Dawson Creek Compaction Testing Services from Tryon Engineering

Do you ever wonder what caused the Tower of Pisa to lean, or if it was preventable? Such engineering disasters, a result of the very soil beneath them, can in fact be preventable through a laboratory service called compaction testing. This type of laboratory service is provided by professional engineering companies like Tryon Professional Group, based in Dawson Creek, who offers geotechnical and land development engineering services.

Why Perform Compaction Testing?

With an in-house laboratory at their main office in Dawson Creek, Tryon provides CCIL (Canadian Council of Independent Laboratories) certified soil and granular proctor compaction testing. This test is vital to the construction process as it helps to ensure the stability and strength of the very soil high load structures – such as dams, roadways, earth retaining structures and building foundations – are built upon. If soil compaction tests are not performed, a building or structure could be built upon unstable soil resulting in settling, sinking and/or cracking; the end result could be catastrophic. Consider the failure of the New Orleans levees in 2005 (related to erosion and poor foundation soil) or the collapse of the St. Francis Dam (built upon an ancient landslide; very poor foundational soil) in 1928; structural catastrophes we do not want to repeat.

So, just how does compaction testing work to ensure the adequate compaction of the soil for a given civil or land engineering feat?

Compaction Testing

Compaction Testing, also known as the Standard Proctor Test or the Modified Proctor Test, is a laboratory service that experimentally determines the optimal moisture content at which a given soil type will become most dense and achieve its maximum dry density. Geotechnical specialists will then repeat this test using various moisture contents (to mimic natural environmental fluctuations) and determine the correlating dry densities. In compaction of soils, the main aim is to keep the soil particles close together leading to the improvement of the dry density of the soil. The soil with maximum dry density ultimately leads to more compact soil.

Determining the varying moisture contents and dry densities is important as soil placed as engineering fill needs to be compacted to the correct density to ensure satisfactory engineering properties, such as shear strength, compressibility and/or permeability, for a specific project.

Laboratory Services

The Tryon Professional Group offers in-house laboratory compaction tests to help determine the maximum density achievable for a specific soil sample and to help determine the effects of moisture on the soil’s density

In order to perform the compaction test, soil samples are compacted at a given water content in a standard mould with standard compaction energy. The soil is air dried and separated into samples for which the water content of each is adjusted by adding different water ratios. Each sample is then placed and compacted in the Proctor compaction mould in three different layers with each layer receiving 25 blows of the standard hammer. After removing and drying the sample, the dry density and the water content of the sample is determined for the Proctor compaction test of each sample. A curve, utilizing all results, is plotted for the dry unit weight (or density) as a function of the water. This curve conveys the optimum water content required to reach the maximum dry density and thus the most stable soil for this particular sample.

Tryon Professional Group

With offices in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, Tryon Professional Group has been serving the civil and land development engineering as well as the structural engineering needs of BC for over 50 years. The Company’s long-standing service is bolstered by its membership with both the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta. In addition, Tryon Engineering is CCIL Certified in Category "0" Basic Certification Concrete Testing & Aggregate Quality Control Laboratory (Type C) & Type D Aggregate Certification.

Tryon’s highly qualified team of engineers and technical staff can help you in any of your complete engineering, procurement, construction and management (EPCM) requirements and is happy to now offer in-house laboratory services, such as compaction testing, from its main office in Dawson Creek, BC.