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Atterberg Limits
Liquid Limit Test | Plastic Limit Test

Atterberg’s limits tests

A fine-grained soil can exist in any of several states; which state depends on the amount of water in the soil system. When water is added to a dry soil, each particle is covered with a film of adsorbed water. If the addition of water is continued, the thickness of the water film on a particle increases. Increasing the thickness of the water films permits the particles to slide past one another more easily. The behavior of the soil, therefore, is related to the amount of water in the system. Approximately sixty years ago, A. Atterberg defined the boundaries of four states in terms of "limits" as follows:

  • Liquid limit: The boundary between the liquid and plastic states;

  • Plastic limit: The boundary between the plastic and semi-solid states;

  • Shrinkage limit: The boundary between the semi-solid and solid states.

Pentration Laboratory Experiment on Bitumen Procedure for Determination of Liquid Limit | Pentration Laboratory Experiment on Bitumen Procedure for Determination of Plastic Limit

These limits have since been more definitely defined by A. Casagrande as the water contents which exist under the following conditions:

  • Liquid limit: The water content at which the soil has such a small shear strength that it flows to close a groove of standard width when jarred in a specified manner.

  • Plastic limit: The water content at which the soil begins to crumble when rolled into threads of specified size.

  • Shrinkage limit: The water content that is just sufficient to fill the pores when the

Related Pages
  • Liquid limit
  • The Liquid Limit, also known as the upper plastic limit, is the water content at which soil changes from the liquid state to a plastic state. OR It is the minimum moisture content at which a soil flows upon application of very small shear force.

    Liquid Limit (LL or wL) ‑ the water content, in percent, of a soil at the arbitrarily defined boundary between the semi‑liquid and plastic states.

    • Plastic limit

    The Plastic Limit, also known as the lower plastic limit, is the water content at which a soil changes from the plastic state to a semisolid state.

    Plastic Limit (PL or wP) ‑ the water content, in percent, of a soil at the boundary between the plastic and semi‑solid states.

    Plasticity Index (PI) ‑ the range of water content over which a soil behaves plastically.

    • Shrinkage limit
    • Liquidity index: Its advantage is that The liquidity index (LI) is used for scaling the natural water content of a soil sample to the limits.
    • Flow index
    • Toughness index

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