, Understanding How to Compact Soil

Regardless of whether your machines are new or old, the equipment you use should be in top operating condition, to ensure you are getting the most out of it. Itf you follow the guidelines from the compact equipment manufacturers you should get the most out of your equipment. However, this doesn’t mean that you can ignore daily checks and general maintenance. In fact, doing so can cause more harm than good.  

While it is common knowledge that you should check your equipment daily before starting your work, it seems a few people still don’t seem to take the minimal time to do this. For the vast majority of daily inspections really rely on you noting the external condition of the machines as well as checking the fluid/oil levels and (if able) checking the belts to make sure they aren’t too loose.  Once that has been completed any abnormalities will generally be picked up throughout the day when you are using the equipment. 

However once you are out working, and in this situation let’s say you are using a compactor, your main focus is completing the job at hand quickly and safely. Generally if you are compacting soil it would be before the laying of asphalt or concrete. As the soil base layer will need to have an increase in its load bearing capacity and stability. 

For this step to be done right it is important that you know what type of soil you are dealing with. As different soil types can have a wide range of maximum densities and moisture retention levels. The main type of soil bases that you will generally find are clay (cohesive), sand (granular) and organic (planting use). However only the first two options would be viable for any kind of large scale compaction. 

Another point to note is the moisture content in the specific types of soil. There is a happy medium in how much moisture you do want in your soil, as too much moisture will weaken the stability of the base, and too little moisture will end up resulting in very poor compaction. To conduct a simple and easy test to see where your soil is moisture wise. Go ahead and pick up a handful of soil and squeeze it in your hand. Then open your hand and let the soil drop. If your soil has the right amount of moisture in it, you should be able to mould it when you were squeezing it. When dropping the soil (a little bit at a time) take note of what happens to it as it hits the ground. If it is too dry the soil will come out powdery and break into fragments when it makes contact. Too much moisture and you will have some of the moisture left in your hand and the soil will remain intact when it hits the ground. And won’t be able to be compacted anywhere near the levels you will require.  Knowing how to tell if the soil you are working with will be able to meet your needs is a crucial step in being able to choose the right compacting machine for your needs.

While it is common knowledge that you should check your equipment daily before starting your work, it seems a few people still don’t seem to take the minimal time to do this. For the vast majority of daily inspections really rely on you noting the external condition of the machines as well as checking the fluid/oil levels and (if able) checking the belts to make sure they aren’t too loose.  Once that has been completed any abnormalities will generally be picked up throughout the day when you are using the equipment. 

However once you are out working, and in this situation let’s say you are using a compactor, your main focus is completing the job at hand quickly and safely. Generally if you are compacting soil it would be before the laying of asphalt or concrete. As the soil base layer will need to have an increase in its load bearing capacity and stability. 

For this step to be done right it is important that you know what type of soil you are dealing with. As different soil types can have a wide range of maximum densities and moisture retention levels. The main type of soil bases that you will generally find are clay (cohesive), sand (granular) and organic (planting use). However only the first two options would be viable for any kind of large scale compaction. 

Another point to note is the moisture content in the specific types of soil. There is a happy medium in how much moisture you do want in your soil, as too much moisture will weaken the stability of the base, and too little moisture will end up resulting in very poor compaction. To conduct a simple and easy test to see where your soil is moisture wise. Go ahead and pick up a handful of soil and squeeze it in your hand. Then open your hand and let the soil drop. If your soil has the right amount of moisture in it, you should be able to mould it when you were squeezing it. When dropping the soil (a little bit at a time) take note of what happens to it as it hits the ground. If it is too dry the soil will come out powdery and break into fragments when it makes contact. Too much moisture and you will have some of the moisture left in your hand and the soil will remain intact when it hits the ground. And won’t be able to be compacted anywhere near the levels you will require.  Knowing how to tell if the soil you are working with will be able to meet your needs is a crucial step in being able to choose the right compacting machine for your needs.