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The uniformity coefficient (Cu), curvature coefficient (Cc) and the effective size (D10) are the grading characteristics of the soil. These are the geometric properties of a grading curve that describe a particular type of soil.

The features and determination of uniformity coefficient, curvature coefficient and the effective size is described in this article.

Grade Curve Characteristics

A grade size distribution curve is analyzed by using different particle sizes : D60, D30, and D10. The curve is the graph plotted between the percentage finer in y-axis to the particle size in x-axis in logarithmic scale. This is plotted based on the observations from sieve analysis conducted on the soil sample.

Also Read: Sieve Analysis of Soil

Fig.1.Grade Size Distribution Curve: Image Courtesy:

In the graph, the different particle sizes D10, D30 and D60 are represented as shown in figure-1 above.

D10 is called as effective particle size. This means that 10% percent of the particles are finer and 90% of the particles are coarser than D10. This is the size at 10% finer by weight.

Similarly, D60 is the particle size at which 60% of the particles are finer and 40% of the particles are coarser than D60 size. D30 is the size at which 30% is finer by weight and remaining 70% particles are coarser than D30 size. Hence, D10, D30 and D60 are used to determine the measures of gradation.

Measures of Gradation

The uniformity coefficient (Cu) and the coefficient of gradation (Cc) are the measures of soil gradation. These coefficients help to classify the soil as well graded or poorly graded ones.

Uniformity Coefficient (Cu)

The uniformity coefficient (Cu) is defined as the ratio of D60 to D10. A value of Cu greater than 4 to 6 classifies the soil as well graded. When Cu is less than 4, it is classified as poorly graded or uniformly graded soil.

Uniformity Coefficient (Cu)

Uniformly graded soil has identical particles with Cu value approximately equal to 1. A uniformity coefficient value of 2 or 3 classifies the soil as poorly graded. Beach sand comes under this category.

Higher value of Cu indicates that the soil mass consists of soil particles with different size ranges.

Coefficient of Curvature (Cc)

Coefficient of curvature is given by the formula:

Coefficient of Curvature (Cc) of Soil

For the soil to be well graded, the value of Cc must range between 1 and 3.

For any single sized soil mass, the value of both Cu and Cc is 1.

About Neenu ArjunVerified

Neenu is a Civil and Structural Engineer and has experience in Design of Concrete and Steel Structures. She is an Author, Editor and Partner at