Soil Field Tests for Construction (Geotechnical Investigation)

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This article is about Soil Field Tests for Construction. These Soil Field Tests are really important and really practical to do before working on road works. These methods are practical and extremely low cost. It will give you the data about the condition of the soil very soon.

Soil Field Tests are done because not every soil suitable for construction. Some kind of soils are not suitable for construction. As Civil Engineer, we have to be careful and selective in choosing and identifying the right soils for road works. Soil that has 95 percent sand in it will not cohere. So much Clay makes the road soil not stable and dangerous for the construction. Especially when it rains and dries so quickly. So if we want to start road works, it is better to do some soil field tests.

Soil Field Tests which we can do before the execution of the works are :

1. How to Determine Sand Percentage by Soil Field Tests ?

Take a sample of dry soil and measure the weight. Put the sample in a cup then fill the cup with water. Shake the cup and pour out the clay step by step until there is no more clay left. Dry the sand left in the cup and measure the weight. Calculate the percentage of the left Sand in the cup. The rest percentage determine the Clay and Silt percentage.

2. How to Determine Clay and Silt Proportion using Soil Field Tests ?

Silt is bigger in weight than Clay. This means that if you put soil sample to a cup of water, the Silt will settle faster than the Clay. This will give you information whether the soils is silt or clay dominant. The sample you can get from the first of the Soil Field Tests above.

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3. How to Determine Clay Quality by Soil Field Tests ?

Clay is really unstable when it is wet. Clay will be really hard when it is dry. One of extreme Clay you can see is Montmorillonite. Basically, it is dangerous to have pure clay for construction. It is really not stable. But you can do one test to check about the Clay Quality.

You have to make several soil balls with same sizes. Each ball represents the soil type. Put the balls into the water. The soil balls which stay solid in longer time is simply the best quality clay. We can use this as the best material available. Please note that when doing this test, you have to consider the sand percentage. The percentage of which should be equal and not more than 25 percent.

4. How to Determine Good Sand by Soil Field Tests ?

Put the sand sample inside a cup which contains water. Shake the cup and pour out the water from the cup smoothly. The good sand will remain in the cup. The remaining sand in the cup is simply good sand.

Soil Field Tests - Geotechnical Investigation

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