SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1973

Some Testing Experiences and Characteristics of Boulder-Gravel Fill in Earth Dams


This paper comprises a series of experiences and characteristics of boulder-gravel fill used in earth dams, particularly that in the large Mangla and Tarbela Dams of West Pakistan. The paper includes details of both field and laboratory testing. On the former subject, the paper discusses the choice of minimum sample weight, repeatability of gradation results, and the plastic sheet errors in the fill in situ density test by the water replacement method. In the case of the laboratory maximum density test, the effects of such variables as apparatus and procedures are discussed and examples given. It was concluded that a variety of apparatus can give essentially the same test results. The uses and limitations of the Humphres Laboratory Test Procedure are also discussed. On the Mangla Dam Project, a correlation was established between gradation and laboratory density, and this is described together with an investigation of its application to other dam sites. The problem of the relationship between the fill prototype grading and the laboratory model grading is discussed, and various solutions, such as oversize corrections, extrapolation, and modeling, together with examples, are given. The paper concludes with some comments on fill density control and results.

Author Information

Frost, RJ
Binnie and Partners, High Island West Dam, Hong Kong
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 207–233
DOI: 10.1520/STP37875S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5534-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0081-7