Intelligent Compaction Implementation: Research Assessment

Principal Investigator:

Joseph Labuz, Professor & Department Head, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Co-Investigator

  • Bojan Guzina, Associate Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project Summary:

An attractive approach to the traditional methods of assessing compaction is known as Intelligent Compaction (IC), which involves continuous and instantaneous evaluation of the compacted soil and controls of the compaction effort based on roller vibration or machine power monitoring. Modern IC devices are equipped with an integrated global positioning system to provide a complete GIS-based record of the earthwork site. Although IC has gained significant popularity in Europe, this technology is relatively new in the United States. The objective of this project was to provide a qualitative assessment of the Minnesota Department of Transportation's IC specifications, including recommendations to improve the specifications and procedures. This was accomplished by documenting field activities at multiple construction sites, interviewing field personnel, and reviewing selected field records. Four construction sites using IC were visited: 1) TH 36 in North Saint Paul, involving both granular and non-granular soils; 2) US 10 in Staples, with granular soil; 3) TH 60 in Bigelow, with non-granular soil; 4) US 10 in Detroit Lakes, involving both granular and non-granular soils. The report integrates comments from the four site visits, provides an interpretation on the use of IC at each site and recommendations for procedural changes, and establishes a basis for future intelligent compaction research.

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