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Soil is defined as a natural aggregate of mineral grains, with or without organic constituents, that can
be separated by gentle mechanical means such as agitation in water. By contrast rock is considered
to be a natural aggregate of mineral grains connected by strong and permanent cohesive forces. The
process of weathering of the rock decreases the cohesive forces binding the mineral grains and leads
to the disintegration of bigger masses to smaller and smaller particles. Soils are formed by the
process of weathering of the parent rock. The weathering of the rocks might be by mechanical
disintegration, and/or chemical decomposition

In Civil Engineering soil is defined as, ‘the earth material that can be disaggregated in water by gentle
agitation’, Terzaghi K (1996).Soils are composed of water, air and solids with the proportions of
liquid and air varying with seasons and conditions. The solid particles are formed from the
weathering of rock surfaces. Size of soil particles ranges from micrometers to centimeters. Soils
textures vary from sandy soils to heavy clays .Some soils have decaying matter in them. According to
the Australian standards soils are divided into four main categories shown in the table below

Table 1-Type of soils soils can be divided into two large groups:

1. Residual soils, and 2. Transported soils.

Residual soils are those that remain at the place of their formation as a result of the weathering of
parent rocks. The depth of residual soils depends primarily on climatic conditions and the time of
exposure. In some areas, this depth might be considerable. In temperate zones residual soils are
commonly stiff and stable. An important characteristic of residual soil is that the sizes of grains are
indefinite. For example, when a residual sample is sieved, the amount passing any given sieve size
depends greatly on the time and energy expended in shaking, because of the partially disintegrated
condition. Transported soils are soils that are found at locations far removed from their place of
formation. The transporting agencies of such soils are glaciers, wind and water. The soils are named
according to the mode of transportation. Alluvial soils are those that have been transported by
running water. The soils that have been deposited in quiet lakes, are lacustrine soils. Marine soils are
those deposited in sea water. The soils transported and deposited by wind are aeolian soils. Those
deposited primarily through the action of gravitational force, as in land slides, are colluvial soils.
Glacial soils are those deposited by glaciers. Many of these transported soils are loose and soft to a
depth of several hundred feet. Therefore, difficulties with foundations and other types of
construction are generally associated with transported soils.

Organic and Inorganic Soils Soils in general are further classified as organic or inorganic. Soils of
organic origin are chiefly formed either by growth and subsequent decay of plants such as peat, or
by the accumulation of fragments of the inorganic skeletons or shells of organisms. Hence a soil of
organic origin can be either organic or inorganic. The term organic soil ordinarily refers to a
transported soil consisting of the products of rock weathering with a more or less conspicuous
admixture of decayed vegetable matter.

Gravel coarse 60-20mm Medium 20-6mm fine 6-2mm Silt

Coarse 2-0.6mm

Medium 0.6-0.2mm Fine 0.2-0.06mm Sand Coarse 0.06-0.02mm Medium 0.02-0.006mm Fine 0.006-
0.002mm Clay Less than 0.002mm
Air content and water content are always changing in the soil. Size particles also change with
continued weathering. The changes in soil components results in changes in soil properties.


Comparative studies of stabilising soil by using cement and lime Page 8

In engineering there is need to consider the properties of the soil to make sure they suit with the
requirements for engineering work.

The concept of improving engineering soil properties has been practiced since early centuries. Soil
stabilization is one of the methods that have been used to alter soil properties. Stabilization is mainly
used to change the strength of the soil. According to Metcalf, 1977 soil stabilization refers to the
alteration of soil properties in order to obtain long-term properties that are compatible with
engineering application. The main types of stabilization that have been practiced are mechanical
compaction (physical stabilization) and use of binders (chemical stabilization).Mechanical
stabilization refers to improving soil properties by compacting the target soil thereby decreasing soil
porosity and increasing density. Adding binders such as cement, lime and bitumen changes soil
properties when the water in the soil reacts with the chemical components of the binders.

The main objectives for soil stabilization are:

To provide cost effective ways to improve engineering properties of soils Improve strength and
durability Changes in mechanical properties such as density and porosity Provide soil waterproof
or enable mitigation of water Improve soil’s workability

For engineering purposes soil is best considered as a naturally (mostly) occurring particulate material
of variable composition having properties of compressibility, permeability and strength (see also Soil
mechanics glossary on the CD). All soils originate, directly or indirectly, from solid rocks and these
are classified according to their mode of formation as follows: Igneous rocks, formed by cooling from
hot molten material ('magma') within or on the surface of the earth's crust, e.g. granite, basalt,
do!erite, andesite, gabbro, syenite, porphyry. Sedimerztary rocks, formed in layers from sediments
settling in bodies of water, such as seas and lakes, e.g. limestone, sandstone, mudstone, shale,
conglomerate. Metamorphic rocks, formed by alteration of existing rocks due to: (a) extreme heat,
e.g. marble, quartzite, or (b) extreme pressure, e.g. slate, schist. The processes that convert solid
rocks into soils take place at, or near, the earth's surface and, although they are complex, the
following controlling factors are apparent: (a) Nature and composition of the parent rock. (b)
Climatic conditions, particularly temperature and humidity. (c) Topographic and general terrain
conditions, such as degree of shelter or exposure, density and type of vegetation, etc. (d) Length of
time related to particular prevailing conditions.

Careful consideration of the soil-type specific to your building site will help to ensure the stability of
your foundation and integrity of your house for years to come. Unstable soil will need to be
stabilized, most likely through mechanical compaction, and at a potentially high price. Obtain geo-
technical surveys first and foremost, to determine whether your chosen site is practical or cost

Site-specific soil analysis is recommended before construction begins.

Cohesive Soils

Comprised of silt and clay, this soil type, without proper assessment and alteration may prove a real
problem as a foundation due to its tendency to shrink and swell. Careful drainage methods must be
considered, because clay's dense, tightly bound nature is impenetrable by water when compacted.
In some cases, clay or silt would need to be removed before building. In others, soil amendments
and subsoil analysis may ensure structural integrity. Consider associated costs involved with
cohesive soil foundations before proceeding.

Granular Soils

Including soils with high sand and/or gravel content, granular soils are generally suitable for building,
considering that they are still penetrable by water upon compaction. The installation of a
containment wall may be necessary to prevent shifting. Particle size is important in the
consideration of granular soils. Consult your local geological survey experts before building.

Organic Soils

Including marshy soils and soils high in peat content and decaying vegetable matter, organic soils are
generally not recommended for building a foundation on. Organic soils tend to absorb and hold
excessive moisture and exhibit sponge-like consistency. For this reason, geological surveys will
generally steer you clear of building on such a site.

1. Soil Type: Sandy

Sandy soil has the largest particles among the different soil types. It’s dry and gritty to the touch, and
because the particles have huge spaces between them, it can’t hold on to water.

Water drains rapidly, straight through to places where the roots, particularly those of seedlings,
cannot reach. Plants don’t have a chance of using the nutrients in sandy soil more efficiently as
they’re swiftly carried away by the runoff.

The upside to sandy soil is that it’s light to work with and warms much more quickly in the spring.

Testing what type of soil you’re working with involves moistening the soil and rolling it into a ball to
check the predominating soil particle. When you roll the slightly wet sandy soil in your palms, no ball
should be formed and it crumbles through your fingers easily.

2. Soil Type: Silty

Silty soil has much smaller particles than sandy soil so it’s smooth to the touch. When moistened, it’s
soapy slick. When you roll it between your fingers, dirt is left on your skin.

Silty soil retains water longer, but it can’t hold on to as much nutrients as you’d want it to though it’s
fairly fertile. Due to its moisture-retentive quality, silty soil is cold and drains poorly.
Silty soil can also easily compact, so avoid trampling on it when working your garden. It can become
poorly aerated, too.

3. Soil Type: Clay

Clay soil has the smallest particles among the three so it has good water storage qualities. It’s sticky
to the touch when wet, but smooth when dry.

Due to the tiny size of its particles and its tendency to settle together, little air passes through its
spaces. Because it’s also slower to drain, it has a tighter hold on plant nutrients. Clay soil is thus rich
in plant food for better growth.

Clay soil is cold and in the spring, takes time to warm since the water within also has to warm up.
The downside is that clay soil could be very heavy to work with when it gets dry. Especially during
the summer months, it could turn hard and compact, making it difficult to turn. (When clay soil is
worked while it’s too wet though, it’s prone to damage).

If moistened soil feels sticky, rolls up easily, and forms into a ball or sausage-like shape, then you’ve
got yourself clay.

4. Soil Type: Peaty

Peaty soil is dark brown or black in color, soft, easily compressed due to its high water content, and
rich in organic matter. Peat soil started forming over 9,000 years ago, with the rapid melting of
glaciers. This rapid melt drowned plants quickly and died in the process. Their decay was so slow
underwater that it led to the accumulation of organic area in a concentrated spot.

Although peat soil tends to be heavily saturated with water, once drained, it turns into a good
growing medium. In the summer though, peat could be very dry and become a fire hazard. (I kid you
not—peat is the precursor of coal.) The most desirable quality of peat soil, however, is in its ability to
hold water in during the dry months and its capacity to protect the roots from damage during very
wet months.

Peat contains acidic water, but growers use it to regulate soil chemistry or pH levels as well as an
agent of disease control for the soil.

When wet peat soil is rolled, you won’t form a ball. It’s spongy to the touch and when squeezed,
water could be forced out.

5. Soil Type: Saline Soil

The soil in extremely dry regions is usually brackish because of its high salt content. Known as saline
soil, it can cause damage to and stall plant growth, impede germination, and cause difficulties in

The salinity is due to the buildup of soluble salts in the rhizosphere—high salt contents prevent
water uptake by plants, leading to drought stress.

It’s easy enough to test if you have saline soil. You’ll probably see a white layer coating the surface of
the soil, your plants are growing poorly, and they’re suffering from leaf tip burn, especially on young
The civil engineering structures like building, bridge, highway, tunnel, dam, tower, etc. are founded
below or on the surface of the earth. For their stability, suitable foundation soil is required. To check
the suitability of soil to be used as foundation or as construction materials, its properties are
required to be assessed [1]. As per different researchers [2, 3], assessment of geotechnical
properties of subsoil at project site is necessary for generating relevant input data for design and
construction of foundations for the proposed structures. Researchers [4-7] have stated that proper
design and construction of civil engineering structures prevent an adverse environmental impact or
structural failure or post construction problems.

Information about the surface and sub-surface features is essential for the design of structures and
for planning construction techniques. When buildings impose very heavy loads and the zone of
influence is very deep, it would be desirable to invest some amount on sub-surface exploration than
to overdesign the building and make it costlier. For complex projects involving heavy structures, such
as bridges, dams, multi-storey buildings, it is essential to have detail exploration. The purpose of
detailed explorations is to determine the engineering properties of the soils for different strata [8].

When the foundations of any structure are constructed on compressible soil, it leads to settlement.
Knowledge of the rate at which the compression of the soil takes place is essential from design
consideration. The properties of the soil such as plasticity, compressibility or strength of the soil
always affect the design in the construction. Lack of understanding of the properties of the soil can
lead to the construction errors. The suitability of soil for a particular use should be determined based
on its engineering characteristics and not on visual inspection or apparent similarity to other soils.
The loading capability of soil depends upon the type of soil. Generally, fine grained soils have a
relative smaller capacity in bearing of load than the coarser grained soils [9].

Plasticity index and liquid limit are the important factors that help an engineer to understand the
consistency or plasticity of clay. Though shearing strength constants at liquid limits but varies for
plastic limits for all clays [10]. Permeability influences the civil engineering structures. As per Karsten
et al. [11], the shear strength of soils is of special relevance among geotechnical soil properties
because it is one of the essential parameters for analyzing and solving stability problems (calculating
earth pressure, the bearing capacity of footings and foundations, slope stability or stability of
embankments and earth dams). Considering these, interactions among different geotechnical
properties and their influences on civil engineering structures have been discussed in this paper.

2. Geotechnical Properties of Soils

Different geotechnical property of soils has different influence on the civil engineering structures.
They also depends upon each other. The properties are discussed as under:

2.1. Specific Gravity

Specific gravity is the ratio of the mass of soil solids to the mass of an equal volume of water. It is an
important index property of soils that is closely linked with mineralogy or chemical composition [12]
and also reflects the history of weathering [13]. It is relatively important as far as the qualitative
behavior of the soil is concerned [14] and useful in soil mineral classification, for example iron
minerals have a larger value of specific gravity than silicas [15]. It gives an idea about suitability of
the soil as a construction material; higher value of specific gravity gives more strength for roads and
foundations. It is also used in calculation of void ratio, porosity, degree of saturation and other soil
parameters [16]. Typical values of specific gravity are given in Table 1.
Table 1. Typical values of specific gravity (Bowles, 2012)

Based on the study, Roy and Dass [17] found that increase in specific gravity can increase the shear
strength parameters (cohesion and angle of shearing resistance). Roy [18] observed that increase in
specific gravity also increases the Calfornia bearing ratio i.e. strength of the subgrade materials used
in road construction.

2.2. Density Index

The degree of compaction of fine grained soils is measured in relation to maximum dry density for a
certain compactive effort, like 90% of light compaction density or proctor density. But in case of
coarse grained soils, a different sort of index is used for compaction. Depending upon the shape,
size, and gradation of soil grains, coarse grained soils can remain in two extreme states of
compaction, namely in the loosest and densest states. Any intermediate state of compaction can be
compared to these two extreme states using an index called relative density or density index. The
soil characteristics based on relative density are shown in Table 2 [19].

Table 2. Characteristics of soils based on relative density

Density index is expressed in percent and is defined as the ratio of the difference between the void
ratio of a cohesionless soil in the loosest state and any given void ratio to the difference between its
void ratios in the loosest and the densest states [20]. It is a measure of the degree of compactness,
and the stability of a stratum [14].

As per Apparao and Rao [21], relative density is an arbitrary character of sandy deposit. In real
sense, it expresses the ratio of actual decrease in volume of voids in a sandy soil to the maximum
possible decrease in volume of voids i.e. how far the sand under investigation can capable to the
further densification beyond its natural state. Its determination is helpful in compaction of coarse
grained soils and in evaluating safe bearing capacity of sandy soils.

2.3. Consistency Limits

The consistency of a fine-grained soil is largely influenced by the water content of the soil. A gradual
decrease in water content of a fine-grained soil slurry causes the soil to pass from the liquid state to
a plastic state, from the plastic state to a semi-solid state, and finally to the solid state. The water
contents at these changes of state are different for different soils. The water contents that
correspond to these changes of state are called the Atterberg limits. The water contents
corresponding to transition from one state to the next are known as the liquid limit, the plastic limit
and the shrinkage limit [19].

The liquid limit of a soil is the water content, expressed as percentage of the weight of the oven
dried soil, at the boundary between the liquid and plastic states of consistency of the soil [22]. The
soil has negligibly small shear strength [19]. The plastic limit of a soil is the water content, expressed
as a percentage of the weight of oven dried soil, at the boundary between the plastic and semi-solid
states of consistency of the soil [22].

The plastic limit for different soils has a narrow range of numerical values. Sand has no plastic stage,
but very fine sand exhibits slight plasticity. The plastic limit is an important soil property. Earth roads
are easily usable at this water content. Excavation work and agricultural cultivation can be carried
out with the least effort with soils at the plastic limit. Soil is said to be in the plastic range when it
possesses water content in between liquid limit and plastic limit. The range of the plastic state is
given by the difference between liquid limit and plastic limit and is defined as the plasticity index.
The plasticity index is used in soil classification and in various correlations with other soil properties
as a basic soil characteristic [14]. Based on the plasticity index, the soils were classified by Atterberg,
shows the correlations between the plasticity index, soil type, degree of plasticity and degree of
cohesiveness (Table 3) [16].

Table 3. Types of soils based on plasticity index

Skempton [23] observed that the plasticity index of a soil increases linearly with the percentage of
the clay-sized fraction. Laskar and Pal [1] found that plasticity depends on grain size of soil. With the
increase of sand content plasticity index of soil decreases, which might be due to decrease of inter
molecular attraction force. Due to decrease of attraction force, liquid limit of the soil decreases and
accordingly plasticity index decreases. But as the clay content increases inter molecular attraction
force increases and liquid limit increases.

The shrinkage limit is the maximum water content expressed as a percentage of oven-dried weight
at which any further reduction in water content will not cause a decrease in volume of the soil mass,
the soil mass being prepared initially from remolded soil [24]. The finer the particles of the soil, the
greater are the amount of shrinkage. Soils that contain montmorillonite clay mineral shrink more.
Such soils shrink heterogeneously during summer, as a result of which cracks develop on the surface.
Further, these soils imbibe more and more water during the monsoon and swell. Soils that shrink
and swell are categorized as expansive soils. Indian black cotton soils belong to this group [14].
According to Prakash and Jain [16], the value of shrinkage limit is used for understanding the
swelling and shrinkage properties of cohesive soils. It is used for calculating the shrinkage factors
which helps in the design problems of the structures made of the soils or/and resting on soil. It gives
an idea about the suitability of the soil as a construction material in foundations, roads,
embankments and dams. It helps in knowing the state of given soil.

As per Ersoy et al. [25], consistency is an important property and is a useful measure for the
processing of very fine clayey soils. Plasticity and cohesion reflect the soil consistency and
workability of the soils. However, these properties of the soils play an essential role in many
engineering projects, such as the construction of the clay core in an earth fill dam, the construction
of a layer of low permeability covering a deposit of polluted material, the design of foundations,
retaining walls and slab bridges, and determining the stability of the soil on a slope.

Agbede et al. [40] conducted the study at University of Ibadan (UI), Nigeria. The building under study
was two storey with basement complex and housed offices, classrooms, a laboratory, library and a
computer room. This building is located in a flat, low terrain with an upper layer of loose lateritic
clayey soils while the underlying soil is sandy soil mixed with silty clay material. The cracks were
observed due to expansive soil supporting the foundation of the building. The soil foundation
contains high amount of clay with high plasticity index.

2.4. Particle Size Analysis

The percentage of different sizes of soil particles coarser than 75 µ is determined by sieve analysis
whereas less than 75 µ are determined by hydrometer analysis. Based on the particle size analysis,
particle size distribution curves are plotted. The particle size distribution curve (gradation curve)
represents the distribution of particles of different sizes in the soil mass [26]. It gives an idea
regarding the gradation of the soil i.e. it is possible to identify whether a soil is well graded or poorly
graded. In mechanical soil stabilization, the main principle is to mix a few selected soils in such a
proportion that a desired grain size distribution is obtained for the design mix. Hence for
proportioning the selected soils, the grain size distribution of each soil is required to be known [16].

Apparao and Rao [21] explained that the grain size analysis is widely used in classification of soils.
The data obtained from grain size distribution curves is used in the design of filters for earth dams
and to determine suitability of soil for road construction, air fields, etc. Raj [14] stated that the
particle size of sands and silts has some practical value in design of filters and in the assessment of
permeability, capillarity, and frost susceptibility. Very relevant and useful information may be
obtained from grain size curve such as (i) the total percentage of larger or finer particles than a given
size and (ii) the uniformity or the range in grain-size distribution.

Bowles [15] found that particle-size is one of the suitability criteria of soils for roads, airfield, levee,
dam, and other embankment construction. Information obtained from particle-size analysis can be
used to predict soil-water movement, although permeability tests are more generally used. The
susceptibility to frost action in soil, an extremely important consideration in colder climates, can be
predicted from the particle-size analysis. Very fine soil particles are easily carried in suspension by
percolating soil water, and under drainage systems are rapidly filled with sediments unless they are
properly surrounded by a filter made of appropriately graded granular materials. The proper
gradation of this filter material can be predicted from the particle-size analysis. Particle-size of the
filter materials must be larger than the soil being protected so that the filter pores could permit
passage of water but collect the smaller soil particles from suspension.
As per Dafalla [27], the sand shape whether rounded, subrounded, or angular will affect the shearing
strength of soil. Angular grains provide more interlock and increased shear resistance. The gradation
and size of the sand affect the shear resistance. Well-graded materials provide more grain to grain
area contact than poorly graded materials. Porosity and spaces available for clay within the sand is
an important while considering the mixtures of clays and sands.

2.5. Compaction

Soil compaction is one of the ground improvement techniques. It is a process in which by expending
compactive energy on soil, the soil grains are more closely rearranged. Compaction increases the
shear strength of soil and reduces its compressibility and permeability [19, 21].

Murthy [10] explained that when an earth dam is properly compacted, the shear strength of the
material is increased and dam becomes more stable. Since the soil becomes dense, its permeability
gets decreased. The decrease in the permeability of the dam decreases the seepage loss of the
water stored. The settlement of the dam also decreases due to the increase in the density of the

According to Prakash and Jain [16], compaction of soils increases the density, shear strength, bearing
capacity but reduces their void ratio, porosity, permeability and settlements. The results are useful
in the stability of field problems like earthen dams, embankments, roads and airfields. The moisture
content at which the soils are compacted in the field is controlled by the value of optimum moisture
content determined by the laboratory proctor compaction test. The compaction energy applied in
the field is also controlled by the maximum dry density determined in the laboratory.

Durgunoglu et al. [42] used heavy dynamic compaction method for the compaction of foundation
subsoil of Carrefoursa Hypermarket and Trade Center in Bursa, Turkey. In order to increase the
bearing capacity of the foundations sub soils as well as to control the total and differential
settlements underneath the foundations.

A mega water (208 MLD) supply project was undertaken by Guwahati Metropolitan Development
Authority (GMDA) funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for central Guwahati
region, India. Mechanical compaction of foundation soil using road roller were observed to be
adequate for the construction of foundation [43].

2.6. Consolidation

When a soil layer is subjected to compressive stress due to construction activities, it undergoes
compression. The compression is caused by rearrangement of particles, seepage of water, crushing
of particles, and elastic distortions. Settlement of a structure is analyzed for three reasons:
appearance of structure, utility of the structure, and damage to the structure. The aesthetic view of
a structure can be spoiled due to the presence of cracks or tilt of the structure caused by settlement.
Settlement caused to a structure can damage some of the utilities like cranes, drains, pumps,
electrical lines etc. Further settlement can cause a structure to fail structurally and collapse.
Settlement is the combination of time-independent (e.g. immediate compression) and time-
dependent compression (called consolidation) [14].

According to Prakash and Jain [16], the main aim of a consolidation test is to obtain soil data which
are used in predicting the rate and amount of settlement of structure founded on clay primarily due
to volume change of the clay. The information obtained for foundations resting on clay are: (i) total
settlement of foundation under any given load, (ii) time required for total settlement due to primary
consolidation, (iii) settlement for any given time and load, (iv) time required for any percentage of
total settlement or consolidation, and (v) pressure due to which soil already has been

Abeele [28] explained that lowering of water table or dewatering is probably the best known cause
of massive settlement. When submerged, soil particles are subjected to buoyancy. Upon dewatering,
the buoyancy is removed and the apparent increase in pressure results in consolidation, even
though there is no increase in external load. Vibrations can also have a densification effect on soils
and lead to subsequent settlement. The effects can be severe when the vibration frequency matches
the soil's natural frequency. Soils often fail and settle disastrously as a result of earthquakes.
Devastating landslides are often one of the results of such occurrences. Of the three phases of soil,
only the solid phase controls the resistance to compression and shear. Water, present in a moist soil
is highly incompressible but as a liquid, is not capable of resisting shear loads. Air, present in
unsaturated soils, will not support compression or shear loads.

Head [29] stated that in a saturated soil, compression will be primarily caused by expulsion of water
out of the soil voids. Under the influence of an externally applied load, the expulsion of water from
the voids is highly dependent on the permeability of the medium. The extremely low permeability in
the case of clay leads to a slow void contraction. The compression of saturated, low permeability
layers under a static pressure is known as consolidation. The consolidation rate depends on the
compressibility of the soil (rate of decrease in volume with stress) and soil permeability, which in
turn, is dependent on the viscosity of the liquid. An increase in temperature increases the
consolidation rate but does not affect total amount of consolidation.

Based on the study, Koçak and Köksal [30] found that among other reasons, the effect of the railway
as one of the big contributors to the settlement of the Little Hagia Sophia Mosque (Church of St.
Sergius and Bacchus) – Istanbul, Turkey. They found that the railway, which was operational for 50
years at 5 m away from the mosque, caused bricks to fall from the nearby wall when trains were
passing by. The influence of the railway can increase the settlement with weak soil and high water
level. Yardım and Mustafaraj [31] also found that settlement is triggered by earthquakes, frequent
changes in underground water level caused by the river base change, changes of ground water level
due to surrounding drainage system and constant vibrations generated by the adjacent motorway
and railway.

Naik et al. [2011] carried out settlement study for a Institutional Building located in South Goa, India,
which developed cracks when the construction had reached till the plinth beam level. It was found
that some foundations were located above the natural ground at a depth of 2 m in unconsolidated
filled up ground of an abandoned laterite stone quarry, where SPT (Standard penetration Test) was
found to be less than 12, which resulted for differential settlement. This differential settlement was
observed towards the front left corner of the Building which was lying on the filled up ground. The
differential settlement led to cracks in the plinth beam and Foundation Concrete.

2.7. Permeability

The amount, distribution, and movement of water in soil have an important role on the properties
and behavior of soil. The engineer should know the principles of fluid flow, as groundwater
conditions are frequently encountered on construction projects. Water pressure is always measured
relative to atmospheric pressure, and water table is the level at which the pressure is atmospheric.
Soil mass is divided into two zones with respect to the water table: (i) below the water table (a
saturated zone with 100% degree of saturation) and (ii) just above the water table (called the
capillary zone with degree of saturation ≤ 100%) [14].
Data from field permeability tests are needed in the design of various civil engineering works, such
as cut-off wall design of earth dams, to ascertain the pumping capacity for dewatering excavations
and to obtain aquifer constants [14]. The permeability of soils has a decisive effect on the stability of
foundations, seepage loss through embankments of reservoirs, drainage of subgrades, excavation of
open cuts in water bearing sand, and rate of flow of water into wells [10].

Prakash and Jain [16] explained that water flowing through soil exerts considerable seepage forces,
which have direct effect on the safety of hydraulic structures. The rate of settlement of compressible
clay layer under load depends on its permeability. The quantity of stored water escaping through
and beneath an earthen dam depends on the permeability of the embankment and the foundation
respectively. The rate of drainage of water through wells and excavated foundation pits depends on
the coefficient of permeability of the soils. Shear strength of soils also depends indirectly on its
permeability, because dissipation of pore pressure is controlled by its permeability. According to U.
S. Bureau of Reclamation, soils are classified as (i) Impervious: k (coefficient of permeability) less
than 10-6 cm/sec, (ii) Semi pervious: k between 10-6 to 10-4 cm/sec (iii) Pervious: k greater than 10-
4 cm/sec.

The Hsinchu is located from north to south along the west coastal plain of Taiwan. Taiwan is a
seismically active region and has governing seismic design criteria similar to those used in the
International Building Code (IBC). At the foundation construction site, different layers were found at
different depth like fill (soft, silty clay with variable amounts of sand, gravel, and organic material)
clay (medium stiff to stiff, silty clay) Gravel/Cobble. The hydraulic conductivity (permeability) varied
accordingly. The use of permanent drainage systems under the floor slab to draw down the
groundwater table allowed the buildings to be supported on the more cost effective shallow
footings and slab-on-grade floors [44].

2.8. Shear Strength

The shear resistance of soil is the result of friction and the interlocking of particles and possibly
cementation or bonding at the particle contacts. The shear strength parameters of soils are defined
as cohesion and the friction angle. The shear strength of soil depends on the effective stress,
drainage conditions, density of the particles, rate of strain, and direction of the strain. Thus, the
shearing strength is affected by the consistency of the materials, mineralogy, grain size distribution,
shape of the particles, initial void ratio and features such as layers, joints, fissures and cementation
[32]. The shear strength parameters of a granular soil are directly correlated to the maximum
particle size, the coefficient of uniformity, the density, the applied normal stress, and the gravel and
fines content of the sample. It can be said that the shear strength parameters are a result of the
frictional forces of the particles, as they slide and interlock during shearing [33]. Soil containing
particles with high angularity tend to resist displacement and hence possess higher shearing
strength compared to those with less angular particles [34].

Different researchers [14, 16, 19] explained that the capability of a soil to support a loading from a
structure, or to support its overburden, or to sustain a slope in equilibrium is governed by its shear
strength. The shear strength of a soil is of prime importance for foundation design, earth and rock fill
dam design, highway and airfield design, stability of slopes and cuts, and lateral earth pressure
problems. It is highly complex because of various factors involved in it such as the heterogeneous
nature of the soil, the water table location, the drainage facility, the type and nature of construction,
the stress history, time, chemical action, or environmental conditions.
As per Prakash and Jain [16], confining pressures play the significant role in changing the behavior of
soils in deep foundations. Similarly in high rise earth dams, the confining pressures are of very high
magnitude. Triaxial test is the only test to simulate these confining pressures. For short term stability
of foundations, dams and slopes, shear strength parameters for unconsolidated undrained or
consolidated undrained conditions are used, while for long term stability shear parameters
corresponding to consolidated drained conditions give more reliable results.

Akayuli et al. [35] found that the friction angle is high for a sandy soil than its cohesion and vice versa
for clayey soil. Shanyoug et al. [36] in their study concluded that there is a general increase in
cohesion with clay content. As more clay is introduced into the sandy materials, the clay particles fill
the void spaces in between the sand particles and begin to induce the sand with interlocking
behavior. Hence, clayey sand soils are expected to exhibit low cohesion whereas the cohesion
increases with high clay content.

Dafalla [27] observed that the mineralogy can have a major role in the shearing strength capacity of
clays. The cementation between particles can either be due to a chemical bond or physicochemical
bond. Swelling and shrinkage in expansive soils are of two extreme opposite effects on the shearing
strength. The shear strength is generally low for fully expanded clay while dry shrinking clay is
capable of developing higher cohesion and angle of internal friction. The study indicated that
choosing the appropriate mix or using appropriate quantity of clay, can help to achieve required
shear strength. Very moist clay-sand mixture showed steep drop in both cohesion and angle of
internal friction when the clay content is high.

According to Murthy [10] and El-Maksoud [37], cohesion is mainly due to the intermolecular bond
between the adsorbed water surrounding each grain, especially in fine-grained soils. As per
Mollahasani et al. [38], the soils with high plasticity like clayey soils have higher cohesion and lower
angle of shearing resistance. Conversely, as the soil grain size increases like sands, the soil cohesion

During two case studies of embankment dams in Iran, Karmi et al. [41] found that for large dams,
internal friction angle has more critical role in stability analysis than cohesion parameter.

3. Concluding Remarks

Researchers found that different geotechnical properties of soils have different behavior on the
structures. Higher the specific gravity, higher will be the load carrying capacity of soils. Density index
is used for the compaction of coarse grained soils. Consistency limits indicate the properties of fine
grained soils; accordingly fine grained soils can be used for the construction of low permeable layer
for disposal of solid wastes and core in earth dams. Particle size shows the gradation of soils, which
helps in construction of roads, dams, embankments, design of filters, etc. Compaction improves the
bearing capacity of soils. Consolidation properties of soils indicate the settlement of structures.
Permeability gives the idea about the stability of foundations, seepage through embankments, etc.
Shear strength is the most important geotechnical property of soils, help in stability of civil
engineering structures on or below the earth. The interactions among different geotechnical
properties of soils can help the researchers while designing the foundations for different types of
civil engineering structures.
The study of the chemical and physical properties of soil helps in managing resources while working
with a particular kind of soil. Not all soils have similar properties, and working with them requires
understanding soil properties in detail.

 Understanding the chemical and physical properties of soil means understanding the soil
behavior under different temperature and pressure conditions. Soil mass is always subjected
to changing temperature and pressure forces and, depending upon the chemical and
physical properties of the soil mass, the necessary actions will be taken. For agricultural and
construction purposes, soil properties need to be studied to increase the productivity of soil
and to improve the workability of the soil mass, so knowing soil behavior inside out is very

Soil properties can broadly be divided into two major categories depending upon their properties
achieved during soil formation process.

 The physical properties of soil

 The chemical properties of soil

 Physical Properties of Soil

 Here are some of the physical properties of soil:

 Soil Texture
 The texture of soil is based on the size distribution of the constituent particles. In
simple terms, the relative percentage of clay, sand, and silt in a soil mass determines
its texture. Furthermore, the soil texture determines the water retention capacity of a
soil sample. Sand particles have the largest diameter, whereas clay particles have
smallest diameter, among the three soil constituent particles. The American
Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) and the USDA divide soil texture
into twelve classes which are shown in the corresponding figure. Depending upon the
percentage of sand, silt and clay in soil, it is defined as coarse, fine, or medium
aggregate soil.
 Soil Structure
 Soil structure refers to the arrangement of sand, silt, and clay particles within a soil
mass. Air and water movement through a soil mass directly depends upon the
structure of soil mass. Symmetry leads to stability, so if a soil mass has symmetrical
or good structure, water and air movement through it will be smooth. However, if the
structure is asymmetrical, water and air movement will not be smooth and the soil
will be unstable. By knowing soil structure, the moisture content of the soil mass can
be worked on, which is equally important for engineering and agricultural works.
 Color of Soil
 Generally speaking, soils are classified as dark and light colored soils. By looking at
the color of a soil mass, a rough idea of the moisture content of the soil, drainage
properties, and degree of oxidation can be obtained. A dark color reflects poor
drainage, high organic content, and low annual temperatures. On the other hand, light
colored soils have better drainage, high annual temperatures, and highly leached
conditions. However, these are rough estimates that only help engineers and
agriculturists to adopt suitable measures to study soil properties in detail.
  Permeability and Porosity of Soil
 The ease with which soil will allow water to pass through it is called permeability,
which is a very useful value for civil engineers. Constructing a building on highly
permeable soil means that water proofing techniques have to be put in place before
digging a foundation or raising columns. On the other hand, the porosity of a soil
mass means the pore space or void space in a soil mass. It affects the strength of a soil
mass and it depends upon other physical properties of the soil like texture, structure,
and presence of organic matter in soil.
  Chemical Properties of Soil

 Chemical properties of soil are discussed in this part.

 Acidity of Soil (pH)
 From an engineering as well as an agricultural point of view, determination of the pH
of the soil mass is essential. For healthy plants to grow, the acidic and basic nature of
soil must be known. On the other hand, for construction works, highly acidic soil will
affect the bitumen stability of roads and have adverse effects on concrete strength.
(Salinity of soils will also increase maintenance costs.)
 Silicate Clay Presence
 The presence of silicate clay materials affects the chemical properties of soil mass.
Clay particles have a large surface area and are the finest materials present in a soil
mass. Clay particle increase the reactivity of a soil mass and affect the stability of the
soil mass by forming compounds with external materials. Determination of silicate
clay presence is important to find out the reactivity of the soil mass and its
compatibility with admixtures and construction materials used with concrete.
 Cation exchange capacity and the presence of organic matter are two other chemical
properties of soils.
  Index Properties Determination

 Shrinkage characteristics, liquid limit, plastic limit, and different densities of soil are
called the index properties of soil mass. These properties are determined using
different laboratory index test methods. Collectively these properties are known as
Atterberg Limits and are valid only for fine grained soils.
 The plastic limit of a soil mass, or the point at which a soil ceases to be plastic and
starts to crumble, is determined using the Casagrande method (apparatus shown
adjacent), which also helps in the determination of the liquid limit of soil

mass. Knowing these properties helps in calculating shear

stress actions on soil mass and the behaviour of the soil in changing moisture
Soil Stabilization | Why Soil Stabilization is Used and Methods Used for Soil

Soil stabilization is the process which is used to improve the engineering properties of the
soil and thus making it more stable. Soil stabilization is a method of improving soil properties
by blending and mixing other materials. Soil stabilization is required when the soil available
for construction is not suitable for the intended purpose. It includes compaction, pre-
consolidation, drainage and many other such processes.

Uses of Soil Stabilization

It is used for many purposes. It increases different soil properties as listed below.

1. Soil stabilization is used to reduce the permeability and compressibility of the soil
mass in earth structures and to increase its shear strength.
2. It is used to increase the bearing capacity of foundation soils.
3. It is used to improve the natural soils for the construction of highway and airfields.
4. It is also used to make an area trafficable within a short period of time for emergency
5. Soil stabilization is used to increase the unit weight of the soil.
6. It helps to decrease the void ratio of the soil.
7. Stabilization of soil increases the shear strength of soil.

Soil Stabilization Methods

Different soil stabilization techniques are used all over the world. These
soil stabilization methods are listed below.
1. Cement stabilization
2. Lime stabilization
3. Chemical stabilization
4. Bituminous stabilization
5. Grouting concrete stabilization
6. Geotextile stabilization
7. Reinforced earth stabilization.

The ground can be improved by adapting certain ground improvement techniques. Vibro-
compaction increases the density of the soil by using powerful depth vibrators. Vacuum
consolidation is used for improving soft soils by using a vacuum pump.
Preloading method is used to remove pore water over time. Heating is used to form a
crystalline or glass product by electric current. Ground freezing converts pore water to ice to
increase their combined strength and make them impervious. Vibro-replacement stone
columns improve the bearing capacity of soil whereas Vibro displacement method displaces
the soil. Electro osmosis makes water flow through fine grained soils.
Electro kinetic stabilization is the application of electro osmosis. Reinforced soil steel is used
for retaining structures, sloping walls, dams etc. seismic loading is suited for construction in
seismically active regions. Mechanically stabilized earth structures create a reinforced soil
The geo methods like Geosynthetics, Geogrid etc. are discussed. Soil nailing increases the
shear strength of the in-situ soil and restrains its displacement. Micro pile gives the structural
support and used for repair/replacement of existing foundations.
Grouting is injection of pumpable materials to increase its rigidity. The jet grouting is quite
advanced in speed as well as techniques when compared with the general grouting.

Rapid urban and industrial growth demands more land for further development. In order to
meet this demand land reclamation and utilization of unsuitable and environmentally affected
lands have been taken up. These, hitherto useless lands for construction have been converted
to be useful ones by adopting one or more ground improvement techniques. The field of
ground improvement techniques has been recognized as an important and rapidly expanding
Latest Ground Improvement Techniques
Following are the recent methods of ground improvement Techniques used for stabilization
of soil:
 Vibro Compaction
 Vacuum Consolidation
 Preloading of soil
 Soil stabilization by heating or vitrification
 Ground freezing
 Vibro-replacement stone columns
 Mechanically stabilized earth structures
 Soil nailing
 Micro-piles
 Grouting
Vibro-Compaction Method of Ground Improvement

Vibro-compaction, sometimes referred to as Vibroflotation, is the rearrangement of soil

particles into a denser configuration by the use of powerful depth vibration. Vibro
Compaction is a ground improvement process for densifying loose sands to create stable
foundation soils.
The principle behind vibro compaction is simple. The combined action of vibration and water
saturation by jetting rearranges loose sand grains into a more compact state. Vibro
Compaction is performed with specially-designed vibrating probes. Both horizontal and
vertical modes of vibration have been used in the past.
The vibrators used by Terra Systems consist of torpedo-shaped probes 12 to 16 inches in
diameter which vibrates at frequencies typically in the range of 30 to 50 Hz. The probe is first
inserted into the ground by both jetting and vibration. After the probe reaches the required
depth of compaction, granular material, usually sand, is added from the ground surface to fill
the void space created by the vibrator. A compacted radial zone of granular material is
Advantages of Vibro Compaction Method:
 Reduction of foundation settlements.
 Reduction of risk of liquefaction due to seismic activity.
 Permit construction on granular fills.
Vacuum Consolidation of Soil for Ground Improvement
Vacuum Consolidation is an effective means for improvement of saturated soft soils. The soil
site is covered with an airtight membrane and vacuum is created underneath it by using dual
venture and vacuum pump. The technology can provide an equivalent pre-loading of about
4.5m high conventional surcharge fill. Vacuum-assisted consolidation preloads the soil by
reducing the pore pressure while maintaining a constant total stress.
Applications of Vacuum Consolidation of Soil:
 Replace standard preloading techniques eliminating the risk of failure.
 Combine with a water preloading in scare fill area. The method is used to build large
developments on thick compressible soil.
 Combine with embankment pre-load using the increased stability
Preloading or Pre-Compression of Soil for Ground Improvement
Preloading has been used for many years without change in the method or application to
improve soil properties. Preloading or pre-compression is the process of placing additional
vertical stress on a compressible soil to remove pore water over time. The pore water
dissipation reduces the total volume causing settlement. Surcharging is an economical
method for ground improvement. However, the consolidation of the soils is time dependent,
delaying construction projects making it a non-feasible alternative.

The soils treated are Organic silt, Varved silts and clays, soft clay, Dredged material The
design considerations which should be made are bearing capacity, Slope stability, Degree of
Applications of Preloading of Soil
 Reduce post-construction
 Settlement
 Reduce secondary compression.
 Densification
 Improve bearing capacity
Thermal Stabilization of Soil for Ground Improvement
Heating or vitrification breaks the soil particle down to form a crystalline or glass product. It
uses electrical current to heat the soil and modify the physical characteristics of the soil.
Heating soils permanently alters the properties of the soil. Depending on the soil,
temperatures can range between 300 and 1000 degree Celsius. The impact on adjacent
structures and utilities should be considered when heating is used. .
Applications of Vitrification of Soil:
 Immobilization of radioactive or contaminated soil
 Densification and stabilization
Ground Freezing Technique for Ground Improvement

Ground freezing is the use of refrigeration to convert in-situ pore water to ice. The ice then
acts as a cement or glue, bonding together adjacent particles of soil or blocks of rock to
increase their combined strength and make them impervious. The ground freezing
considerations are Thermal analysis, Refrigeration system geometry, Thermal properties of
soil and rock, freezing rates, Energy requirements, Coolant/ refrigerant distribution system
Applications of Ground Freezing Technique
 Temporary underpinning
 Temporary support for an excavation
 Prevention of groundwater flow into excavated area
 Temporary slope stabilization
 Temporary containment of toxic/hazardous waste contamination
Vibro-Replacement Stone Columns for Ground Improvement
Vibro-Replacement extends the range of soils that can be improved by vibratory techniques
to include cohesive soils. Reinforcement of the soil with compacted granular columns or
“stone columns” is accomplished by the top-feed method. The important Vibro-replacement
stone columns are Ground conditions, Relative density, Degree of saturation, Permeation.
Principles of Vibro-Replacement Technique
The stone columns and intervening soil form and integrated foundation support system
having low compressibility and improved load bearing capacity. In cohesive soils, excess
pore water pressure is readily dissipated by the stone columns and for this reason, reduced
settlements occur at a faster rate than is normally the case with cohesive soils.
There are different types of installation methods which can be broadly classified in the
following manner:
 Wet top feed method
 Dry bottom feed method
 Offshore bottom feed method
Summary of Vibro Replacement Method
Principle  Reinforcement
 Drainage
Applicable  Mixed deposits of
soil(s) clay, silt and sand
 Soft and ultra soft silts
 Soft and ultra soft
 Garbage fills
Effect(s)  Increased shear
 Increased stiffness
 Reduced liquefaction
Common  Airport taxiways and
applications runways
 Chemical plants
 Storage tanks & silos
 Pipelines
 Bridge abutments and
 Offshore bridge
 Road and railway
Maximum  20-40 m
Land /  Both

Applications of Vibro-Replacement for Ground Improvement:

 Reduction of foundation settlement
 Improve bearing capacity/reduce footing size requirements
 Reduction of the risk of liquefaction due to seismic activity
 Slope stabilization
 Permit construction on fills
 Permit shallow footing construction
Ground Relative
Type Effectiveness
Sands Excellent
Silty sands Excellent
Silts Good
Clays Marginal to good
Minespoils Excellent (depending
on gradation)
Dumped fill Good
Garbage Not applicable
Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures
A segmental, precast facing mechanically stabilized earth wall employs metallic (strip or bar
mat) or geosynthetic (geogrid or geotextile) reinforcement that is connected to a precast
concrete or prefabricated metal facing panel to create a reinforced soil mass.
Principles of Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures:
 The reinforcement is placed in horizontal layers between successive layers of granular
soil backfill. Each layer of backfill consists of one or more compacted lifts.
 A free draining, non plastic backfill soil is required to ensure adequate performance of
the wall system.
 For walls reinforced with metallic strips, load is transferred from the backfill soil to
the strip reinforcement by shear along the interface.
 For walls with ribbed strips, bar mats, or grid reinforcement, load is similarly
transferred but an additional component of strength is obtained through the passive
resistance on the transverse members of the reinforcement.
 Facing panels are typically square, rectangular, hexagonal or cruciform in shape and
are up to 4.5m ^2 in area.
 MSEW- Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls, when the face batter is generally
steeper than 70 degrees.
 RSS- Reinforced Soil Slopes, when the face batter is shallower.
Applications of Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures:
 RSS structures are cost effective alternatives for new construction where the cost of
embankment fill, right-of-way, and other consideration may make a steeper slope
 Another use of reinforcement in engineered slopes is to improve compaction at the
edges of a slope to decrease the tendency for surface sloughing.
Current practice consists of determining the geometric reinforcement to prevent internal and
external failure using limit equilibrium of analysis.
Soil Nailing Technique for Ground Improvement
The fundamental concept of soil nailing consists of reinforcing the ground by passive
inclusions, closely spaced, to create in-situ soil and restrain its displacements. The basic
design consists of transferring the resisting tensile forces generated in the inclusions into the
ground through the friction mobilized at the interfaces.
Applications of Soil Nailing Technique:
 Stabilization of railroad and highway cut slopes
 Excavation retaining structures in urban areas for high-rise building and underground
 Tunnel portals in steep and unstable stratified slopes
 Construction and retrofitting of bridge abutments with complex boundaries involving
wall support under piled foundations
Micropiles for Ground Improvement
Micropiles are small diameter piles (up to 300 mm), with the capability of sustaining high
loads (compressive loads of over 5000 KN).The drilling equipment and methods allows
micropiles to be drilled through virtually every ground conditions, natural and artificial, with
minimal vibration, disturbances and noise, at any angle below horizontal. The equipment can
be further adapted to operate in locations with low headroom and severely restricted access.

Applications of Micropiles for Ground Improvement

 For Structural Support and stability
 Foundation for new structures
 Repair / Replacement of existing foundations
 Arresting / Prevention of movement
 Embankment, slope and landslide stabilization
 Soil strengthening and protection
Example of Micro Piles for Ground Improvement:
In India, in some circumstances steel pipes, coated wooden piles are used as cost-effective
Options in improving the bearing capacity of foundation or restrict Displacements to tolerable
levels and similar uses in stabilization of slopes, strengthening of foundations are common.
Sridharan and Murthy (1993) described a Case study in which a ten-storeyed building,
originally in a precarious condition due To differential settlement, was restored to safety
using micropiles. Galvanized steel Pipes of 100 mm diameter and 10 m long with bottom end
closed with shoe, driven at An angle of 60o with the horizontal were used and the friction
between the pile and the soil was used as the design basis in evolving the remedial measures.
General Grouting for Ground Improvement
Grouting is the injection of pumpable materials into a soil or rock formation to change the
physical characteristics of the formation. Grouting selection considerations are Site
specific requirement, Soil type, Soil groutability, Porosity. Grouting can be prevented by
Collapse of granular soils, Settlement under adjacent foundations, Utilities damage, Day
lighting. Grouting can provide Increased soil strength and rigidity, reduced ground
movement, Predictable degree of improvement.
Steps for General Grouting Technique for Soil Stabilization
 Identify underground construction problem.
 Establish objectives of grouting program.
 Perform special geotechnical study.
 Develop initial grouting program.
 Develop performance prediction.
 Compare with other solutions.
 Refine design and prepare specifications.
Grouting Techniques
The various injection grouting techniques used by grouting contractors for ground
improvement / ground modification can be summarized as follows:
 Permeation
 Compaction Grouting
 Claquage
 Jet Grouting
Jet Grouting Technique for Ground Improvement
Jet grouting is a general term used by grouting contractors to describe various construction
techniques used for ground modification or ground improvement. Grouting contractors use
ultra high-pressure fluids or binders that are injected into the soils at high velocities. These
binders break up the soil structure completely and mix the soil particles in-situ to create a
homogeneous mass, which in turn solidifies.
This ground modification / ground improvement of the soil plays an important role in the
fields of foundation stability, particularly in the treatment of load bearing soils under new and
existing buildings; in the in-depth impermeabilization of water bearing soils; in tunnel
construction; and to mitigate the movement of impacted soils and groundwater.