Particle Size Analysis of Soils Using Laser Diffraction and X-Ray Absorption Technology to Supplant Hydrometer Analysis

The objective of the work was to evaluate state-of-the-art automated electronic particle size analysis instrument performance in measuring the particle size distribution of the finer size soil fractions and to compare instrument results with those obtained using the more time-consuming manual hydrometer method. Four instruments were to be evaluated: the Leeds and Northup Microtrac(R) and Lasentec Partec-100(R) instruments, which operate on the principle of laser light diffraction by particles suspended in a liquid, and the Quantachrome Microscan(R) and Micromeritics Sedigraph(R), which operate on the principle of absorption of low-energy x-rays by particles sedimenting in a column of liquid. The particle size distribution of the fine fraction of eleven soil samples were to be measured by each instrument and compared to hydrometer size distribution analyses done by the Alabama Department of Transportation. Based on these results, the ease and speed of analysis with each instrument, and instrument cost, a recommendation was to be made as to determine if any of the four automated methods could be used to replace or supplement the hydrometer testing method for particle size analysis.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Alabama Department of Transportation

    1409 Coliseum Boulevard
    Montgomery, AL  United States  36130-3050

    University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

    College of Engineering, 255 Mineral Industries Building, Box 870203
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama  United States  35487-0203
  • Authors:
    • Vitton, Stanley J
    • Sadler, Leon Y
  • Publication Date: 1994-5


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Edition: Research Project
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 101p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01013282
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Alabama DOT Project 930-290, University of Alabama Project Report 608-92
  • Created Date: Dec 13 2005 1:20PM