Theory and practice concerning classification for expansive soils using standard moisture absorption water content

  • Yao Hailin 
  • Cheng Ping 
  • Yang Yang 
  • Wu Wanping 


A series of tests on physical, mechanical and chemical properties of expansive soils have shown that the standard moisture absorption water content (SMA) of expansive soils has a good linear relationship with montmorillonite content, cation exchange capacity, specific surface, and it also presents a linear relationship tendency to plastic index and free swell ratio. All this indicates that the above SMA is of clear significance in physics. The plastic index can better reflect the interaction extent between composition and dispersing character of grains, cation and clay minerals. Consequently, SMA can reflect the basic essential properties of expansive soils. On the basis of the classification results that have been published in literature and in consideration of the succession to the classification results for the free swell ratio, this paper puts forward three indexes, i.e. the SMA, plastic index and free swell ratio to classify expansive soils. The tests proposed for the classification indexes are easy to operate, simple in testing device and last a short time. Compared with the latest issued “Classification Standard Code for Rocks and Soils of Railway Projects” (TB10077-2001), the method proposed in this paper is more convenient and reasonable, and can be popularized, when environment conditions ripen, for the application in field of exploration and design of highway in the areas surrounded by expansive soils.


expansive soil standard moisture absorption water content (SMA) plasticity index free expansive ratio identification and classification of expansive soils 


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Copyright information

© Science in China Press 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yao Hailin 
    • 1
  • Cheng Ping 
    • 2
  • Yang Yang 
    • 1
  • Wu Wanping 
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Rock and Soil MechanicsChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.China Communications Second Highway Survey Design and Research InstituteWuhanChina

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