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Rolling soil compactors have several options. The drum comes in a variety of sizes and in either smooth or padfoot surfaces. The padfoot drum has large nubs that exert force on a smaller surface area; this allows the compactor to reach deeper into the ground. The smooth drum works best for finer, surface-level materials. The rolling drum comes in varying weights and sizes, and some models have hollow chambers inside, allowing the operator to add water to change the weight as needed. Many rollers also vibrate to add to their effectiveness. The drums are either pushed or pulled by a tractor; occasionally the drums are the tractor wheels.
How soil compactors work
Soil compactors use weight, vibration, and force to press dirt, clay, rock, and other materials down making a flat and solid surface. The compactor pushes out air and water between ground particles. There are several compaction methods: slow, static press; dropping a heavy mass; vibration; rolling; gyrating and kneading. The smallest soil compactors are similar to jackhammers; they have a small plate that hits the ground repeatedly. The most common operator-driven compactors are rollers. These use large drums to roll across the ground.
About soil compactors
Soil compactors are used to tamp down soil and other ground materials. The rolling varieties are also known as road rollers or roller-compactors. Soil compactors come in a wide range of sizes from the walk-behind tamper to heavy, operator-driven rollers. They are most commonly used to prepare ground for road or building construction projects.