Compaction Testing of Granular Materials

The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) and many other state departments of transportation (DOT’s) have used the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Typical Moisture Density Curves for the compaction of granular soil materials. However, the ODOT Materials Manual states “Moisture-Density proctor curves and controls were originally developed to be used on cohesive (clays and silts) soils. Errors or complications arise when trying to extrapolate these principals to granular materials.” Therefore, additional information is needed by the SDDOT in assessing compaction of these materials. SDDOT is also using more materials recycled from portland cement concrete (PCC) pavements and asphalt concrete pavements as subbase and base courses. Recycled materials are placed using the test strip method to determine how much effort is needed to achieve acceptable levels of compaction. Test strips work well for large areas but become problematic for small areas. SDDOT has identified a need to reevaluate how they determine whether granular material has been compacted to the desired density. Most compaction testing has been performed using the nuclear gauge or sand cone methods, and the in-place density standard is determined by either the use of a test strip or a moisture density relation curve (Proctor). Some DOTs have started using newer methods such as the lightweight deflectometer (LWD), dynamic cone penetrometer (DCP), proof rolling and the use of intelligent compaction. The SDDOT wishes to examine how other DOTs determine the in-place density of granular materials. The SDDOT also wishes to determine whether the current Ohio curves are adequate for their needs or should be updated and whether the SDDOT needs to use different test methods to ensure adequate compaction.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $65000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Mountain-Plains Consortium

    North Dakota State University
    Fargo, ND  United States  58108
  • Project Managers:

    Tolliver, Denver

  • Performing Organizations:

    Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

    South Dakota State University
    Brookings, SD  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Jones, Allen

  • Start Date: 20150819
  • Expected Completion Date: 20190930
  • Actual Completion Date: 20210710
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program
  • Source Data: MPC-497

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01579917
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Mountain-Plains Consortium
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC38
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Oct 27 2015 5:12PM