Fine-grained soils, according to ASTM standard, are soils in which more than 50% of the particles pass-through sieve number 200 (< 0.075 mm). However, Atterberg limits tests used in designating fine-grained soils as silt or clay have been performed only by fractions passing sieve number 40 (425 µm) and not with fractions passing sieve number 200. The question is whether it is appropriate to use soil fractions < 0.425 mm in a test used to classify a fine-grained portion of soil into silt or clay. To investigate this, consistency limits and Free Swell Index (FSI) tests were conducted on three genetically different lateritic soil fractions that pass-through sieve numbers 40 and 200. In addition, grain size analysis was conducted on soil fractions < 0.425 mm as well as the whole soil. The results showed that the lateritic soils were well graded with a significant amount of sand and mostly classified as inorganic clay of low to intermediate plasticity. The grain size distribution of fractions < 0.425 mm revealed that these fractions of soil contained a significant amount of medium-fine sand. In all the lateritic soils, the consistency limits of the soil fractions that pass-through sieve number 200 were found to be higher than those that pass-through sieve number 40. This increase in the consistency limits of the soil fractions < 0.075 mm with respect to soil fractions < 0.425 mm made the USCS classification as well as the level of plasticity of the lateritic soils change. The FSI tests also revealed that the soil fractions that pass-through sieve number 200 have higher FSI compared with the fractions that pass-through sieve number 40. This study has shown that lateritic soil fractions that pass-through sieve number 40 may contain a significant amount of medium-fine sand, and Atterberg limits obtained from such fractions may be underestimated and misleading.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Smith I (2014) Smith’s Elements of soil mechanics, 9th edn. Wiley, West Sussex
Bodo B, Jones C (2013) Introduction to soil mechanics. Wiley, London
Adeyemi GO, Afolagboye LO, Chukwuemeka CA (2015) Geotechnical properties of non-crystalline coastal plain sand derived lateritic soils from Ogua, Niger Delta, Nigeria. African J Sci Technol Innov Dev 7:230–235. https://doi.org/10.1080/20421338.2015.1078105
Adeyemi GO (1995) The influence of parent rock factor on some engineering index properties of three residual lateritic soils in Southwestern Nigeria. Bull Int Assoc Eng Geol 52:3–8. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02602677
Leong EC, Rahardjo H (1998) A review of soil classification systems. In: Yanagisawa E, Moroto N, Mitachi T (eds) Problematic Soils. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 493–497
Casagrande A (1948) Classification and identification of soils. Trans ASCE 113:901–991
Adeyemi GO, Oyeyemi F (2000) Geotechnical basis for failure of sections of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, south western Nigeria. Bull Eng Geol Environ 59:39–45. https://doi.org/10.1007/s100649900016
Fourie AB, Irfan TY, De Carvalho JBQ et al (2012) Microstructure, mineralogy and classification of residual soils. In: Blight GE, Leong EC (eds) Mechanics of Residual Soils, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 41–61
Polidori E (2003) Proposal for a new plasticity chart. Géotechnique 53:397–406. https://doi.org/10.1680/geot.2003.53.4.397
Polidori E (2007) Relationship between the Atterberg limits and clay content. Soils Found 47:887–896. https://doi.org/10.3208/sandf.47.887
Jang J, Santamarina JC (2015) Fines Classification Based on Sensitivity to Pore-Fluid Chemistry. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng Geotech Geoenviron Eng 142:1–8. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)HZ.2153-5515.0000279
Sunil BM, Krishnappa H (2012) Effect of drying on the index properties of lateritic soils. Geotech Geol Eng 30:869–879. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10706-012-9504-7
Sunil BM, Deepa AV (2016) Influence of drying temperature on three soils physical properties. Geotech Geol Eng 34:777–788. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10706-016-0001-2
ASTM D4318, ASTM D 4318–10, D4318–05 A (2005) Standard test methods for liquid limit, plastic limit, and plasticity index of soils. ASTM International, West Conshohocken
Rao AS, Phanikumar BR, Sharma RS (2004) Prediction of swelling characteristics of remoulded and compacted expansive soils using free swell index. Q J Eng Geol Hydrogeol 37:217–226. https://doi.org/10.1144/1470-9236/03-052
Holtz W, Gibbs H (1956) Engineering properties of expansive clays. Trans ASCE 121:641–663. https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2886
Mohan D (1977) Engineering of expansive soils. In: Inaugural Address. In: Proceedings of the 1st National Symposium on Expansive Soils. HBTI, Kanpur, India
Rahaman MA (1988) Recent Advances in the Study of Basement Complex of Nigeria. In: Oluyide PO, Mbonu WC, Ogezi AE et al (eds) Precambrian geology of Nigeria. Geological Survey of Nigeria Publication, Nigeria, pp 11–43
Whyte IL (1982) Soil plasticity and strength–a new approach using extrusion. Gr Eng 15:16–24
Temyingyong A, Chantawarangul K, Sudasna P (2002) Statistical analysis of influenced factors affecting the plastic limit of soils. Kasetsart J Nat Sci 36:98–102
Rao BH, Venkataramana K, Singh DN (2011) Studies on the determination of swelling properties of soils from suction measurements. Can Geotech J 48:375–387. https://doi.org/10.1139/T10-076
This work did not receive grant from any funding agency.
Conflict of interest
There are no conflicts of interests with regard to this manuscript.
About this article
Cite this article
Afolagboye, L.O., Abdu-Raheem, Y.A., Ajayi, D.E. et al. A comparison between the consistency limits of lateritic soil fractions passing through sieve numbers 40 and 200. Innov. Infrastruct. Solut. 6, 97 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41062-020-00427-3
- Atterberg limits
- Classification system
- Lateritic soils
- Plasticity chart
- Soil fractions