Steel-shot method for measuring the density of soils
Gartrell, Chad A.; Wakeley, Lillian D.; Freeman, Reed B.; Berney, Ernest S.; Kelley, Julie R.
Abstract: The density of soil is crucial in engineering, construction, and research. Standard methods to determine density use procedures, equipment, or expendable materials that limit their effectiveness in challenging field conditions. Some methods require burdensome logistics, or have time requirements that limit their use or the number of tests that can be executed. A test method, similar to the sand-cone method, was developed that uses steel shot as the material to which a volume of soil is compared to calculate soil density. Steel shot is easily recovered and reused, eliminating the need for specialty sand and calibrated cones or containers, and allows rapid determination of the volume of displaced soil. Excavated soil also provides measurements of total mass and moisture content. Volume, mass, and moisture content are applied in simple calculations to determine wet and dry densities and unit weight of the soil. Proficiency in performing the test can be achieved with minimal training, and the required kit can be assembled for a reasonable cost. Field uses of the method in dry environments in a variety of soil types demonstrated that the method can produce repeatable results within 2 percent of the values of soil density determined by traditional methods, with advantages in logistics.
Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory (U.S.)
Technical note (Geo-environmental Tactical Sensor Simulation Program (U.S.)) ; 11-2.