5 Must-Have Soil Tests in a Construction Site


Many people think of it this way: You buy any piece of land, and as soon as you can afford it, you start building. What they do not realize is that the properties of the soil in that specific land will be important. They determine the kind of foundation you have on your building. Regardless of the structure, the construction engineer must see a soil test report before beginning any type of work.

Therefore, it is wise to have a soil test when looking for a land for sale in Point Cook. You have to make sure that you purchase a piece of land that is suitable for what you want to build after all. The soil is so crucial that an improper test can cause a building to lean or to collapse, either after time or when a calamity strikes. The types of tests that are carried out in this process include:

Test for the moisture content

technician testing at the labThis test is usually done in a lab. The technician carries a sample of the soil from the land and tests the amount of moisture in it using the pycnometer method, oven drying, torsion balance, or using calcium carbide. Oven drying is used commonly because of its accuracy. The soil is weighed before putting it in the oven at 110 degrees Celsius for a day and later. The difference in the weight is the amount of water that was in the soil.

Gravity test

There is a ratio called specific gravity that measures the amount of water versus the solids in the soil. It can be determined using the shrinkage limit or the density bottle procedure. Although there are other ways, the most common is the one using a density bottle.

The dry density procedure

The amount of soil particles in a certain volume of soil is called dry density. It is a ratio of the specific gravity and the void ratio of the soil. There are two major methods used for this test.

  • In a core cutter procedure, specific dimensions of the soil are cut from the ground, weighed, and marked. The water in that soil is measured and the density is found using a set formula.
  • In a sand replacement procedure, the soil is excavated from the ground and the hole is left covered with soil of a known density.

Dry density is the value you get when you divide mass (of the replacement sand) and the hole’s volume.

Atterberg limits procedure

There are three limits, according to Atterberg, that show soil properties in different conditions. They are the shrinkage, plastic, and liquid limit. To test for the liquid limit, there is a device you can use with a cup and a mechanism to move it. You fill the cup with the sample and move it until a groove closes. The blows necessary to close the groove is used to calculate the liquid limit.

Proctor’s compaction

This test determines how soil compacts. It is about reducing the voids in it, and it is a function of the soil’s dry density and moisture content.

When sampling, you must always be keen to take samples properly. The sample needs to be a good representative if you want the results to be reliable. It is also advisable to run more than one experiment for each test.

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