Small-strain behavior is a key indicator for assessing the performance of compacted fills. Compaction conditions, i.e., initial moisture content and applied energy, govern compaction effectiveness and thus, the structure and matric suction of compacted soil. This paper presents an experimental study of the small-strain behavior of compacted silty sand prepared with different compaction conditions. Specimens with varying initial moisture contents and compaction energies were tested with bender elements to determine the small-strain shear modulus (G0), while the post-compaction matric suction was measured using the filter paper method and tensiometer. The experimental data suggest a pronounced relationship between G0 and the degree of saturation (Sr) of the as-compacted soil specimens. X-ray computed tomography (CT) scans were performed to examine structural changes of selected specimens upon compaction. The laboratory results are also examined in light of common end-product specifications, which show that it is beneficial to compact the soil slightly dry of optimum moisture content from the modulus point of view.
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