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Why Soil Compaction Matters

Whether you require heavy or light compaction equipment, soil compaction matters. Soil compaction lays the ground for building works and all other forms of construction, by providing a solid base.

In particular, light compaction equipment is commonly used to prepare the soil for landscape gardening, small building works, drains, paths, driveways, roads, and retaining walls

Compaction ensures that your soil is not going to erode. Your soil forms the base of whatever is built on top of it, so it needs to be stable. Compacted soil has greater resilience than loose soil because it is not disturbed by water or air particles.

The compaction process squeezes out air and water to create a firm soil surface. Among the many benefits of this process is an increased soil resistance to frost, less water inflow, and greater strength. Put simply: compacted soil can hold more weight - a necessary requirement for most building projects.

As mentioned earlier, there is both heavy and light compaction equipment. Heavy compaction projects cover large areas and building works, such as freeways, public buildings, and earth dams. Light compaction projects only cover small, contained areas, such as gardens, smaller buildings and simple infrastructure projects like pavements and landscaping.

Meiwa NZ provides light compaction equipment, so in this blog we will focus on light compaction and why it matters.

How Does Soil Compaction Equipment Work?

Soil compaction equipment works by removing air voids and water deposits from the soil by applied force from a plate, roller or high-impact rammer. Light soil compactors are typically handheld and operated away from your body (particularly your feet) in a similar manner to a lawn mower or jackhammer. Following OH&S protocol, appropriate PPE such as work boots, gloves and protective glasses must be worn.

What Happens If I Don’t Compact Soil?

The risks associated with not compacting soil can be severe. Soil can move, suddenly erode, and even collapse if it’s not compacted, putting everything on top of the surface foundation at risk. Sinkholes, property damage and even building collapse are all possible outcomes that can put lives at risk, as well as cost huge amounts of money to fix or replace. The damage can extend all the way to nearby roads, pipes and other vital parts of civil infrastructure as well - cutting off water supplies, creating gas leaks, or even creating biohazards.

What Kinds of Soils Need Compacting?

Different conditions produce different soils with distinct density and moisture profiles. Best practice is to determine what kind of soil you are working with before choosing the right kind of compacting equipment for the job. For example, dense cohesive soils need direct impact compaction (i.e. Rammers, Heavy Reversible Plates), lighter granular soil need heavy vibration (i.e. Drum Rollers or Lighter Plates) .


Cohesive Soil

Clay is a good example of the cohesive soil type. These soil particles stick together, making high-impact compaction the best option.

Granular Soil

Sand and gravel are the most common types of granular soil. Granular soil particles vary in size, which means it takes in a great deal of water easily. Shaking or vibratory compaction is best for this type of soil.

Granular and Cohesive Soil

Granular and cohesive soil, or “combination soil”, has both granular and cohesive particulars and features. Contractors must determine which type of soil is pervasive and match their equipment to that type. Two kinds of compactors may be needed to properly address soil makeup changes across your entire project area.

The Meiwa Difference

Meiwa offers a wide range of light compaction equipment for its customers, including plates, reversible plates, rollers and rammers.

Meiwa is a brand that New Zealand contractors immediately trust, thanks to the knowledge and experience Meiwa have gained since first producing exceptional machinery products way back in 1945. Contact us today or browse our web store.

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