Compaction quality control/assurance of unbound geomaterials is one of the crucial components in pavement and embankment construction to ensure their performance, stability, and sustainability. Conventional density-based methods such as nuclear density gauge to determine the compaction quality have been widely used due to the straightforward relationship between the readings and targeted material property. Recent modifications in construction standards and the introduction of the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide have inspired a growing interest in developing and implementing strength/stiffness-based compaction control quality assurance (QA) specifications. Numerous studies have been dedicated to investigating the efficiency and effectiveness of the stiffness-based compaction QA tools. This paper presents a comprehensive review of the recent compaction QA relevant literature and surveys. Findings of different approaches for studying QA devices, and the main results of the existing models, experiments, and engineering practices were summarized. Several in situ spot QA technologies, including the latest compaction QA technologies [e.g., the lightweight deflectometer (LWD)], were highlighted, and their efficiency and effectiveness were compared. The review also summarized the intercorrelations between different devices, the correlations between in situ QA device readings and mechanical properties of unbound material, findings of the numerical simulations, and case studies and current practices using different QA tools. The recommendations for future research needs and practical implementations were identified and discussed.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


Missouri Department of Transportation, Grant None

Keywords and Phrases

Compaction; Density-Based; Modulus-Based; Nuclear Density Gauge; Quality Control Assurance

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2023 American Society of Civil Engineers, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Mar 2023