Shrinkage Limits- Consistency Atterberg Limits | Properties of Soil | Soil Mechanics

  Consistency Atterberg Limits  

  • Liquid Limit (WL)
  • Plastic Limit (Wp)
  • Shrinkage Limit (Ws)

  Shrinkage Limits(Ws)  

  • It is defined as the maximum water content at which reduction in the water content of soil does not lead to a reduction in the volume of soil, as below (Ws) replacement of water by air in equal volume takes place while reducing the water content.
  • It may also be defined as the minimum water content at which soil is completely saturated.
  • At shrinkage limit, soil passes semi-solid state of consistency to soil state of consistency & visa-versa.

consistency limit

shrinkage limit

which soil has more shrinkage limits, and Volume change (Compressibility) is less.

Note: Ws limit governs the compressibility of soil, the higher the shrinkage limit lower is compressibility (volume change).

 Determination of Shrinkage Limit 

  • Consider a sample of soil having water content more than shrinkage limit, let its mass & volume be M1,V1.
  • The soil is subjected to drying as a result of which its volume decreases. At a particular stage of drying, when its water content is equal its shrinkage limit, it mass & volume be M2,V2 on complete drying let its mass of volume be Md &Vd.
shrinkage test of soil

we don’t know about stage.2 that water content is equal to shrinkage limit or not . But we know the volume of soil at shrinkage limit is equal to the volume of soil at dry state. so stage 2 is only calculation purpose.





Mass of water in stage 1= M1-Md.

Loss of water from stage 1 to 2= (V1-V2)\(ρ_w\)=(V1-Vd)\(ρ_w\).

Mass of water in stage 2= Mass of water in stage 1  –  Loss of water from stage 1 to 2.

Mass of water in stage 2=(M1-Md) – (V1-Vd)\(ρ_w\).

Shrinkage limit Ws\(=\frac{\text { Mass of water in stage 2 }}{\text { Mass of solids}}\).




SubjectSoil Mechanics
UnitSoil Formation & Properties of Soil
TopicShrinkage Limits- Consistency Atterberg Limits
Next TopicShrinkage Index, Shrinkage Ratio, Volumetric shrinkage, Linear Shrinkage, Plasticity Index
Previous TopicPlastic Limits- Consistency Atterberg Limits


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top