This report concludes an evaluation of expedient methodology for identifying and qualitatively classifying potentially expansive soils. Seventeen published techniques used for identification/classification purposes were reviewed and evaluated using data collected from an extensive laboratory testing program. A definition of potential swell that is more consistent with field simulation requirements and more representative of in situ volume change behavior is presented. The results of the evaluation of published techniques reveal that the best techniques and thus the best indicators of potential swell are the liquid limit and plasticity index. Other significant indicator properties ranked in descending order are: liquid limit and natural water content combined; shrinkage limit and plasticity index; and shrinkage limit and linear shrinkage. The results of the statistical analysis of the laboratory data confirm the findings of the evaluation of the published techniques. A classification system more consistent with the definition of potential swell and using the liquid limit, plasticity index, and natural soil suction was developed and is presented. Guidelines for the recommended usage of the classification system are given. /FHWA/

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration, Department of Transportation.
  • Corporate Authors:

    U.S. Army Waterways Experiment Station

    Soils and Pavement Laboratory
    Vicksburg, MS  United States  39180
  • Authors:
    • Snethen, D R
    • Johnson, L D
    • Patrick, D M
  • Publication Date: 1977-6

Media Info

  • Pagination: 48 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00185258
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Federal Highway Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA-RD-77- 94 Intrm Rpt., FCP 34D1-132
  • Contract Numbers: PO 4-1-0195
  • Files: NTL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Feb 27 1979 12:00AM