Properties of Soils

This appendix presents some information and tables containing properties of soils which will be of interest to the structural designer.

C.1 Soil Tests
For low-rise buildings, depth of borings may be specified to be about 6 m below the anticipated foundation level, with at least one boring continuing deeper, to a lesser of 30 m, the least building dimension, or refusal. At least one soil boring should be specified for every 230 square metres of the building area for buildings over 12 m height, or having more than three storeys. For large buildings founded on poor soils, borings should be spaced at less than 15 m intervals. A minimum of five borings, one at the centre and the rest at the corners of the building, is recommended.

C.2 Order of Soil Suitability for Foundation Support
Best : Bed rock Very good : Sand and gravel Good : Medium to hard clay (that is kept dry) Poor : Silts and soft clay Undesirable : Organic silts and organic clay Unsuitable : Peat

C.3 The Plasticity Index (PI)
The plasticity index (PI) of the soil provides an indication of how much clay will shrink or swell. The higher the PI, the greater is the shrink-swell potential. PI of 0–15% : Low expansion potential PI of 15–25% : Medium expansion potential PI of 25% and above : High expansion potential

75 1.3 Typical values of modulus of subgrade reaction (ks) for different types of soils Type of Soil Loose sand Medium dense sand Dense sand Clayey medium dense sand Silty medium dense sand ks (kN/m3) 4.85 1.20 2.800–16.75 1.15 Loose sand Dense sand Soft clay Stiff clay Silty soils Gravelly soils *Values are representative of moist sand.60–2. and clay.000–48.400 2–20 Table C.07 2.75 1.600–80.00–2.10 1.25 2.75 1. Table C.00 1.000 9.000 (contd) .30 2.75 1.90–2.70–1.000 32.10 2.1 Typical mass densities of basic soil types Type of Soil Mass density r (Mg/m3)* Poorly graded soil Well-graded soil Range Typical value Range Typical value 1.90–2.25 2.00 1.07 1.00 1.07 2.440 14–57 7–21 10–24 48–81 48–148 96–192 144–14.60–1.90–2.90 1.75–2.25 2.000–1.Properties of Soils 1397 Table C.90 1. gravel.00 1.60–2.00–2.000 24.28.000 64. saturated silt.60–1.2 Typical values of modulus of elasticity (ES) for different types of soils Type of Soil Clay Very soft Soft Medium Hard Sandy Glacial till Loose Dense Very dense Loess Sand Silty Loose Dense Sand and gravel Loose Dense Shale Silt Es (N/mm2) 2–15 5–25 15–50 50–100 25–250 10–153 144–720 478–1.000–80.90 1.90–2.

1 – 0. made-up ground Very stiff 190–450 Medium stiff 200–250 Soft 50–100 To be determined after investigation Notes: * Reduce bearing pressures by half below the water table.3 0.600 900 450 450 96–285 Compact and dry 450 250 150 >30 30 >30 >30 Loose and dry 250 48–120 100 15–30 4–15 0–4 — — — 30–50 15–30 <15 100–200 25–100 0–25 — Clay+ Peat.35 0.5 Allowable bearing pressures on soils (for preliminary design) Type of rock/soil Allowable bearing Standard pressure penetration (kN/m2) blow count (N) Apparent cohesion cu (kPa) Hard rock without lamination and defects (e.15 0.2 – 0.25 0. Interpolate for intermediate values.4 – 0.4 Typical values of Poisson’s ratio (m) for soils Type of soil Clay (saturated) Clay (unsaturated) Sandy clay Silt Sand (dense) Course (void ratio = 0. silts.3 – 0. allow 1.000–24.36 0.1–0. granite.5 0. . and 1..3 0. cemented material Soft rock Gravel Dense Medium Sand* Coarse Medium Fine or silt 3. hard shale.4 – 0.2 – 0.7) Fine grained (void ratio = 0.4 – 0.3 0..4 (depends on type of rock) 0.g.0 times cu for length/width ratios of more than 4.1 – 0. + Alternatively.200 >30 1. sandstone and lime-stone in sound condition) Soft or broken rock.000–48.2 times cu for round and square footings.15 Table C.1398 Design of Steel Structures (contd) Clayey soil: qu £ 200 N/mm2 200 < qu £ 400 N/mm2 qu > 800 N/mm2 qu – Safe bearing capacity 12.000 Table C.000 > 48. and diorite) Laminated rocks (e.000 24.g.4 0.0. trap.7) Rock Loess Ice Concrete m 0.

non-plastic silt Steel sheet piles against Clean gravel.5–2. silty sand-gravel mixture.8 2..0–1.Properties of Soils 1399 Table C. Table C. silty sand-gravel mixture.7 Typical values of fundamental period for soil deposits (for rock motions with amax = 0. metamorphic rocks with very widely spaced fractures) Mean shear–wave velocity Minimum Average Maximum 1400 1620 — (contd) . gravel-sand mixtures.0–3. silty medium to coarse sand.8 1.0–3.6–1. or clay Fine sandy silt.g. single-size hard rock fill Silty sand. nonplastic silt Medium-stiff.8–2.0 1. gravel. single-size hard rock fill Silty sand. coarse sand Clean fine to medium sand. or sand mixed with silt.3 1. or sand mixed with silt or clay Fine sandy silt.5–2. wellgraded rock fill with spalls Clean sand.0 — *Representative of San Francisco bay area.5 0.3 2.5 5 m of fill over normally consolidated clay* (s) 0. gravel-sand mixture.5–1. gravel. wellgraded rock fill with spalls Clean gravel.2 1.4g) (SEAOC 1980) Soil depth (m) 10 30 60 90 150 Dense sand (s) 0.3–0. stiff and silty clay Formed concrete against Clean gravel.6 Typical interface friction angles (NAVFAC 1982) Interface materials Clean sound rock Clean gravel. nonplastic silt Mass concrete against Interface friction angle d 25 29 – 31 24 – 29 19 – 24 17 – 19 17 – 19 22 – 26 17 – 22 17 14 22 17 14 11 Table C. silty or clayey gravel Clean fine sand.8 Mean shear wave velocities (m/s) for the top 30 m of ground (Borcherdt 1994) General description Firm and hard rocks Hard rocks (e. silty or clayey fine to medium sand Fine sandy silt. gravel-sand mixture.

loose submerged fills and very soft (N < 5 blows/300 mm) clays and silty clays < 37 m thick) Very soft soils (e.. then the building will show distress and may collapse.g. If the seismic damaging energy getting into the building is more than the capacity of the structure. Hence. 0. the seismic waves in this range of time period will be allowed only to pass and filter-out the other frequencies.e. At this point the damaging energy from the seismic waves get into the buildings having similar time period of vibration as the soil layer. marshland. conglomerates. having average shear wave velocity Vs is approximately T = 4H/Vs If we assume the weighted average shear wave velocity for 30 – 50 m soil layer as 290 m/s. loose saturated sand..g. sandstones. igneous rocks. shales..g. gravels.. will fall in the above range of time period of vibrations. if we assume that the weighted average shear wave velocity for 150 – 300 m soil layer is around 500 m/s.g.. which are related in the microzonation of a region. should fall in the above range of time period of soil layers. The fundamental time period of 4 – 6 storey buildings.. and shales with close to widely spaced fractures) Gravelly soils and soft to firm rocks (e. then the fundamental period of soil layer will range from 0. granites.4 s. silt loams. then the fundamental time period will range from 1. soft igneous sedimentary rocks. i.41 to 0. recent reclamation) 700 1050 1400 375 540 700 200 290 375 100 150 200 50? 75? 100 Note: The fundamental time period T of soil layer of thickness H. loose to very dense sands. and medium stiff to hard clays and silty clays (N > 5 blows/ 300mm) Soft soils (e.41 – 0. Therefore. it is important to know the depth of soil layers above the bedrock and its properties such as the shear wave velocities. . sandy clays. The fundamental time period of 10 – 15 storey building.69 second. Therefore.2 – 2. including the soilstructure interaction. including soil structure interaction. and soils with > 20% gravel) Stiff clays and sandy soils (e. there will be quasi resonance of building and the soil layer. sandstones. Similarly. there will be quasi resonance of the buildings and the soil layer and the seismic waves will affect this group of buildings which will result in damage/ collapse of buildings. That is.g.1400 Design of Steel Structures (contd) Firm to hard rocks (e.69 sec.

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