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    Published: Jan 2011

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    A. PURPOSE AND SCOPE OF THIS MANUAL This manual has been prepared to provide guidance to design and construction engineers, technicians, and earthwork construction personnel on the use of ASTM Standard Test Methods for testing compaction of earth fills and other earthwork. The manual includes a discussion of the types of fills in which compaction is used and the theoretical background of compaction. In addition to the theoretical use of ASTM Standard Test Methods, this manual also includes discussion on the overall purpose of compacting fills and the potential negative effects on the engineering properties of compacted materials caused by the improper application of compaction test methods. It is important for engineers and other technical professionals involved in the placement and testing of fills to understand that ASTM Standard Test Methods have been developed to determine the compaction characteristics of soil and soil/rock materials and establish reference values for density and water content. These reference values are used to determine the density for preparing soil specimens for engineering property tests in the laboratory or to compare with field test results for checking the compaction of earth fills. ASTM Standard Test Methods are also used to establish values for the unit weight or density and the water content of in-place soils, including foundation subgrades, borrow areas, and embankment fills. The test results can be used independently for making judgments on soil properties and characteristics or jointly to make comparisons for the proper control of water content and percent compaction of soil during construction. This manual was developed to provide a summary of the important items that every experienced earthwork engineer and technician should know and understand to successfully complete an earthfill construction project. It also represents a summary of the skills and terminology that the authors of this manual would want new engineers and technicians to understand and appreciate to obtain quality earthwork construction. Earthfill construction and compaction testing is simple and complex, depending on the nature of the conditions encountered. The most important lesson that can be learned for any professional engineer involved in the placement and compaction of fill material is that soil and rock frequently provide situations that cannot be reliably predicted using solely technical methods. Nonhomogeneous site and soil conditions are frequently the rule instead of the exception when dealing with compacted fills. As frequently described by the early practitioners of soil mechanics, the constantly changing nature of soil and rock continually places engineers and technicians involved with earthwork construction at the “borderline between science and art.”

    Committee/Subcommittee: D18.01

    DOI: 10.1520/MNL12161M