How To Calculate A Compaction Test Report

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This is a continuation of the previous article I posted How to do a compaction test or In-situ density test, about how to calculate a compaction test report. Here we are going to compute the bulk density of sand down to the degree of compaction of soil.

I would really want to pursue this article just to completely show the full process of getting the results of the test from taking the samples into calculations. So every site engineer, project engineer, consultant, inspector, as well as engineering student should know how it is done. This would be a guide and help them learn the procedures.

Here are the steps on how to calculate a compaction test or In-situ density test report.

You may watch the video here.

1. Compute the Bulk Density of Sand (the starting point ton how to calculate a compaction test)

The calculation of bulk density of sand shall be made in the laboratory before moving on to the site. Here are the values tabulated below.

Values taken from the laboratory
V0.00785 m³Volume of calibrating container
M117,050 gmMass of the sand before pouring in the container
M23,425 gmMean value of mass of the sand in cone
M32,192 gmMean value of mass of the sand retained in the pouring cylinder
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Then calculate the Ms, mass of sand to fill the container. From the formula in the article linked above.

Ms = 17, 050 – 3, 420 – 2, 192

Therefore, Ms = 11, 438 gm.

Bulk density of sand, ρs = 11, 438 gm/ 0.00785 m³

Therefore, ρs = 1, 457. 07 Kgm/m³.



2. Calculate the Bulk Density of Soil

After getting all the values from the actual compaction test done on site. Let us go directly to the calculations because what we are really concerned about here is “how to get the degree of compaction?” and how it is computed? So if you have with you right now the test report from the third-party laboratory, you might try to use the solutions we’ve done here in order for you to know how the test report is computed.

Below is the parameter for the calculation of bulk density of soil which was obtained from the actual compaction test on site. From Item 5 on “How to do a compaction test or In-situ density test” the excavated soil from the hole shall place into a clean container or plastic container. It will be weighted as mass of the soil excavated (Me).

Values taken on site
Me10, 345 gmMass of the soil excavated
M117, 050 gmMass of sand before pouring into the hole
M23, 425 gmMass of sand in cone (mean value)
M45, 155 gmMass of sand after pouring into the hole (mean value)
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Mf = 17, 050 – 3, 425 – 5, 155

Therefore, Mf = 8, 470 gm

Bulk density of soil, ρso = (10, 345 gm /8, 470 gm) x 1. 45 mg/m³ = 1.78 Mg/m³

3. Calculation of Moisture Content.

Below is the laboratory test of the same sample taken from the site.

Wc = 177.5 gm.  – Mass of container in gm.

W1 = 1,045.7 gm. – Mass container and moist specimen in gm.

W2 = 975.6 gm. – Mass of container and oven-dried specimen in gm.

Mass of the water

Ww = W1 – W2 = 1, 045.7 – 975.6 = 70.1 gm.

Mass of the Solid particle

Ws = W2 – Wc = 975.6 – 177.5 = 798.1 gm.

Moisture Content

MC = (Ww/Ws) x 100 = (70.1/798.1) x 100

Therefore, MC = 8.78 %


4. Calculate the Dry Density of Soil

After getting the result of moisture content you can now calculate the ρd from the formula written in “How to do a compaction test or In-situ density test.”

ρd = (100 x 1.78)/(100 + 8.78)

Therefore, ρd = 1. 64 Mg/m³


5. Calculate the Degree of Compaction

The degree of compaction is the basis and or the final acceptance once it is passed. The specification commonly says “The degree of compaction shall be not less than 95 percent of maximum dry density (MDD).”

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Please note that you have to take first a sample soil where you are going to do a compaction test and test it for Proctor test where you will get the maximum dry density or MDD that will use in the calculation of the Degree of Compaction.

The MDD, for instance, to be used in this calculation is 1.7 Mg/m³, but MDD may vary depending on the type of your soil. Below is the calculation of the degree of compaction.

DOC = (1.64/ 1.7) x 100


Degree  of compaction, DOC = 96.5 %

The compaction test is passed and satisfactory because 96.5 percent is higher than the limit of 95 percent. The succeeding activity can now proceed.

Did you follow the above computation on how to calculate a compaction test report? If you do, please write your comment below.

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Thank you!

What is Bulk Density?

As the ratio of mass of soil to the total volume of water.

What the moisture content?

It is moisture content of the soil sample at which maximum dry unit weight is obtained.

What maximum dry density or MDD?

The dry density obtained by the compaction of soil at its optimum moisture contetn.

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