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Chapter 1: Nature of Soil
Definition of soil: It is defined as an unconsolidated material, composed of solid particles,
produced by the disintegration of rocks.
Origin of soil:
Soils are formed by weathering of rocks due to mechanical disintegration or chemical
decomposition, when the rock surface is exposed to atmosphere for long duration. The soil
formed is classified in to residual soil and transported soil.
Residual soil:
If the soil stays at the place of its formation just near or above parent rock, it is known as
residual soil. The properties of the residual soil resemble that of the parent rock in general in
many aspects. The thickness of the residual soil formation s generally limited to a few meters.
Transported soil:
When the soil has been deposited at a place away from the place of origin, it is called the
transported soil. The Engineering properties of Transport soil at the place of deposition are
entirely different form the properties of the rock. Most of soil deposits are transported soil only.
Transported soils are further classified based on the transportation agents such as water, air, wind
(1) Water transported soil: Running water carries large quantities of soil either in
suspension or by rolling along the bed water erodes hill and deposits soils in the valleys.
It is also known as alluvial deposits. Deposits made in lakes are called lacustrine deposit.
Water carries soils to ocean are called marine deposits.
(2) Wind transported soils: The particles size of the soil depends upon the velocity of wind.
The finer particles are carried far away from the origin. Soil deposits by wind are also
called Aeolian deposits.
Marine deposits: These are mainly confined along a marrow belt near the coast in the south
west coast of India. These are thick layers of sand above deep deposits of soft marine clays.
These deposits have very low shearing strength and are highly compressible. They contain a
large amount of organic matter. These are soft and highly plastic.
Different types of soils:
(1) Bentonilte: It is a type of clay with varies high percentage of clay mineral montmorillonite. It
results for decomposition of volcanic ash.
(2) Clay: It consists of microscopic and sub microscopic particles derived from the chemical
decomposition of rock. The soil size is known as 0.002 mm.


(3) Sand: It is a coarse grained soil, having particle size between 0.075 to 4.75 mm. The particles
are visible to eyes
(4) Silt: It is fine grained soil particles size 0.002 to 0.075 mm. The particles are not visible to
(5) Gravel: Course grained soil size from 4.75 to 80 mm.
(6) Cobbles: These are large size of particles ranging from 80 to 300 mm.
(7) Kankar: Impure
(8) Loam: It is a mixture of sand, silt and clay.
Cohesive and Cohesive less soil:
Soil in where the absorbed water and particle attraction act such that it deforms plastically
at varying water contents are known as cohesive soil.
The soil compose of bulky grains are cohesive less soil. Many soils are mixture of bulky grains
or clay minerals and exhibit some degree of plasticity. Such soil termed as cohesive. If plasticity
effect is insignificant then it is called cohesive less.
Eg: Non plastic silt, sand gravel.
Inter relationship between n and e:
The sectional area perpendicular to the plane of paper is assumed as unity, the heights of the
block will represent the volumes. The volume of solids may be represented as Vs = 1. When the
soil is fully saturated, the voids are completely filled with water.
1/ n = V/Vv = Vv + Vs/ Vv
1/n = 1 + 1/e = (1+ e) / e

(Note Vv / Vs = e )

n = e / (1 + e)
Also 1/ e = (1/n) - 1 = (1-n) / n

e = n / (1-n )

Water content: w = Ww / Ws * 100 %


Unit weight of water: w = Ww / Vw

2) Bulk unit weight of soil = or b = W / V

or b = M/V

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