LL= 33
PI= 12
PI= 0.73(LL-20), A-line
PI=0.73(33-20)=9.49
SC
(15% gravel)
Clayey sand with Highly
gravel
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(Santamarina et al., 2001)
Organic Soils
Highly organic soils- Peat (Group symbol PT)
A sample composed primarily of vegetable tissue in various
stages of decomposition and has a fibrous to amorphous
texture, a dark-brown to black color, and an organic odor
should be designated as a highly organic soil and shall be
classified as peat, PT.

Organic clay or silt( group symbol OL or OH):


The soils liquid limit (LL) after oven drying is less than 75 % of
its liquid limit before oven drying. If the above statement is
true, then the first symbol is O.
The second symbol is obtained by locating the values of PI and
LL (not oven dried) in the plasticity chart.

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