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Areas, Volumes and

Mass Haul Diagrams

Introduction
In Civil Engineering works, areas and volumes
determination finds very wide applications. Area
determination is required for: long bridges, dams, reservoirs, etc., the area of
catchments of rivers is required

Volume Determination is also required in: Earthworks that involves excavation and removal and
dumping
of earth and balancing of cut and fill
Determination of the capacity of bins, tanks, and reservoirs,
and
In checking the stockpiles of coal, gravel, and other material

Introductioncontd
Determination of such parameter varies widely
depending upon the terrain, instruments present
together with many other factors.
Therefore different techniques are involved in their
determination.
This section involves the study of techniques
involved in areas and volumes determination
together with the applications in development of
Mass Haul Diagrams ( to be explained later)

Areas
Area determination can de determined through
different techniques depending upon the shape of
the boundary of the tract and
accuracy required.
The area of a tract of land is determined from its
plan that may be enclosed by straight, irregular or
combination of straight and irregular boundaries.

Areas determination-Straight
boundaries
First approach-Mathematical Equations
Subdividing the figure into standard shapes like triangle,
trapezium, semi-circle, rectangle etc.
Then determining the area of such standard shapes
using known expressions like formula for area of triangle
etc.

Mathematical equations Examples

Cont..
Triangular equation
i) Area = [S(S-a)(S-b)(S-c)]
where; S = (a+b+c)

Rectangular equation
i)

Area = a x b

Trapezium equation
i)

Area = (a + b) x h
b

B
b

c
A

= (b x h)
B

h
A

a
c0

Second approach- Use of Coordinates

Assigning a co-ordinate to each vertex of the figure
and then determining the area using appropriate
formula
The co-ordinates can be in either measured
distances from a reference line or as Eastings and
Northings.

Area deter.
Co-ordinate method

Areas determination- Irregular

boundaries
Irregular boundaries can be replaced with straight
boundaries using give and take lines, and then
calculated using either of straight boundary
techniques.

Planimeter method (a mechanical method).

This is a mechanical instrument used for determination
of areas of a plan.

Irregular
A polar planimeter

Irregular
Approximate method/ Calculation
Such approximate methods are either
Trapezoidal rule or
The total area = d/2 x [(O1 + O7 + 2 (O2 + O3 + O4 + O5+O6)]

Simpsons rule.
The total area = d / 3 [O1 + O7 + 4 (O2 + O4 + O6) + 2 (O3 + O5)]

Examples-Straight boundaries
Co-ordinate method
Example
Determine the area enclosed by the figure ABCD given
the co-ordinates as shown below:

Co-ordinate
Eastings and northings
Find the area of the following traversed piece of
land

Example-Irregular boundaries
Approximate methods
A tract of land has three straight boundaries AB, BC, and
CD. The fourth boundary DA is irregular. Measured
lengths are as shown. Determine the area.

Cross section and Volumes

To understand the cross section of the roads, it is
important to understand the process involved in
route alignment.
We will discuss the highlights of route alignment
process in the next section before going into
determination of areas of cross section

Cross-section development
process

CS
5

CS
1

CS
2

CS
3

CS
4

CS
6

CS
7

CS
8

Cross-section development
process- Contd
An accurate plan (say a topographical map) on which a
proposed route is to be designed is produced.
A centreline of the route is then defined as a set of
rectangular co-ordinates at each interval of say 10m to
30m.
Ground levels are obtained along the centreline and at
right angles of the centreline
The levels at centreline are the ground levels

In the design process, a formation level is determined

and added to the existing ground levels. This
determines the areas of cut or fill

Cross-section development
process- Contd

Cross-section development
process- Contd
a cross section at decided intervals along the
centreline.
The cross sections at each interval is then
determined and necessary calculations can be
done.

Possible Cross-Sections

Area calculation
Area calculation depend on the type of crosssection under considerations
The types considered are

Level cross section

Two level cross-section
Three level cross section
Part cut part fill cross section
Multi-level cross section

Level Cross Section

Level Cross section
Area = h(b + nh)

Two level Section

Area = b/4(h1 + h2) + (w1 +w2)*h/2

Three Level Section

The same formula as two level section is used. The slope
of the terrain varies.
Area = b/4(h1 + h2) + (w1 +w2)*h/2

Co-ordinate method
Area determination through co-ordinate method
can be applied to and cross-section regardless of
the shape of the section.
The co-ordinates for different points are given in
form of elevation/level and offset from the center
line.

Examples in cross sections

Refer an extract from text book

Volume determination
Volume determination can be done through:
From Contours
From spot heights

Volume calculations from cross

sections
Methods applied;
Average areas
Vol. = {[A1 + A2 + A3 + A n+1 + An] / n} . L

Average end area method

Vol. = D/2 {(A1 + An) + 2(A2 + A3 + A n-1)}

Prismoidal method

Computational of volumes based on area of CROSS

SECTIONS
Example calculation
Calculate, using the prismoidal formula, the cubic contents of an embankment of which
the cross-sectional areas at 15m intervals are as follows :

Distance (m)
Area (m2)

0
11

15
42

30
64

45
72

60
160

75
180

90
220

A1

A2

A3

A4

A5

A6

A7

V = D/3 (A1 + A7 + 4( A2 + A4 + A6) + 2 ( A3 + A5)

=15 / 3 (11 + 220 + 4 ( 42 + 72 + 180 ) + 2( 64 + 160))
V = 5 ( 231 + 1176 + 448 )
V = 9275 m3

V = 9630 m3

Solution - End areas method

Vol. = D/2 {(A1 + An) + 2(A2 + A3 + A4 + A5 + A6 )}
V = 15/2 {(11 + 220)+ 2 (42 + 64 + 72 + 160 + 180) }
V = 9502.5 m3

Volume calculation based on CONTOUR LINES

The volume can be estimated by either end area method or prismoidal method. The distance
D is the contour interval, and for accuracy this should be as small as possible. If required,
the prismoidal formula can be used by treating alternate areas as mid area.

Example:
The areas within the underwater contour lines of a reservoir are as
follows:
Calculate the volume of water in the reservoir between 172 m and
184 m contours.

Contour (m)

184

182

180

178

176

174

172

Areas (m2)

3125

2454 1630

890

223

110

69

End area method;

Volume =
2/2 [3125+69 + 2(110 + 223 + 890 + 1630 + 2454)]
= 13808 m3

Volume from SPOT LEVELS

This method is useful in the determination of volumes of large open excavations for
tanks, basements, borrow pits, and for ground levelling operations such as playing fields and
building sites. Having located the outline of the sites, divide the area into squares or rectangles
or triangles. Marking the corner points and then determine the reduced level. By substracting
from the observed levels the corresponding formation levels, a series of heights can be found.
The volume per square = {[ha + hb + hc + hd] / 4} 1 x b
where;
ha, hb, hc and hd are the side spot height
l and b are the side dimensions

Volume from SPOT LEVELS Square method

Figure 1 shows a rectangular plot, which is to be
excavated to the given reduced level. Assuming
area is subdivided into square method, calculate
the volume of earth to be excavated ( Excavated
level = 10.00m )

25.5 m

A(16.54m)

B(17.25m)

D(16.32m)

E(12.95m)

G(16.17m)

H(15.84m)

Solution:
Station

Reduced
Level

F(15.55m)

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I

16.54
17.25
15.40
16.32
12.95
15.55
16.17
15.84
13.38

I(13.38m)

n
= 83.21
16

C(15.40m)

Excavated
Level

Depth Of
excavated
(hn)

10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
Total

6.54
7.25
5.40
6.32
2.95
5.55
6.17
5.84
3.38

No. Of
Rectangles
(n)

Product
( hn x n )

1
2
1
2
4
2
1
2
1
16

6.54
14.50
5.40
12.64
11.80
11.10
6.17
11.68
3.38
83.21

= 5.2 m

30.0 m

= 3978 m3

Volume from SPOT LEVELS Triangle method

Figure 1 shows a rectangular plot, which is to be
excavated to the given reduced level. Assuming
area is subdivided into triangle method, calculate
the volume of earth to be excavated ( Excavated
level = 10.00m )

25.5 m

A(16.54m)

B(17.25m)

D(16.32m)

E(12.95m)

G(16.17m)

H(15.84m)

Solution:
Station

Reduced
Level

F(15.55m)

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I

16.54
17.25
15.40
16.32
12.95
15.55
16.17
15.84
13.38

I(13.38m)

n
= 123.99
24

C(15.40m)

Excavated
Level

Depth Of
excavated
(hn)

No. Of
Rectangles
(n)

Product
( hn x n )

6.54
7.25
5.40
6.32
2.95
5.55
6.17
5.84
3.38

2
3
1
3
6
3
1
3
2
24

13.08
21.75
5.40
18.96
17.70
16.65
6.17
17.52
6.76
123.99

10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
Total

= 5.17 m

30.0 m

= 3955 m3

Mass Haul Diagrams

Are diagrammatic representation of earthwork
volumes along a linear profile
horizontal stationing is plotted along the X-axis
net earthwork values are plotted along the Y-axis
Uses
Mass-haul diagrams (MHD) are used to compare the
economy of various methods of earthwork distribution
on road or railway construction schemes.

MHD-Explanations on handout

Use of MHD
When combined with longitudinal profile MHD can
help us to find:
The distances over which cut and fill will balance.
Quantities of materials to be moved and the direction of
movement.
Areas where earth may have to be borrowed or wasted
and the amounts involved.
The best policy to adopt to obtain the most economic
use of plant.

Definitions
Haul

Refers to the volume of material multiplied by the distance moved,

expressed in station metres.

Station metre(stn m)

is 1 m3 of material moved 100 m

Freehaul Distance

Distance which the contractor has offered to haul the materials without
extra charge

Overhaul Distance

Distance beyond the freehaul.

Waste

is the material excavated from cuts but not used for embankment fills

Borrow

Is the material needed for the formation of embankments, secured not

from roadway excavation but from elsewhere

Definitions
Limit of Economic Haul
Limit of economical haul is the maximum overhaul
distance plus the free haul distance. When this limit is
reached it is more economical to waste and borrow
material.

Example

Freehaul distance = 500 m

Overhaul = 10 p per stn m (i.e. 10 p per m3 per 100m)
Borrow = 30 p per m3
Limit of economic haul:- Calculate

Mass Haul Diagrams

An Earthwork Profile is a plot of the net earthwork
Net cut values are plotted above the X-axis
(positive Y value)
Net fill values are plotted below the X-axis
(negative Y value)
Presents a picture of the earthwork requirements

Mass Haul Diagrams

A Mass Haul Diagram is a continuous curve
representing the cumulative volume of earthwork
along the linear profile of a roadway or airfield
the vertical coordinate is a plot of the cumulative
earthwork from the origin to that point

Mass Haul Diagrams

upward sloping curves (rising left to right) indicate
a cut
downward sloping (falling left to right) curves occur
in a fill section
peaks indicate a change from cut to fill and valleys
occur when the earthwork changes from fill to cut

Mass Haul Diagrams

The accumulated volume of earthwork at the
horizontal axis (Y=0) is 0
When a horizontal line intersects two or more
points along the curve, the accumulated volumes at
those points are equal
A negative value at the end of the curve indicates
that borrow is required to complete the fill
A positive value at the end of the curve indicates
that a waste operation will be the net result

To construct the Mass Haul

Diagram manually:
Compute the net earthwork values for each station,
applying the appropriate shrink factor
Net cuts have a positive value, net fills have a negative value
The value at the first station (origin) = 0

Plot the value of each succeeding station which equals the

cumulative value to that point, i.e., the value at i = net
cut/filla+b+c+i

To construct & analyze the Mass Haul

Diagram manually:
Identify the resulting balanced sections, which are
bounded by points that intersect the X-axis
Draw a horizontal line midway between the peak or
valley and the X-axis. The scale length of that line is
the average length of haul within that balanced
section
Determine earthwork volumes within each
balanced section
Determine whether there is an overall balance,
waste or if borrow is required

Worked Examples :MHD

Refer an extract from textbook