A History of Particle-Size Limits, Special Report, HR-99, 1969

(1969) A History of Particle-Size Limits, Special Report, HR-99, 1969. Transportation, Department of


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Soils consist largely of mineral particles in a wide range of sizes. It is advantageous to assign names, such as "sand", etc., to describe particles which lie between certain size limits. These names are convenient to use and give more information than merely stating that the particles fit certain size limitations. Many systems of particle-size limits have been proposed and used, and have many discrepancies. For example, depending on the system used, a term such as "sand" may designate very different materials. Since no clear-cut divisions can be made between members of a continuous series all particle-size limit schemes are arbitrary. The originators of the various systems were influenced by many factors: convenience of investigation, methods and equipment available for analysis, ease of presenting data, convenience for statistical analysis, previous work, and systems in use. The complications were further compounded because of widely varying fields of endeavor with varying background, outlook, and goals. For example, many inconsistencies are found in engineering depending on whether the size limits are used to differentiate soils, or characterize aggregates for concrete. Some of the investigators have tried to place limits to correspond with the various properties of the soil components; others were more interested in the ease and convenience of obtaining and presenting data. The purpose of this paper is to review many of the systems which have been proposed and used, and if possible, to suggest what may have been the reasons for the selection of the particle-size limits.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: Data analysis, Grain size (Geology), Sieve analysis, Soils by grain size and distribution, Soil components, Soil particles
Subjects: Transportation
Transportation > Materials
Transportation > Roads and highways
Transportation > Research
Transportation > Data and Information Technology
ID Code: 17268
Deposited By: Iowa DOT Library
Deposited On: 30 Jun 2014 12:36
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2017 13:02
URI: https://publications.iowa.gov/id/eprint/17268