SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1973

Difficulties in the Use of Relative Density as a Soil Parameter


The results of a comparative test program reported by Tavenas et al at this symposium have shown that the relative density determination is highly variable and nonreproducible. In this paper, the consequences of this fact are drawn.

Because of the high variability of relative density measurements, the comparison of the properties of different soils as investigated by different engineers will be impossible. For the same reason an engineer cannot make an efficient use of any published correlation between the relative density and the mechanical properties of sands since he will not be able to reproduce the same relative density. Finally, the relative density can be used as a compaction criterion only if the same engineer who has written the specification is also in charge of the compaction control.

Author Information

Tavenas, FA
Civil Engineering Department, Laval University, Quebec, Canada
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 478–483
DOI: 10.1520/STP37890S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5534-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0081-7