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ASTM Selected Technical Papers
Evaluation of Relative Density and its Role in Geotechnical Projects Involving Cohesionless Soils
By
ET Selig
ET Selig
1
Associate Professor
Department of Civil Engineering
State University of New York at Buffalo
?
Buffalo, N. Y.
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RS Ladd
RS Ladd
2
Laboratory Director
?
Woodward-Moorhouse & Associates, Inc.
?
Clifton, N. J.
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ISBN-10:
0-8031-0081-7
ISBN:
978-0-8031-0081-7
No. of Pages:
516
Publisher:
ASTM International
Publication date:
1973

Limitations of several, shallow and deep, direct and indirect methods to obtain relative densities are discussed, and opinions are given concerning the use of these methods for construction control purposes. Experience from two earthwork projects are given for: (1) direct methods—conventional sand cone and water balloon, cutting cylinder, manually excavated pit, and Denison sampler; and (2) indirect methods—nuclear, standard plate load test, standard penetration test, and static cone penetration test. Some of these methods proved satisfactory as a means of obtaining relative densities, others did not. The water-balloon method was found more suitable than the sand-cone method. Reference curves were effective in some cases. Use of 6-in.diameter cutting cylinders to obtain field dry unit weights was found unsatisfactory for sand containing gravel. Relative densities obtained from measurements of individual layers from a manually excavated pit were found to be greater than those obtained from the water-balloon method. Dry unit weights obtained from Denison samples gave reasonable relative density values. Relative densities from nuclear methods are only approximate. Use of the standard plate load test to obtain relative densities was not successful. High standard penetration resistances resulting from residual lateral stresses were obtained in sand fill compacted in layers by vibratory compactors and lead to very high inferred relative densities. Static cone penetration resistances give qualitative measures of relative density of completed earthwork and are useful in evaluating uniformity of compaction.

1.
Earth Manual
,
U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation
,
Washington
,
1968
.
2.
D'Appolonia
,
D. J.
,
Whitman
,
R. V.
and
D'Appolonia
,
E.
, “
Sand Compaction with Vibratory Rollers
Journal of Soil Mechanics and Foundations
, Vol.
95
, SM1,
01
1969
.
3.
Terzaghi
,
K.
and
Peck
,
R. B.
in
Soil Mechanics in Engineering Practice
, 1st ed.,
1948
and 2nd ed.,
1967
,
Wiley
,
New York
.
4.
Gibbs
,
H. J.
and
Holtz
,
W. G.
, “
Research on Determining the Density of Sands by Spoon Penetration Testing
,”
Fourth International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering
, Vol.
1
,
London
1957
, p. 35.
5.
Bazaraa
,
A. R. S. S.
, “
Use of the Standard Penetration Test for Estimating Settlements of Shallow Foundations on Sand
”, PhD thesis,
University of Illinois
, Urbana, Ill.,
1967
.
6.
Schultze
,
E.
and
Muhs
,
H.
,
Bodenuntersuchungen für Ingenieurbauten
, 2nd ed.,
Springer
,
1967
.
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