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- capable of absorbing large amounts of water if LL and


LI is relatively high
- related to soil strength

- simple measures of the water absorbing ability of soils


containing clay minerals

The Liquid Limit (LL) - This is the minimum water content at which
the soil will flow under a small disturbing force

The Plastic Limit (PL) - This is the minimum water content at which
the soil will deform plastically

The Shrinkage Limit (SL) - This is the moisture content the soil
would have had if it were fully saturated at the point at which no
further shrinkage occurs on drying.

Atterbergs Limits (Soil Consistency Measures)


Border line water contents, separating the different states of a fine
grained soil

brittlesolid

Shrinkage
limit

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semisolid

Plastic
limit

plastic

Liquid
limit

liquid

water content

Border line water contents, separating


the different states of a fine grained soil

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At w<SL, no volume reduction on drying

Shrinkage Limit (wS or SL):

Lowest water content where the clay is still plastic

Plastic Limit (wP or PL):

Clay flows like liquid when w > LL

Liquid Limit (wL or LL):

Shrinkage
limit

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Plastic
limit

plastic

PI

Liquid
limit

water content

LL  PL

Plasticity Index = Liquid Limit Plastic Limit

Range of water content over which the soil


remains plastic

Plasticity Index (PI)

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LI

w  PL
LL  PL

For scaling the natural water content of a soil sample


to the limits.

LiquidityIndex LI

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40

60

20

20

Low
plasticity

30

Liquid Limit

50

Clays

Silts

)
ne -20
i
L L
A- 3(L
.7
0
=
PI

High
plasticity

Intermediate plasticity

Purely based on LL and PI

Classifying Fines

Plasticity
Index

100

30

35

40

45

50

55

60

10

48

30

40

60

(mm)

50

70

80

BEST-FIT STRAIGHT LINE

90

100

1.Find the liquid limit


2. Compute the plastic limit
3.Determine the plasticity index

Wt. of wet soil + container = 22.12 gms


Wt. of dry soil + container = 20.42 gms
Wt. of container
= 13.07 gms

while in a plastic limit test the foll.data


were obtained:

PENETRATION OF CONE

20

Example
In a liquid limit test using Fall cone
apparatus, the following readings were
recorded.
Sample Water content Penetration of
cone
1
40%
12 mm
2
45
16
3
50
21
4
58
35

MOISTURE CONTENT (%)

30

35

40

45

50

55

60

10

43

20

30

40

NUMBER OF BLOWS

25

50

60

70

80

90

100

1. Find the liquid limit


2. Compute the plasticity index
3. Solve for the liquidity index
if natural water content is 38%.

While in a plastic limit test the foll. values


were observed:
Wt. of wet soil + container = 21.19 gms
Wt. of dry soil + container = 18.78 gms
Wt. of the container
= 8.20 gms

BEST-FIT STRAIGHT LINE

Example
In a liquid limit test using cup
apparatus, the foll. data were taken:
Sample Water content
No. of
Blows
A
41.8%
39
B
43.5
23
C
44.3
20
D
45.5
13

MOISTURE CONTENT (%)

d) 21.6

d) 32.2%

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3. Compute the liquidity index if the water content in place is 26.5%


a) 0.877
b) 0.963
c) 0.625
d) 0.741

c) 14.7

2. Find the plasticity index


a) 11.3
b) 16.3

27.0

28
c) 31.8%

33.1

20

1. Determine the liquid limit


a) 28.5%
b) 30.1%

36.5

Moisture content %

16

No of blows N

Example. Following are the results from the liquid limit test for soil
sample. Plastic limit = 12.2%

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28.5
27

33.1

36.5

16
20
28

16

36.5
33.1
27.0

25

28

BEST-FIT STRAIGHT LINE

28.5 12.2
= 0.877

LI =

26.5 12.2

= 16.3

PI = 28.5 12.2

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28.5 12.2
= 0.877

LI =

26.5 12.2

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