Industry Advancement
“Earthen fills are the only element of construction conducted by assumptions, trial & error exercises, and (inadvertent) engineering compromise ...”
“... ESOL corrects this problem, without changing practice or any selected process control method.”

The industry required compaction standards are essentially never achieved in cohesive fill construction. This condition is the primary source of the greatest problem in infrastructure: strength loss, saturation settlements and shrink-swell problems in founding fills. This condition is also the source of excessive permeabilities in environmental protection fills, barrier fills and structural fills. ESOL corrects this problem, without changing practice or any process control method used today.

This condition is largely unrealized in the industry, though it is proven by direct data on every construction project. This condition is also the reason why earthen fills are the only element of construction conducted by assumptions, trial & error exercises and inadvertent engineering compromise.

Industry Compaction Standards

The conventional compaction standards specified for construction of cohesive fills are typically tied to optimum moisture content and maximum dry-density. The compaction standards always require a moisture range during compaction, which is tied to optimum moisture content. Usually, the compaction standards require a density range result after compaction also, which is tied to maximum dry-density. Typical compaction standards include:

  • Compact at -1 to +3% of optimum moisture content, to at least 95% of maximum dry-density
  • Wet-of-optimum moisture, to at least 93% of max dry-density
  • Wet-of-optimum, to 92 to 98% of max dry-density
  • -2 to +2% of optimum, to at least 95% of max dry-density
  • ... and so on

Most engineers understand the importance of achieving the compaction standards in construction. Most engineers understand most of the reasons why wet-of-optimum compaction is critically important. Many engineers understand the dangers of dry-of-optimum compaction.

However, few engineers realize their compaction standards are not being achieved in construction. Few engineers realize that the beliefs and uses of lab compaction curves is the cause of this problem. This is the primary source of the greatest problem in infrastructure.

Ramifications Corrected

The assumptions, beliefs and uses of lab compaction curves disable the process control methods we use in construction today. Many engineers assume that lab compaction test curves represent field compaction or a degree of field compaction. These are incorrect assumptions on many levels. In all ways, lab compaction is different than field compaction. These beliefs prevent our process control methods from achieving our compaction standards. The result in construction is trial & error exercises, inadvertent engineering compromise, and adverse compaction.

In earthen fill construction today, it is virtually impossible for the moisture-density relations in lift compaction to match relations from lab compaction tests. It is also wrong to assume that compacted lift properties will ever match lab compacted properties, even when in the same moisture-density space. Therefore trial & error exercises are necessary on all lifts and projects to find a way to get some sort of fill construction done to some result. These trial & error exercises include “lab curve shopping”, “field data shopping”, new lab curves, parallel lab operations (for more curves to “shop”), false moistures after compaction, moisture adjustments, lift reworks, etc. All of these exercises involve some degree of inadvertent engineering compromise, largely unrealized by the engineer. This compromise is what prevents our compaction standards from being achieved, and causes construction of problematic fill elements founding our infrastructure. With SSCE®, ESOL removes these assumptions and trial & error exercises resulting in uninterrupted construction control at maximal production, real-time data verification of field optimums and compaction states, and known/verifiable compacted strength and stability properties.

Industry Advancement

ESOL's service is a total solution. In addition to solving the critical problem with the engineering and construction of the fill elements of infrastructure, ESOL's advance also solves a vicious cycle controlling the construction industry and provides many significant economic benefits to the industry.

On all infrastructure projects, the “big ticket” cost to owners is always the construction costs - not the engineering costs. Engineering is always a small percent of project costs. All infrastructure projects are composed primarily of three (3) construction material elements: concrete, steel and “dirt”. Only the earthen fill elements are constructed by trial & error and engineering compromise. These trial & error exercises increase construction costs, jeopardize the concrete and steel built over the fills, and increase maintenance and repair costs. ESOL eliminates the compromise and construction risks, reduces construction costs, and reduces risks of high construction costs - all without increasing engineering costs. (Read more about the greatest problem and solution in infrastructure.)

The degree of cost savings on projects depends on the varying degrees of trial & error exercises to which one is comparing. A range of ~15% to ~35% cost savings has been conservatively estimated based on construction surveys and cost estimates. An average of ~25% to 30% overall savings in earthen fill costs is considered a safe general estimate. The comparison below relates typical projects today vs. advanced projects using the controls from SSCE®.

Typical Projects Today Without SSCE® Controls Projects With SSCE® Controls

Total Project Costs... Total Project Costs...

Engineering & Construction of Earthen Fills:

Trial & Error Construction
No Engineering Control (Inadvertent)
No Construction Control
Engineering & Construction of Earthen Fills:

No Trial & Error Construction
Full E&C Control w/ Specs Applied to Field M-D Relations
More E&C Control w/ Specs Applied to Corrected Lab M-D's
Low Fill Production - High Construction Costs
Unprecedented Fill Production at Machine Capacity Rates
Compaction Standards Not Achieved in Fill Construction
Field Optimums Unknown per Routine Field Data
Varied, Non-Uniform Lift Compaction
Inadvertent Engineering Compromise
Unknown Compaction States
Unknown Compaction Strength
Unknown, Long Term Strength & Stability
Unknown Performance Before, During & After Compaction
Compaction Standards Achieved in Fill Construction
Field Opts Known in Advance & Verified in Real-Time
Full, Uniform Lift Compaction
No Engineering Compromise
Known, Verified Compaction States
Known, Verifiable Compaction Strength
Known, Verifiable LT Strength & Stability
Known Performance Before, During & After Compaction

“Only by disregarding engineering standards, requirements & objectives, could ESOL's process control solutions be viewed as any sort of ‘change in practice’ ...”

“Advancing Industry, Improving Economy, and Bettering our World” ®