Cracking the Nuclear Code: Finding an Alternative to the Nuclear Density Gauge

by Ernest S. Berney, IV, P.E., Ph.D., (M.ASCE), Research Civil Engineer; Vicksburg, MS, ernest.s.berney.iv@usace.army.mil,
Mariely Mejias-Santiago, P.E., Research Civil Engineer; Vicksburg, MS, mariely.mejias@usace.army.mil,


Serial Information: Geo-Strata —Geo Institute of ASCE, 2016, Vol. 20, Issue 1, Pg. 40-46


Document Type: Feature article

Abstract:

Two of the most basic quality control tests made in the field during soil construction are the soil’s moisture content and density. The establishment of a uniform procedure to compare the performance of soil based on moisture and density began with E.E. Proctor in the early 1930s during highway construction in California. He found that, by simply measuring these two properties, he could determine if a soil was too dry, too wet, or too lose to perform at its peak capacity for load bearing. Later research showed that knowledge of just these two physical properties can provide further insight into the soil’s stability, strength, and fabric, allowing prediction of its future behavior under changes in load and environment. Even better, in practice, determining these two physical properties in the field has become of the simplest tests to conduct, thanks to one unique device: the nuclear density gauge.



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