Jovan S.

CE 131

Soil has various definitions termed by different professions, but for engineers, it is
defined as the layer on top of the rock crust. Which includes all the earth materials organic or
inorganic. Knowing the properties of soil is of great importance for engineers for it can also
affect the behavior of structures.
Soil is formed through weathering of a parent rock. This weathering can be possible
through mechanical disintegration, and/or chemical decomposition. The former is triggered by
the action of agents, and it takes place in a very significant manner in dry climates where the
free, extreme atmospheric radiation brings considerable variation in temperature at sunrise and
sunset. Meanwhile, the latter can change the physical composition of the the rock from being
hard into soft, and easily erodable matter. This kind of decomposition has five principal
decomposition such as hydration, oxidation, carbonation, desilication and leaching.
Rock is a compact, semi-hard to hard mass of natural material composed of one or more
minerals. Rock is classified into three – igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. Igneous
rocks are formed by the cooling of magmas. It is further classified as extrusive and intrusive.
Sedimentary rocks are formed in quite definitely arranged beds, or strata. Sandstones,
limestones, and shales are the most important sedimentary rocks for engineering use.
Metamorphic rocks are formed through the completer or incomplete recrystallization of of
igneous or sedimentary rocks. It is also important to study for the properties of a mineral which
is a decomposition of a parent rock.
Soil may be classified in terms of size, origin of their constituents, and organic and
A parent rock disintegrates into parts which may vary in size. These particles are
classified as cobbles, gravels, sand, silt and clay. Based on the origin of the constituents, soil can
be residual or transported. On one hand, residual soils are those that remain at the place of their
formation. On the other hand, transported soils are found at locations far removed from their
place of formation. Soils of organic origin are formed by decay of plants or accumulated
inorganic skeletons of organisms.
Clay is referred as a material composed of a mass of small mineral particles which, in
association with certain quantities of water, exhibits the property of plasticity. According to the
clay mineral concept, clay materials are essentially composed of extremely small crystalline
particles of one or more members of a small group of minerals commonly known as clay
minerals. These clay materials may contain organic material and water-soluble salts. Clays can
be divided into three groups with respect to their crystalline arrangement.
The orientation of particles in a mass depends on the size and shape of the grains as well
as upon the minerals of which the grains are formed. The structure of soils that is formed by
natural deposition can b altered by external forces. One of the type of structure of the soil is a
single grained structure which is formed by the settlement of coarse grained soils in suspension