Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Civil Engineering

Major Professor

Alaa K. Ashmawy, PhD.


Water content, Dry density, Dielectric constant, Electrical conductivity, Nuclear


Traditional in-situ soil compaction monitoring methods are often limited in their application, thus quality control of compacted fills and roadway embankments remains a challenging problem. As a result, new methods are being developed to more accurately measure in-situ compaction parameters. Time domain reflectometry (TDR) is one such method. Several advances have been made over the past few years to further the use of TDR technology in water content and density measurement of compacted fill. The one-step method relies on the measurement of the apparent dielectric constant in conjunction with the bulk electrical conductivity, and correlates them through two soil-specific constants, f and g. The two measurements, together with other soil specific constants, are then used to back calculate the water content and density in a single step. However, questions remain regarding the accuracy and bias of TDR measurements in relation to other "established" in-situ procedures such as the nuclear gage and speedy moisture. Results from an experimental program to obtain calibration constants for typical sands used in roadway construction are presented. A number of side-by-side tests are performed to compare the measurements obtained using the TDR one-step method to those obtained form other methods. Conducting such side-by-side tests is a critical step in the progress and eventual widespread usage of the one-step method. In addition, all the results are compared against an independent measurement of the in-place density from a slurry-replacement method. The objective of the independent measurement is to provide a baseline for accurate and unbiased evaluation of TDR and other technologies.