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Consolidation Test

Introduction
Consolidation is the process of time dependent settlement of saturated clayey soil when
subjected to an increased loading. This test is performed to determine the magnitude and rate of
volume decrease that a laterally confined soil specimen undergoes when subjected to different
vertical pressures. From the measured data, the consolidation curve (pressure-void ratio
relationship) can be plotted. This data is useful in determining the compression index, the
recompression index and the pre-consolidation pressure (p) of the soil. In addition, the data
obtained can also be used to determine the coefficient of consolidation and the coefficient of
consolidation (Cv) of the soil.
Equipment
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Consolidation unit
Specimen trimming device
Wire saw
Balance, sensitive to 0.01g
Stop watch
Moisture can
Oven

The consolidation unit consists of a consolidation and a loading unit. The consolidator can either
be floating ring or fixed ring consolidator. The fixed ring consolidator consists a hollow brass
plate, two porous stones, a brass ring to hold the soil specimen and a metal ring which can be
fixed tightly to the top of the base plate. The ring surrounds the soil specimen. A stand pipe is
attached to the side of the base plate. This can be used for permeability determination of soil.
Here, the compression of the specimen occurs from the top towards the bottom.

During the consolidation test, when load is applied to a soil specimen, the nature of variation of
side friction between the surrounding brass ring and the specimen are different for the fixed ring
and the floating ring consolidator. In most cases, a side friction of 10% of the applied load is a
reasonable estimate.