Atterberg limit

noun

At·​ter·​berg limit ˈa-tər-ˌbərg- How to pronounce Atterberg limit (audio)
ˈä-tər-ˌber-ē-
civil engineering
: a measure of a soil sample's capacity for containing water used to determine the soil's structural characteristics
usually plural
… direct soil sampling provides the best information in terms of soil type and Atterberg limits (a series of thresholds observed when the water content of a soil is steadily changed) …Roger Surdahl et al., Public Roads, May–June 2009

Note: The Atterberg limits indicate the transition points where a soil's physical behavior changes. The limits most commonly studied are the Plastic Limit, which identifies how much water a given soil can hold before it changes consistency between crumbly and plastic, and the Liquid Limit, where the soil changes consistency between plastic and liquid.

Word History

Etymology

after Albert Atterberg †1916 Swedish chemist

First Known Use

1926, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Atterberg limit was in 1926

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Cite this Entry

“Atterberg limit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Atterberg%20limit. Accessed 29 Jan. 2023.

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