What Is Plate Compactor, How It Works, and How To Use It

Multiquip Vibratory Plate

Compression of soil particles reduces the pore space between them, resulting in compaction. Soils compressed have fewer large pores, a smaller total pore volume, and a higher density. Compacted soil has a reduced ability to penetrate and drain. This is because larger pores move water through the soil more efficiently than smaller pores. A variety of equipment can be used for compaction. 

Plate compactors – What Are They

An upside-down plate compactor works by moving a heavy plate up and down rapidly. As a result of rapid impacts, the weight of the plates, and impact forces, the soil beneath is compacted or packed. Granular soils, such as those containing more sand or gravel, are best compacted by plate compactors. Before using a plate compactor, the soil may benefit from some moisture. Compaction generally requires two to four passes, but the compactor manufacturer or design engineer can offer advice based on the situation.

Plate compactors can be used to compact and repair asphalt and sub-base on driveways and parking lots. Rollers like these can get into tight spaces that larger rollers probably can’t. If contractors are looking for the right plate compactor, they have a few options.

There are three main types of compactors: single-plate compactors, reversible compactors, and heavy-duty compactors. Contractors must decide which of these to use based on the size and nature of the job. Various types of plate compactors are available.

  • Single-plate compactors: Asphalt jobs typically require single-plate compactors, which compress one way only.
  • Compactors that reverse: Some reversible plates work in a hovering mode, as well. There are several types of reversible plates that can be used forward or backward.
  • Heavy-duty compactors: Deep compaction is commonly done with reversible plate compactors that are high performing.