Compaction wheels When described technically, soil compaction is the method by which the density of soil is increased. It is an important stage in many construction projects because, if it is not done right, the settlement of the soil could cause structure failure and unnecessarily high maintenance costs for the owner of the property. When the soil at a site is loose, it cannot support loads that a well-compacted soil can support. (That load could be a new house, a school, a city hall or block of apartments.) Almost every construction or building project requires some compaction. Compaction Wheel. There are good machines available, known as compactors. They are expensive, whether you buy or rent. There is also another way to achieve good compaction and that involves using equipment you already have. Compaction wheels are attached to earthmoving machines (like excavators) in much the same way as buckets. Their action is similar to that of the drums of some compaction machines and they are not flat, like rollers, but more like padfoot drums. Where vibrating plate compactors and similar equipment are excellent for gravel and sand, but poor for clay or silt, the compaction wheel is the opposite. It works very well on silt and clay, but not so well on sand and gravel. You must know your soil, then! You could go forever on one type soil with the wrong kind of compactor and never achieve the desired result. We advise you to contact USA Attachments (800-870-3610) to discover the appropriate compaction wheel for the soil on your project. There is a simple, traditional test for determining if your soil is right for compaction. Grasp a handful of soil. Open your hand. If the soil is powdery and disintegrates, it’s too dry to compact. If it breaks up when dropped, it’s too dry. If the soil in your hand leaves some moisture on your fingers, and if it stays in basically one piece when dropped, it’s too wet. If the soil in your hand can be shaped and it only breaks into two or three pieces when dropped, it’s probably got the right amount of moisture for compaction. There are other, more sophisticated and scientific, methods of testing the soil. If you have any doubts, call in an expert, because it is important to know how you can compact the soil before you start spending time and money on the project. A soil compaction wheel goes down into the ground, using the force of the carrier machine. It moves the soil around and mixes it as it rotates; it shuffles the particles into a good, compacted arrangement. It will probably not reach the compaction level you want on the first pass but it is a quick process and has proved its value at sites as widely different as trenches and entire building sites – all with the earthmoving machine you already own. Operators say it is quite a short learning time and they can often tell the level of compaction from the cab. If you have compaction to do, consider a compaction wheel attachment. It could save you money from both an equipment and labor point of view.