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What Soil Tests Are Required For Road Construction

Soil testing is one of the essential parts of a road construction project. Still, many asphalt contractors avoid or overlook it to save themselves the hassle of running multiple testing techniques under the sun to ensure they understand the soil profile. Eventually, this results in poor subgrade preparation, causing the whole surface to be of low quality.

Therefore, experts advise to carry out soil tests before a road construction project to ensure the constructed road is strong enough to bear the heavy weight of vehicles. Moreover, it also ensures that environmental and climatic changes do not damage the road’s foundational structure.

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Now that you know soil tests are crucial for road construction, here’s what it includes.

  • Analysis of soil quality and nature
  • Analysis of strength of subgrade level
  • Moisture content determination
  • Soil compaction characteristic
  • Liquid and plastic limit tests
  • Particle size distribution
  • Specific gravity tests.

You can either perform soil tests in the laboratory or on-site. Following are the top four types of soil tests done prior to starting a road construction project.

1. Moisture Content Test

In this test, the soil’s water is analyzed and represented as a percentage of dry mass. Whether the ratio is high or low gives you an idea about the soil’s bearing capacity and the probable settlement it will need during the construction process. Moreover, this also indicates the natural elements present in the soil you can use to benefit.

2. Specific Gravity Test

This test is conducted to determine the various soil properties such as degree of saturation, void ration, and many more. Furthermore, it calculates the volume of soil in the air at a standard temperature to the same volume of distilled water at the same temperature. This way, you’d know the soil’s gravity being used in your construction project and if it suits your construction requirements.

3. Particle Size Distribution

From huge stones to small pebbles, the soil contains particles of all sizes, forms, and shapes. However, there is one ideal particle size that you need to meet for road construction. Here, the particle size distribution test helps determine the extent of soil particles and predicts soil water movement once the road is completed.

4. Compaction Test

The compaction test is also known as the proctor test, where the mass of dry soil per cubic meter is determined when the soil is compacted on a small surface. This test provides the maximum dry density at the optimum level to ensure the tester knows how much soil can be compressed.

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