Influence of Water on Coarse Granular Road Material Properties

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: Even though the practical experience of using coarse unbound granular materials is extensive, detailed knowledge on the mechanical and hydraulic behavior is to a large extent lacking. Regarding influence of water on mechanical properties, this is even more pronounced. The main objective of this work was to investigate the influence of water on behavior and properties of coarse granular materials. The study comprises measurements of resilient properties, soil-water characteristic curve and influence of water content on dielectric properties measured by the use of time domain reflectometry (TDR).The work described herein comprised two test series in terms of materials: firstly, a series where the grading was changed and secondly, a series where the influence of increased contents of free mica was studied. To measure resilient response, triaxial testing, using sample size of 500 mm diameter and 1000 mm height, was performed mainly using constant confining pressures. Tests were performed at incrementally varying water contents up to almost full saturation. Dielectric response and matric suction of compacted specimens were measured in a steel box at varying water content.Results from the first series indicated that the influence of water content on resilient properties depends on the material grading. The coarsest grading, containing least fines, experienced only a small reduction when brought close to saturation. Specimens with an increased amount of fines and more even distribution responded with a substantial loss of resilient modulus upon increased water content. It also appeared as water content increased, the specimens became more dilative. From the second series, generally, resilient modulus decreased with increased mica content and furthermore, elevated water contents caused reduction in stiffness. However, in relative terms, the reduction in resilient modulus caused by water decreased with increased mica content. The soil-water characteristic curves are influenced by grading coefficient and mica content; retentive capacity increases with decreased grading coefficient and increases with increased amount of mica. Volumetric water content as a function of apparent relative permittivity was fitted using a third-degree polynomial. Although, determined relationships deviated from Topp's (1980) relationship.Detailed information on the work is given in five enclosed papers.