Vibration compaction is the most effective way of compacting coarse-grained materials. The effects of vibration frequency and amplitude on the compaction density of different backfill materials commonly used by INDOT (No. 4 natural sand, No. 24 stone sand, and No. 5, No. 8, No. 43 aggregates) were studied in this research. The test materials were characterized based on the particle sizes and morphology parameters using digital image analysis technique. Small-scale laboratory compaction tests were carried out with variable frequency and amplitude of vibrations using vibratory hammer and vibratory table. The results show an increase in density with the increase in amplitude and frequency of vibration. However, the increase in density with the increase in amplitude of vibration is more pronounced for the coarse aggregates than for the sands. A comparison of the maximum dry densities of different test materials shows that the dry densities obtained after compaction using the vibratory hammer are greater than those obtained after compaction using the vibratory table when both tools were used at the highest amplitude and frequency of vibration available. Large-scale vibratory roller compaction tests were performed in the field for No. 30 backfill soil to observe the effect of vibration frequency and number of passes on the compaction density. Accelerometer sensors were attached to the roller drum (Caterpillar, model CS56B) to measure the frequency of vibration for the two different vibration settings available to the roller. For this roller and soil tested, the results show that the higher vibration setting is more effective. Direct shear tests and direct interface shear tests were performed to study the impact of particle characteristics of the coarse-grained backfill materials on interface shear resistance. The more angular the particles, the greater the shear resistance measured in the direct shear tests. A unique relationship was found between the normalized surface roughness and the ratio of critical-state interface friction angle between sand-gravel mixture with steel to the internal critical-state friction angle of the sand-gravel mixture.

Report Number



vibratory compaction, vibratory table, vibratory hammer, direct shear test, backfill soil

SPR Number


Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, IN

Date of this Version