Soil Moisture as a Factor in Subgrade Evaluation

by Ting Y. Chu, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Engrg.; Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.,
Spencer N. Chen, (M.ASCE), Soil Engr.; Tippetts-Abbett-McCarthy-Stratton, Engrs. and Architects, New York, N.Y.,
Sukhdev S. Guram, Civ. Engr.; South Carolina Hwy Dept., Columbia, S.C.,
Richard L. Stewart, Research and Materials Engr.; South Carolina Hwy Dept., Columbia, S.C.,
W. Kenneth Humphries, (M.ASCE), Asst. Prof. of Engrg.; Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.,

Serial Information: Transportation Engineering Journal of ASCE, 1977, Vol. 103, Issue 1, Pg. 87-102

Document Type: Journal Paper


The pretesting treatment is for the purpose of providing soil specimens having moisture conditions similar to those under the pavements. This is a necessary step in the laboratory evaluation of subgrade soils because soil moisture is an important factor affecting the supporting power of the subgrade. Before the development of the method for specimen treatment, field investigations were conducted to determine the variation in the subgrade moisture conditions below existing pavements. Results obtained therefrom indicate that a general correlation can be established between the suction and the moisture content of subgrade soils. For this reason, the developed method is based on the principle of controlling the suction of soil specimens prior to testing. The equipment and procedures involved in the developed method for specimen treatment are relatively simple. This method is, therefore, suitable for use in routine tests for subgrade evaluation purposes.

Subject Headings: Soil suction | Soil water | Subgrades | Subgrade soils | Soil treatment | Pavement condition | Field tests | Soil tests

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