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Problem 2.6: The following date were obtained from a liquid-limit test on a silt clay.

No.of Blows Water Content %

35 41.1
29 41.8
21 43.5
15 44.9
Two plastic-limit determinations had water contents of 23.1% & 23.6%. Determine
the LL, PI, the flow index. And the toughness index. The low index is the slope of the
water content versus log of number of blows in the liquid limit test, and the
toughness index is the PI divided by the flow index.

Water Content Vs Log of No. of Blows

f(x) = -4.59 ln(x) + 57.36
44 43.5

Water Content 41.8


10 100

No. of Blows

Water content form two plastic limit determinations have been given as 23.1% &
23.6%. Takink the average of this two, we get, WC= (23.1+23.6)/2= 23.35, which is
our PL.
From the graph, plotted above, the water content for 25 no. of blows, has been
obtained as 42.6, taking 43, as the whole number. So, LL=43.
The plasticity index thus, PI= LL-PL=43-23.35=19.65%
The slope from the above graph can be calculated as= (W2-W1)/log (N1/N2) =
So, the flow index = 10.327
& the toughness index = PI/the flow index=19.65/10.327=1.90
2.61. Classify the following soils according to the USCS:
a) A sample of wellgraded gravel with sand has 73% fine to coarse
subangular gravel, 25% fine to
coarse subangular sand, and 2% fines. The maximum size of the particles
is 75 mm. The
coefficient of curvature is 2.7, while the uniformity coefficient is 12.4.
Answer: Here we are given with:
A sample of well graded gravel with sand = 73%; Fine to coarse subangular sand=
25%; Fines= 2%; Maximum particle size=75mm; The coefficient of curvature
(Cc)=2.7; The uniformity Coefficient(Cu)=12.4.
Now, since more than 50 %,(73%+25%) retained on the no.200 sieve, this is the
coarse grained soils, as per the ASTM D2487-06.
From the flowchart of classifying coarse grained soil, then it can be termed as
gravel, as %gravel, 73%> % sand, 25%. Then since we get <5% fines, and Cu>=4
and 1<=Cc<=3, it falls in the GW (Well graded gravel) category. Now, again, since,
we got 25% sand which is greater than 15%, so finally, we can term the soil sample
as Well Graded Gravel With Sand (GW).
b) A dark brown, wet, organicodor soil has 100% passing the No. 200
sieve. The liquid limit is 32%
(not dried, and is 21% when oven dried!) and the plastic index is 21% (not
Answer: Here we are given with:
A dark, brown. wet, organic-odor soil, having LL=32% (21%, when dried) & PI=21%
Now, 100% passing through NNo. 200 sieve, so it will be fine grained soil.
Since our LL is less than 50%, from the chart of classifying fine grained soil from
ASTM D2487-06, for organic soil, we check as, LL-Oven dried/LL-not dried=
21/32=.65<.75. So then from the figure for classifying organic fine grained soil (1b),
we got it as organic low plasticity silt or clay OL.
Now, PI>=4 and from plasticity chart, the point obtained is above A line. Now, since
100% passing through no. 200 and 0% retained, which is less than both 30% &
15%, thus our soil sample is Organic Clay (OL)
c) This sand has 61% predominately fine sand, 23% silty fines, and 16%
fine subrounded gravel
size. The maximum size is 20 mm. The liquid limit is 33% and the plastic
limit is 27%.

Answer: Here we are given with:

Fine sand=61%; Fines (silty)=23%; Gravels=16%; the maximum size is 20mm;
LL=33% & PL=27%
Since it has 61%+16%, coarse materials in total> 50%, from the flowchart of
classifying coarse grained soil, then it can be termed as sand, as %sand, 61%> %
gravel, 16%. Now, since the fines are >12%, and from the Plasticity chart, putting
LL & PI values, the region obtained as the ML or OL. But, it is said that, the fines are
silty, so we take it as ML & it has gravel > 15%, so it will be Silty Sand With
Gravel (SM).
d) This material has 74% fine to coarse subangular reddish sand and 26%
organic and silty dark
brown fines. The liquid limit (not dried) is 37% while it is 26% when oven
dried. The plastic index
(not dried) is 6.
Answer: Here we are given with:
Reddish sand (Coarse particle)= 74%; Organic & silty dark, brown fines=26%.
LL=37% & 26% (when oven dried); PI=6.
Since it has <50% fines, from the flowchart of classifying coarse grained soil, it can
be termed as sand, as %sand, 74%> % gravel, 0%. Now, we have fines> 12%. And
from the plasticity chart using LL & PI, we get the region ML or OL. So, it is
mentioned that, the sample is silty and it has <15% gravel. So, the sample is Silty
Sand (SM), where, the fine is Organic.
e) Although this soil has only 6% nonplastic silty fines, it has everything
else! It has gravel content
of 78% fine to coarse subrounded to subangular gravel, and 16% fine to
coarse subrounded to
subangular sand. The maximum size of the subrounded boulders is 500
mm. The uniformity
coefficient is 40, while the coefficient of curvature is only 0.8. (After U.S.
Dept. of the Interior,
Answer: Here we are given with:
Silty fines=6%; gravel=78%, sand=16%; the maximum size of boulders=500mm;
Cu=40; Cc=0.8.
Since it has <50% fines, from the flowchart of classifying coarse grained soil, it can
be termed as gravel, as %gravel, 78%> % sand, 16%. Now, since it has fines in
between 5-12%, and 1>Cc, and fines are silty, having gravel > 15%, the soil
sample is Poorly Graded Gravel with Silt & Sand (GP-GM).