Heavy Equipment Articles

Know all about soil density and moisture and understand the need of compaction!

Construction is a huge industry and to complete a construction project, a number of factors have to be completed. Amongst them, soil compaction is one of the most important one. Before soil compaction is conducted, why it is done and how it is done, must be understood.

About soil compaction:

Soil compaction is a mechanical process in which weight is applied to the soil to increase its density. Soil usually contains air and water particles. Thus, when weight is applied on it, the air gaps are removed or reduced. Therefore, the soil becomes compacted and denser. The process only removes the air and does not have any significant impact on the water particles.

Importance of soil compaction:

The soil compaction technique is a mechanical one and it is very important in the construction field. In order to make a site suitable for construction, the site needs to be turned into a flat base. The flat construction base is mandatory for various construction requirements such as –

  • Buildings
  • Roads
  • Pavements.

With this compaction process, the soil becomes denser and thus, it gains more stability. The resistance power of the soil is also increased.

What happens without soil compaction?

If the soil is not compacted, there is always a chance that after the construction is complete, moisture will be absorbed and penetrated within the soil particles. Thus, the soil and the construction will start to encounter movement, resulting in damage and failure of the construction. Without proper and quality soil compaction –

  • Building walls may experience cracks and they might even fall down
  • As the roads and pavements start to encounter movement, the pipes beneath these construction sites will encounter holes, cracks and leaks.
  • Entire construction may collapse.

Types of soil compaction equipment:

Though a mechanical process, the technique of compaction differs, depending on the type of soil. There are two types of soils, cohesive and non-cohesive and both require different compaction methods. In order to yield proper compaction, right heavy construction equipment must be chosen. There are a number of soil compaction equipment types. The most popular ones are –

  • Smooth wheeled rollers
  • Sheepsfoot rollers
  • Grid rollers
  • Pneumatic tyred rollers
  • Trench tamper or power rammer
  • Vibrating plates.

The right soil density:

Whether the right soil density and moisture level is achieved or not is a factor that must be taken into consideration. For that a number of lab tests are done for the soil. These are proctor test, field test, sand cone test, soil modulus test and nuclear density test. All these tests can determine, whether the right soil density is achieved or not. These tests can also determine the impact of moisture on the soil density. Optimum moisture level can be identified with these tests through a moisture density curve.

If you want to compact the soil for a construction purpose, you must understand these factors in details and then choose the right equipment for compaction. This will ensure that the construction is done properly, with no worries of soil movement and moisture penetration.


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