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Soil Cohesion

Geotechdata.info - Updated 31.10.2014

The cohesion is a term used in describing the shear strength soils. Its definition is
mainly derived from the Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion and it is used to describe the
non-frictional part of the shear resitance which is independent of the normal stress. In
the stress plane of Shear stress-effective normal stress, the soil cohesion is the
intercept on the shear axis of the Mohr-Coulomb shear resistance line

Typical values of soil cohesion for different soils

Some typical values of soil cohesion are given below for different soil types. The soil
cohesion depends strongly on the consistence, packing, and saturation condition. The
values given below correspond to normally consolidated condition unless otherwise
stated. These values should be used only as guidline for geotechnical problems;
however, specific conition of each engineering problem often needs to be considered
for an appropriate choice of geotechnical parameters.

Cohesion [kPa]
Description USCS Reference
min max Specific value

Well graded gravel, sandy


GW - - 0 [1],[2],[3],
gravel, with little or no fines

Poorly graded gravel, sandy


GP - - 0 [1],[2], [3],
gravel, with little or no fines
Silty gravels, silty sandy
GM - - 0 [1],
gravels

Clayey gravels, clayey


GC - - 20 [1],
sandy gravels

Well graded sands, gravelly


SW - - 0 [1],[2], [3],
sands, with little or no fines

Poorly graded sands,


gravelly sands, with little or SP - - 0 [1],[2], [3],
no fines

Silty sands SM - - 22 [1],

Silty sands - Saturated


SM - - 50 [3],
compacted

Silty sands - Compacted SM - - 20 [3],

Clayey sands SC - - 5 [1],

Clayey sands - Compacted SC - - 74 [3],


Clayey sands -Saturated
SC - - 11 [3],
compacted

Loamy sand, sandy clay


SM, SC 50 75 [2],
Loam - compacted

Loamy sand, sandy clay


SM, SC 10 20 [2],
Loam - saturated

Sand silt clay with slightly


SM, SC - - 50 [3],
plastic fines - compacted

Sand silt clay with slightly


plastic fines - saturated SM, SC - - 14 [3],
compacted

Inorganic silts, silty or clayey


fine sands, with slight ML - - 7 [1],
plasticity
Inorganic silts and clayey
ML - - 67 [3],
silts - compacted

Inorganic silts and clayey


ML - - 9 [3],
silts - saturated compacted

Inorganic clays, silty clays,


CL - - 4 [1],
sandy clays of low plasticity

Inorganic clays, silty clays,


sandy clays of low plasticity CL - - 86 [3],
- compacted
Inorganic clays, silty clays,
sandy clays of low plasticity CL - - 13 [3],
- saturated compacted

Mixture if inorganic silt and


ML-CL - - 65 [3],
clay - compacted

Mixture if inorganic silt and


ML-CL - - 22 [3],
clay - saturated compacted

Organic silts and organic


OL - - 5 [1],
silty clays of low plasticity

Inorganic silts of high


MH - - 10 [1],
plasticity - compactd
Inorganic silts of high
plasticity - saturated MH - - 72 [3],
compacted

Inorganic silts of high


MH - - 20 [3],
plasticity

Inorganic clays of high


CH - - 25 [1],
plasticity

Inorganic clays of high


CH - - 103 [3],
plasticity - compacted

Inorganic clays of high


plasticity - satrated CH - - 11 [3],
compacted

Organic clays of high


OH - - 10 [1],
plasticity

ML, OL,
Loam - Compacted 60 90 [2],
MH, OH

ML, OL,
Loam - Saturated 10 20 [2],
MH, OH
ML, OL,
Silt Loam - Compacted 60 90 [2],
MH, OH

ML, OL,
Silt Loam - Saturated 10 20 [2],
MH, OH

ML, OL,
Clay Loam, Silty Clay Loam
CL, MH, 60 105 [2],
- Compaced
OH, CH

ML, OL,
Clay Loam, Silty Clay Loam
CL, MH, 10 20 [2],
- Saturated
OH, CH

OL, CL,
Silty clay, clay - compacted 90 105 [2],
OH, CH

OL, CL,
Silty clay, clay - saturated 10 20 [2],
OH, CH

Peat and other highly


Pt - -
organic soils

REFERENCES

1. Swiss Standard SN 670 010b, Characteristic Coefficients of soils, Association of


Swiss Road and Traffic Engineers

2. Minnesota Department of Transportation, Pavement Design, 2007


Soil friction angle

Geotechdata.info - Updated 14.12.2013

Soil friction angle is a shear strength parameter of soils. Its definition is derived from the
Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion and it is used to describe the friction shear resistance of
soils together with the normal effective stress.

In the stress plane of Shear stress-effective normal stress, the soil friction angle is the
angle of inclination with respect to the horizontal axis of the Mohr-Coulomb shear
resistance line.

Typical values of soil friction angle for different soils according to USCS

Some typical values of soil friction angle are given below for different USCS soil types at
normally consolidated condition unless otherwise stated. These values should be used
only as guidline for geotechnical problems; however, specific conition of each
engineering problem often needs to be considered for an appropriate choice of
geotechnical parameters.

Soil friction angle []


Description USCS Reference
min max Specific value
Well graded gravel, sandy
GW 33 40 [1],[2],
gravel, with little or no fines

Poorly graded gravel, sandy


GP 32 44 [1],
gravel, with little or no fines

(GW,
Sandy gravels - Loose 35 [3 cited in 6]
GP)

(GW,
Sandy gravels - Dense 50 [3 cited in 6]
GP)

Silty gravels, silty sandy


GM 30 40 [1],
gravels

Clayey gravels, clayey sandy


GC 28 35 [1],
gravels

Well graded sands, gravelly


SW 33 43 [1],
sands, with little or no fines

Well-graded clean sand,


SW - - 38 [3 cited in 6]
gravelly sands - Compacted
Well-graded sand, angular
(SW) 33 [3 cited in 6]
grains - Loose

Well-graded sand, angular


(SW) 45 [3 cited in 6]
grains - Dense

Poorly graded sands, gravelly


SP 30 39 [1], [2],
sands, with little or no fines

Poorly-garded clean sand -


SP - - 37 [3 cited in 6]
Compacted

Uniform sand, round grains -


(SP) 27 [3 cited in 6]
Loose

Uniform sand, round grains -


(SP) 34 [3 cited in 6]
Dense

Sand SW, SP 37 38 [7],


Loose sand (SW, SP) 29 30 [5 cited in 6]

Medium sand (SW, SP) 30 36 [5 cited in 6]

Dense sand (SW, SP) 36 41 [5 cited in 6]

Silty sands SM 32 35 [1],


Silty clays, sand-silt mix -
SM - - 34 [3 cited in 6]
Compacted

Silty sand - Loose SM 27 33 [3 cited in 6]

Silty sand - Dense SM 30 34 [3 cited in 6]

Clayey sands SC 30 40 [1],

Calyey sands, sandy-clay mix


SC 31 [3 cited in 6]
- compacted

Loamy sand, sandy clay


SM, SC 31 34 [7],
Loam

Inorganic silts, silty or clayey


fine sands, with slight ML 27 41 [1],
plasticity

Inorganic silt - Loose ML 27 30 [3 cited in 6]

Inorganic silt - Dense ML 30 35 [3 cited in 6]


Inorganic clays, silty clays,
CL 27 35 [1],
sandy clays of low plasticity

Clays of low plasticity -


CL 28 [3 cited in 6]
compacted

Organic silts and organic silty


OL 22 32 [1],
clays of low plasticity

Inorganic silts of high


MH 23 33 [1],
plasticity

Clayey silts - compacted MH 25 [3 cited in 6]

Silts and clayey silts -


ML 32 [3 cited in 6]
compacted

Inorganic clays of high


CH 17 31 [1],
plasticity

Clays of high plasticity -


CH 19 [3 cited in 6]
compacted
Organic clays of high
OH 17 35 [1],
plasticity

ML, OL,
Loam 28 32 [7],
MH, OH
ML, OL,
Silt Loam 25 32 [7],
MH, OH

ML, OL,
Clay Loam, Silty Clay Loam CL, MH, 18 32 [7],
OH, CH

OL, CL,
Silty clay 18 32 [7],
OH, CH
CL, CH,
Clay 18 28 [7],
OH, OL

Peat and other highly organic


Pt 0 10 [2],
soils