SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1960

Moisture and Strength Variation in a Thick, Uniform Clay Layer


The variation of moisture content, both horizontally and vertically, in individual specimens and in separate layers of a clay mass 105-ft thick is presented. Two hundred and thirty-eight soil specimens 2 in. in diameter by 4 in. high were tested in the laboratory. Four moisture determinations, two in the top half and two in the bottom half, were made on each soil specimen for a total of 952 moisture determinations. The moisture was of primary concern in this investigation, but as the samples were available, numerous other tests, such as grading analysis, Atterberg limits, triaxial and unconfined compression, were made. It is shown how much the moisture content does vary within a 4-in. high sample. There is no significant migration of moisture from bottom to top of sample during the time elapsed between sampling in the field and testing in the laboratory. The moisture content is higher in the bottom half just as often as it is higher in the top half of the 4-in. high test specimen. The shearing strength of the clay soil was determined by unconfined compression and quick undrained triaxial compression tests.

It is shown that the range of moisture content in a test specimen is much greater in the vertical direction than in the horizontal direction. There is no significant difference in the average strength-versus-moisture pattern, whether the moisture is the average of the strength test specimen or the highest of four moisture determinations made on the specimen.

Author Information

Weber, William, G.
California Division of Highways, Sacramento, Calif.
Kleiman, William, F.
California Division of Highways, Sacramento, Calif.
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 284–295
DOI: 10.1520/STP44326S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5952-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-6106-1