How to Determine the Atterberg Limits

The Atterberg limits, created by swedish chemist Albert Atterberg, are the moisture content, in percent, at which the soil changes state. They are defined as: Plastic Limit (solid to plastic) Liquid Limit (plastic to liquid) Some textbooks often refer to a third Atterberg limit, the “shrinkage limit” which defines the boundary between “solid” and a […]

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What is the Plastic Limit?

The plastic limit is defined as the moisture content at which a soil becomes plastic. It is the boundary between a soil’s solid and plastic states. ASTM D4318 is the standard test procedure for determining the plastic limit. Of course, a soil doesn’t go from solid to plastic all at once, but the standard test […]

What is the Shrinkage Limit?

The shrinkage limit of a soil is the moisture content at which: the soil is considered saturated. any loss of moisture will not result in any volume changes. The shrinkage limit is much less commonly used than the other Atterberg limits, the plastic limit and liquid limit. I have never seen the shrinkage limit reported […]