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2

Soil and Rock Properties

2.1

INTRODUCTION

In contrast to building materials such as steel and concrete, which can be


specied and obtained with desired properties, soils cannot be designed.
They are just there, they already exist at the construction site, with
properties which are adequate or inadequate for the work to be done. There
are alternatives for dealing with poor, inadequate soils. These include:
1. bypassing them, by either moving to a different site, or by carrying
the foundation loads to better soils at greater depths
2. remove the poor soils and replace with better ones
3. redesign the structure and its foundations to impose lighter loads
4. treat the soil to improve its characteristics.
In assessing a specic problem, better sites are more and more often not
available in the desired location, removal of large volumes of poor soil is not
feasible economically for deep deposits, and redesign of the structure to suit
the soil may defeat the purpose of the structure. Soil improvement methods
are often the only viable alternatives.
Prior to improving a soil we must know its existing properties so that
we can evaluate the potential for improvement, determine the degree of

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

improvement required and measure the results of the improvement methods


used.
2.2

VOID RATIO AND POROSITY

All soils and many rocks consist of solid particles and voids. In soils, the
voids are lled with air and water, are distributed in a more or less uniform
manner, and are almost always interconnected. This is also true of
sandstone and siltstone. In solid rock there are no uniformly distributed
voids. In a large mass of solid rock, the void spaces, if any, are due to
fractures and ssures of various sizes, and are also lled with air and water,
and sometimes with sand, silt and clay. In soluble minerals such as
limestone, solution cavities of various sizes are found, both lled and empty.
The void ratio of a soil, e, is dened as the quotient of the volume of
voids divided by the volume of solids in a soil mass:
e Vv =Vs

2:1

Figure 2.1 is a pictorial representation of the void ratio. Void ratios for
granular soils range from 0.4 to 0.8. Clays and clayey soils will range from
0.5 to 1.5 or 2.0. Soils with high organic content, peats and mucks, may have
void ratios as high as 4 or 5.
Porosity, n, is dened as the quotient of the volume of voids divided by
the total volume of a soil (or rock) mass. Thus, for any soil or rock the
porosity must be less than one.
n Vv =V

FIGURE 2.1 Relationships to dene void ratio and porosity.

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

2:2

2.3

DENSITY AND RELATIVE DENSITY

The density of a soil or rock is expressed as its weight per unit volume. In
soils work, it is general practice and more convenient to use dry densities,
that is, dry weight per unit volume.
Probably the most important index to the behavior of granular
materials (sands and coarse silts) is the relative density. The volume of voids
in a soil mass will vary with the different possible arrangement of grains
within the mass. The void ratio cannot be greater than the value that would
cause the individual grains to lose contact with each other, and natural soils
do not approach this value too closely. The least density a sand can have is
approximately equal to the density resulting when the dry sand is poured
slowly into a container with minimum free fall. This is considered to be its
minimum possible density. If the container is now vibrated gently until its
reducing volume stabilizes, the sand is now considered to be at its maximum
density. The relative density, DR , is a comparison of the natural density of a
soil with its loose and dense states. The comparison is made in terms of the
void ratio:
DR :

emax  e
emax  emin

2:3

where e is the natural, or in place void ratio. For surface and shallow soils,
eld density tests dene the natural void ratio. For deep deposits values are
inferred from other tests. Table 2.1 shows shows relationships between

TABLE 2.1 Descriptive Terms for Density


Descriptive term

Degree of density

Loose
Medium
Dense

0 to 1/3
1/3 to 2/3
2/3 to 1

Results of Standard Penetration Tests


Descriptive term
Very loose
Loose
Medium
Dense
Very dense

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

No. of blows per foot


0 to 4
4 to 10
10 to 30
30 to 50
50 and over

descriptive terms for density and Standard Penetration Test (SPT) data.
These numbers should be used as guides only, since blow count will vary
with grain shape and size, and also with grading. (Granular soils of the same
general classication, such as ne sands, may have a wide spread of grain
sizes. The range of grain sizes is dened by a factor called the uniformity
coefcient, CU :
CU D60 =D10

2:4

Where D60 and D10 are the grain sizes of which 60% and 10% of the soil is
ner.)
Density and relative density are important factors in determining the
need for, and possible effectiveness of, various soil stabilization methods,
since both of these properties are related to shear strength, settlement and
permeability. Some typical properties for natural soils are shown in
Table 2.2.
Specic Gravity
The specic gravity, G, of any substance is the ratio of the dry weight of a
given volume of that substance divided by an equal volume of water. For
soils, which may contain many different minerals, specic gravity is an
average value of the various particles composing the soil.
Over 1000 minerals have been identied as rock constituents. Since
soils are formed from rocks, many of these can also be identied in soils.
The specic gravity of different soil minerals raages from as low as 2.3 to as
high as 5.2. Most soil masses consist of minerals ranging from 2.4 to 3.0, and
the specic gravity of soils will almost always fall within this range. Quartz
has a specic gravity of 2.65, and the many granular soils consisting mainly
of quartz particles will thus have a specic gravity very close to this value.
Clay minerals are generally heavier than quartz, and specic gravities of 2.9
are not uncommon.
Table 2.3 lists densities and specic gravities of common rocks and
minerals.
Water Content
Most soils have some amount of water in the soil voids. The water may be
gravitational, capillary, or hygroscopic. The basis for distinction is the force
that inuences the water behavior. Stabilization methods are concerned
mainly with gravitational water, generally present beneath the soil surface in
areas requiring stabilization. The topography of the surface below which
water is continuous is called the water table or the phreatic line.

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TABLE 2.2

Typical Properties of Soils

Description
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Uniform sand, loose


Uniform sand, dense
Mixed-grained sand, loose
Mixed-grained sand, dense
Glacial till, very mixed grained
Soft glacial clay
Stiff glacial clay
Soft slightly organic clay
Soft very organic clay
Soft bentonite

Porosity,
n
(%)

Void
ratio,
e

Water
contents
wsat.
(%)

46
34
40
30
20
55
37
66
75
84

0.85
0.51
0.67
0.43
0.25
1.2
0.6
1.9
3.0
5.2

32
19
25
16
9
45
22
70
110
194

wsat. water content when saturated in percent of dry weight


gd unit weight in dry state
gsat. unit weight in saturated state
n porosity e/(1 e)
e void ratio n/(1 n)

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Unit weight
g/cm3

lb/ft3

gd

gsat.

gd

gsat.

1.43
1.75
1.59
1.86
2.12

1.89
2.09
1.99
2.15
2.32
1.77
2.07
1.58
1.43
1.27

90
109
99
116
132

118
130
124
135
145
110
129
98
89
80

TABLE 2.3

Typical Properties of Rocks


Dry
(g/cm3)

Rock
Nepheline syenite
Syenite
Granite
Diorite
Gabbro
Gypsum
Rock salt
Coal
Oil shale

30 gal/ton rock
Dense limestone
Marble
Shale, Oklahoma
1000 ft depth
3000 ft depth
5000 ft depth
Quartz, mica schist
Amphibolite
Rhyolite

Dry
(kN/m3)

2.7
26.5
2.6
25.5
2.65
26.0
2.85
27.9
3.0
29.4
2.3
22.5
2.1
20.6
0.7 to 2.0
(density varies with the ash content)
1.6 to 2.7
(density varies with the kerogen content, and
therefore with the oil yield in gallons per ton)
2.13
21.0
2.7
20.9
2.75
27.0

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

2.25
2.52
2.62
2.82
2.99
2.37

22.1
24.7
25.7
27.6
29.3
23.2

Dry
lb/ft3

Specic gravities of common


minerals
Mineral
G

169
162
165
178
187
144
131

Halite
Gypsum
Serpentine
Orthoclase
Chalcedony
Quartz
Plagioclase
Chlorite and illite
Calcite
Muscovite
Biotite

2.12.6
2.32.4
2.32.6
2.52.6
2.62.64
2.65
2.62.8
2.63.0
2.7
2.73.0
2.83.1

133
168
172

Dolomite
Anhydrite
Pyroxene
Olivine
Barite
Magnetite
Pyrite
Galena

2.83.1
2.93.0
3.23.6
3.23.6
4.34.6
4.45.2
4.95.2
7.47.6

140
157
163
176
187
148

The water content, w, of a soil is dened as the weight ratio of water to


dry soil:
w Ww =Ws

2:5

(It is necessary to heat a soil sample to slightly above the boiling point of
water to remove all the water and have dry soil.)
Water contents are expressed as percentages, and thus may exceed
100%. Sands, coarse silts, and ne gravels will have water contents up to 20
to 30%. Fine silts may be higher. Clays may have water contents of 100 to
200%. Mucks, peats, and other soils with high organic content may have
even higher values.

2.4

PERMEABILITY

All soils and rock masses consist of solid particles (or fragments) and voids.
In soils, the voids are distributed in a more or less uniform manner
throughout the total volume, and the voids are always interconnected. This
is also true of many sandstones and siltstones. However, in solid rock there
are no uniformly distributed voids. In a large rock mass the voids, if any, are
due to fractures and ssures of various sizes, which may follow a pattern or
be totally random. Fluids will ow through interconnected voids and
ssures. Flow through interconnected voids will be either turbulent (water
particle paths are irregular and haphazard), or laminar (water particle paths
are parallel to the container walls and each other). These concepts are not
strictly applicable to soil voids, but the type of ow is important in grouting
operations, since grout will displace groundwater with little mixing during
laminar ow, and will mix with groundwater during turbulent ow. Flow
will always be turbulent in gravels, and always laminar in silts. For sands,
the type of ow is related to density and gradients. Turbulent ow may be
expected for gradients above 0.2 in the loose state, and 0.4 in the dense state.
Permeameters are used in the laboratory to measure permeability.
Typical arrangement of equipment is shown in Figure 2.2. Fixed head
devices, shown on the left, are used with granular materials. Falling head
devices, shown on the right, are used with silts and clays, when the discharge
is so small it cannot be measured accurately. It is then more feasible to
measure the water owing into the sample (which in a fully saturated sample
must be equal to the volume of discharge), by using a small, graduated
standpipe. If this value is also too small to be measured accurately, better
results may be obtained from a consolidation test.
Laboratory tests on granular materials are always made on disturbed
samples, since it isnt possible to reproduce the natural stratication (it is

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

FIGURE 2.2 (a) Fixed head permeameter. (b) Falling head permeameter.

possible to obtain relatively undisturbed samples by freezing or grouting the


soil prior to sampling, but these procedures are costly and seldom used). All
large granular deposits are stratied, even when the stratication cannot be
visually identied. Thus the vertical permeability of a natural granular
deposit is a function of its least permeable stratum, and its horizontal
permeability is a function of its most pervious stratum. These values may
differ by one or more orders of magnitude. Laboratory test values (on
samples reconstituted at the eld density) generally fall somewhere in
between. Values for in-situ permeability may be determined by eld tests,
which emphasize horizontal permeability. This is more appropriate for
dewatering and grouting. Details of eld pumping tests are discussed in later
chapters.
Since permeability is such an important factor in the design of
stabilization projects, much empirical data of a general nature as well as
relationships with other soil properties, can be found in technical journals.
Such data as shown in the following tables and descriptions are useful in the
initial stages of a project, prior to the nal testing and design.
Practitioners know from a description of soil based on grain size the
range of permeability values to be expected. Table 2.4 shows the commonly
accepted values. Classication systems may also show a range of values

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TABLE 2.4 Permeability Ranges for Various Soils


Void ratio

Porosity

Soils

0.6 to 0.8

0.25 to 0.45

0.6 to 0.8

0.25 to 0.45

0.6 to 0.9

0.25 to 0.5

0.6 and
above
0.6 and
above

0.25 up

Gravel and
coarse
sand
Medium and
ne sand
Very ne
sand
Silts

0.25 up

clays

Grain size
(mm)

Permeability
(cm/s)

0.5 and
over

101 and
over

0.1 to 0.5

101 to
103
103 to
105
105 to
107
107 and
less

0.05 to 0.1
0.5 and
less
0.05 and
less

associated with specic soil descriptions, as in the Unied System shown in


Section 2.8.
A formula attributed to Hazen, supposedly resulting from a study of
lter sands, and later modied by others, can be used with data from a
grading curve to estimate permeability:
k CD10 2 cm=s

2:6

The value of C varies with the uniformity coefcient Cu D60/D10, as shown


in Table 2.5.

TABLE 2.5

Values of Constants
to Be Used in Hazens Equation
Cu D60 =D10

11.9
22.9
34.9
59.9
1019.9
> 20

C
110
100
90
80
70
60

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

2.5

SHEAR STRENGTH

The property that enables a material to remain in equilibrium when its


surface is not horizontal is called shear strength. All solids have this property
to some extent. Liquids do not have shear strength, and in time (depending
on viscosity) all liquids will reach equilibrium with a level surface.
The shear strength of soil or rock is the maximum resistance that can
be mobilized against shear stress. For soils this is not a constant value. It can
vary with depth below the surface, with water content, and of course with
methods used for stabilization. The shear strength of soil is small, compared
to other materials such as steel or concrete, yet it is the major structural
property of soils. It is this property which provides supporting ability and
bearing capacity, and permits slopes to be stable.
The shear strength of soil is made up of two separate components,
cohesion and internal friction. Cohesion is related to grain size, and is
apparent in clayey soils. Granular soils are not cohesive. Coulombs
equation is universally used to express shear strength:
S C N tan j, in which
S shear strength
C cohesion
N normal load, and
f the friction angle
It is generally assumed that for soft, saturated clays f is close to zero,
and that for granular soils C is equal to zero. Thus, for ideal soils, shear
strength can be approximately represented by straight lines on diagrams as
shown in Figure 2.3. These lines are called failure lines, because a state of
stress which would plot above them represents a failure condition.
If the normal and shear stresses on all planes through a point within a
soil mass are plotted on coordinate axes, a circle is formed, known as
Mohrs circle. This circle is used graphically to show the relationship
between principal stresses and the normal and shear stresses at a point. It is
used to dene the failure plane from data gotten through lab tests.
Laboratory tests to determine shear strength are the direct shear test,
the unconned compression test, and the triaxial test. ASTM Standards give
complete details of these tests. Triaxial tests yield the most reliable results.
The manner in which these tests dene the failure line as shown in Figure 2.4.
Figure 2.5 shows the horizontal surface of a cohesionless soil mass
with a rectangular section shown as a free body. On the lower surface at the
depth z the normal pressure is N. Along the sides of the free body the
normal pressure varies from zero at the surface to a maximum value of NH
at the depth z (the variation is linear, except when arching occurs). In
Figure 2.6 the value of N z (unit weight) is plotted on a Mohr diagram.

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

FIGURE 2.3 Failure lines for cohesive and non-cohesive soils.

FIGURE 2.4 Relationships among laboratory tests for shear strength.

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

FIGURE 2.5

Free body within a soil mass.

The actual value of NH is not known, but if the soil has not failed it can be
plotted as shown as long as the Mohr circle of stress does not touch the
failure line. If some event such as nearby excavation occurs, the soil mass
will tend to expand horizontally, and the magnitude of NH will decrease.
The circle will thus grow in size until it touches the failure line. At this point
failure is incipient. The value of NH cannot decrease any further since this

FIGURE 2.6
soils.

Mohr circles for active and passive pressures in cohesionless

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

would induce a shear failure (the Mohr theory assumes that all soil failures
are shear failures). The minimum value that NH can attain without a failure
occurring is shown on the diagram as PA, the active pressure. In a similar
fashion, if the soil mass were made to compress latterally, the maximum
value that NH can reach without failure occurring is shown as PP, the passive
pressure. The same phenomena occur in cohesive soils, and from geometry
the relationships are shown in Figure 2.7.
The measure of a soils ability to support loads is called its bearing
capacity. Many formulae exist for determining this property. The
derivations all assume a homogeneous, elastic material (which soil is not),
and most consider a long footing, rather than square or rectangular, so that
the problem is simplied to a two-dimensional analysis. The equations in
common use today were derived by Karl Terzaghi many decades ago. Their
continued use is testimony to their general applicability.
Terzaghi assumed that a soils response to a surface load could be
divided into three zones, as shown in Figure 2.8. Zone I moves down,
causing Zone II to rotate about the footing edge. Zone III resists the
movement of Zone II. It can be inferred that the soils response to the load
mobilizes shear resistance along the bottom boundaries of Zones II and III.
A more detailed description of the soils assumed response can be found in
soil mechanics texts.
Terzaghi derived two sets of equations to apply to conditions he called
local and general shear, as dened by the shapes of the load settlement
curves shown in Table 2.6. The equations involved three factors related only

FIGURE 2.7

Mohr circles for active and passive pressures in cohesive soils.

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

FIGURE 2.8

Terzaghi theory of bearing capacity.

TABLE 2.6

Factors for Use in Bearing Capacity Equation

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TABLE 2.7 Terzaghis Bearing Equations


Long footings of width b, at depth z below the surface, per unit length of
footing:
General shear: q cNc gb N2w gzNq
w
Local shear: q 23 cNc gbN
2 gzNq
Round footings of diameter b at depth z below the surface:
General or local shear: q 1:3cNc 0:6gb N2w gzNq
Square footings with side b at depth z below the surface:
General or local shear: q 1:3cNc 0:8gb N2w gzNq

to the friction angle. These factors are also shown in Table 2.6. The
equations are shown in Table 2.7.
2.6

CONSOLIDATION CHARACTERISTICS

Applying stress to any material results in a corresponding strain. For the


common building materials such as steel and concrete the strain occurs
virtually instantaneously with stress application. In contrast, ne-grained
soils generally exhibit a measurable time lag between stress application and
the resulting strain. This phenomenon is called consolidation.
When a load is applied to a saturated ne-grained soil, it is
instantaneously carried by the water as excess pore pressure. The water
immediately begins to ow away from the point of maximum stress, and as
it does so the load is transferred to the soil matrix, which deforms under the
load. The ner the pores in the soil, the longer it takes for the pore water
pressure to approach zero, and for settlement under the load to become
negligible. In the eld, the process could take months or years.
In 1925, Dr. Karl Terzaghi proposed a theory, still in use today, for
the rate of one-dimensional consolidation in soils. The theory is based on
the following assumptions:
Homogeneous soil
Complete saturation
Incompressible water and soil grains
Validity of Darcys law
Compression in one direction
Flow in one direction
Action of a differential soil mass similar to a large soil mass
Linear relationship between pressure and void ratio over a small range

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Though modications to the original theory to account for threedimensional drainage have been proposed, the Terzaghi theory remains
the conventional basis for consolidation testing to predict settlement
amounts and rates. (Many eld conditions in which the horizontal extent
of both the ne-grained stratum and the area of applied loads greatly exceed
the stratum thickness are essentially conditions for one-dimensional
consolidation). Derivation of the theory is given in detail in most Soil
Mechanics books. Test procedures are described in detail in ASTM
Standard D2435.
Consolidation tests are made on undisturbed samples whose water
content, specic gravity and initial void ratio have been determined. Static
loads are instantaneously applied, and maintained until consolidation has
decreased to negligible amounts. Consolidation versus time data are
accumulated during this period. Data from one of a series of increasing
loads are plotted to give a curve such as shown in Figure 2.9.
Soil samples are generally taken vertically; consolidation samples are
taken from a horizontal slice. The coefcient of consolidation from such a
test is based on vertical ow, which is applicable for much eld work. (For
projects using, for example, vertical sand drains, much of the ow is in the

FIGURE 2.9 Consolidation test data.

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FIGURE 2.10

Void ratio vs. pressure curve for a cohesive soil.

horizontal direction. A horizontal value of the coefcient of consolidation is


needed, which may differ considerably from the vertical value). From
Figure 2.9 the coefcient of consolidation, Cv, may be determined::
Cv TH2 =t

2:7

in which
T is a dimensionless number called the time factor and is equal to
0.85 for 90% consolidation
t is the time for 90% consolidation (from Figure 2.8)
H is the distance of one-directional ow
The results of a series of increasing loads are plotted to give a curve
such as shown in Figure 2.10. When the loads on the soil before and after
construction have been determined, these can be related to the initial and
nal void ratios. Settlement can then be predicted:
S Hei  ef =1 ei

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

2:8

2.7

STRESS TRANSMISSION

When a load is applied to the surface of a large mass of uniform soil, the
induced stresses propagate in all directions and attenuate with distance from
the point of load application. Except for directly beneath the load, where
stress can be calculated by dividing the load by the application area, the
actual value of stress cannot be found by simple arithmetic. This is because
the size of the stressed area is not known, and the stress intensity over the
stressed area varies.
In a uniform soil, if overstress (failure) does not occur directly at the
point of load application, it is reasonable to assume failure will not occur
elsewhere within the soil mass. However, soils are often stratied, with
weaker soils underlying the surface strata, and other structures often lie
within the range of inuence of new loading. Therefore, it is necessary to be
able to compute stresses at many locations within a loaded soil mass.
Theoretically, the stresses due to applied loads never attenuate to zero,
as distance from the point of loading increases. From a practical point of
view, however, the stresses reduce to negligible values at some arbitrary
distance from the point of load application. This is often taken as the locus
of points where the applied stress is reduced by 90%. The volume of soil
lying within the (three-dimensional) 10% isobar is called the pressure bulb.
It extends in a roughly circular or spherical shape to a depth of
approximately twice the smaller dimension of the loaded area, as shown
in Figure 2.11.
Equations have been derived to dene the vertical and shear stresses at
any depth below and any radial distance from a point load. The best known
and probably the most used are the Boussinesq equations, which assume an
elastic, isentropic material, a level surface and an innite surface extension
in all directions. Although these conditions cannot be met by soils, the
equation for vertical stress is used with reasonable accuracy with soils whose
stress-strain relationship is linear. This normally precludes the use of the
equation for stresses approaching failure. In its most useful form the
equation reduces to:
sz

Q
KB
z2

in which
sz is the vertical stress
Q is the total applied load
z is the depth below the load
KB is the Boussinesq pressure coefcient

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

2:9

FIGURE 2.11

Pressure isobars for surface loads.

A chart such as shown in Figure 2.12 denes KB in terms of the r/z


ratio, where r is the horizontal distance of the point of stress from the
applied load.
Solutions made by Westergaard take into account some arbitrary
types of soil discontinuities. The chart shown in Figure 2.12 also shows
values of KW, the Westergaard coefcients.

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

FIGURE 2.12

Pressure coefcients beneath the centers of square footings.

The total stress at any point below the soil surface consists of the
contribution from the applied load plus the stress due to the weight of
material above the point (overburden). This consists of the dry unit weight
of material above the water table, plus the submerged unit weight of
material below the water table.

2.8

SOIL AND ROCK CLASSIFICATION

Classication of soils and rock provides a means of communication and


common understanding among eld, laboratory, design and construction
personnel.
The earliest classication systems for soils were probably made for
agriculture purposes. An example is shown in Figure 2.13. Geologists often
use a system specic to their purposes, as shown in Table 2.8.
The earliest systems used for engineering purposes were simple
descriptions of grain size:

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

FIGURE 2.13

Agricultural classication of soils.

1. GravelGravel is a coarse-grained, cohesionless material with


particle size ranging from about 18 in. to 6 or 8 in. in diameter.
Pieces larger than 6 or 8 in. are called boulders.
2. SandSand is a coarse-grained, cohesionless soil with grain size
varying from about 18 in. to 0.05 mm.
3. SiltSilt consists of mineral grains ranging from about 0.05 to
0.002 mm in size. It is a ne-grained soil lacking plasticity and
having little or no dry strength.
4. ClayClay is composed principally of at particles ner than
0.002 mm and ranging well down into colloidal sizes, which are the
cause of plasticity. Plasticity and dry strength are affected by
shape and mineral composition of the particles.

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TABLE 2.8 Geological Classication of Soils


Transporting
agent

Group
A. Sedentary
soils

None

Geological
class
1. Residual

2. Cumulose
B. Transported 1. Water
soils

(a) Alluvial
(b) Marine
(c) Lacustrine

2. Ice

3. Wind
4. Gravity

5.

(a) Glacial till


(moraines, till
plains, drumlins,
etc.)
(b) Fluvio-glacial
deposits (eskers,
terraces, outwash
plains, etc.)
(a) Dunes
(b) Loess
(a) Colluvial

Remarks
Formed by rock weathering in place.
Examples: Silty sand, sandy clay, or silty
clay derived from sandstone.
Marsh or swamp deposits (peats and
mucks).
River depositssoils mixed, sorted, and
deposited according to size.
Fine-grained deposition in salt water.
Fine-grained deposition in fresh water
lakes.
Unstratied heterogeneous mixture of
boulders, gravel, sand, silt, and clay.

Stratied, usually granular.

Sand.
Windblown silt.
Talusaccumulation of fallen rock and rock
debris at base of steep slopes.

Organic MatterOrganic matter consists of either partly decomposed vegetation, as in peats, or of nely divided vegetable matter,
as in organic silts.

The system most used today by engineers is the Unied Classication


System, which lists ranges of engineering properties for various groups. Part
of this system is shown in Table 2.9.
2.9

ROCK PROPERTIES

There are many different classes of rock, and even within one class
properties may vary over a wide range. For example, common sandstones
may have porosities as low as 5% and as high as 20%, and compressive
strengths ranging from several thousand to 30,000 psi. Detailed and complex
rock classication systems will have minimum value to those engaged in
rock stabilization (limited in practice to grouting and bolting). Porosity and
permeability are important to the grouter but these properties should be
determined by testing the specic site materials. Strength is important in
rock tunnel stabilization, particularly in relation to the stand-up time before
stabilization becomes effective. This is indicated in Figure 2.14. Values of

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TABLE 2.9

Excerpts from the United Classication System (after U.S. Army


Corps of Engineers)

rock properties for many specic rock formations can be found in most texts
dealing with rock mechanics and geology.
When a horizontal opening is created in a solid or ssured rock
formation, tensile stresses are generated in the roofs of these openings. In a
solid formation, the opening may remain stable for various lengths of time.
In a ssured formation, or even in a solid formation of weak rock, the
opening may cave immediately, or in a short period of time. Rock bolts are
widely used in mine tunnels (drifts) as a major means of roof support.

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Typical Support Pressuresa


Types of support
Rock bolts
Shotcrete, 28" thick
Steel sets
Concrete lining
Steel lining
a

Range of pi
080 psi
50200 psi
0400 psi
100500 psi
5003000 psi

Delay time until pi is effective


Several hours
Several hours
One day to weeks
Several weeks to months
Months

Load of set depends on manner blocking and lagging.

FIGURE 2.14

Stand up time for rock supports. (After Bieniawski, 1976.)

Mechanical rock bolts are steel rods tted with expanding end pieces
which are anchored into a drilled hole. The exposed end of the rod is
threaded, and tted with a large plate (which acts as an oversized washer),
and a heavy nut with which tension is applied to the bolt. The applied
tension then compresses the rock, reducing or eliminating the tendency to
spall or cave. Mechanical rock bolts come in a number of different
conguration and lengths, but they all function in the same manner. They
must be spaced so that the zones of compression of adjacent bolts overlap.
Rock bolts have a long history of use, particularly in coal mines.
A more recent development consists of bonding a rebar to a drilled
hole (generally along its full length) using polyester or other high strength
resins. Although these rebars will not pick up tension until the rock mass

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

FIGURE 2.15

Pullout test of resin-bonded reinforcing bar.

yields a little, they are then as effective as mechanically bonded bars.


Figure 2.15 shows a pullout test on a #11 rebar, bonded with polyester resin
in a six-foot-deep hole in concrete. The hydraulic jack applied an increasing
tensile force to the rebar to measure bonding stress. As the photo shows, the
rebar didnt pull out. It broke in tension instead (in the photo, the upper
portion of the rebar can be seen ying through the air).

2.10

SUMMARY

Soil and rock properties must be known in order to assess the possible need
for stabilization, and the results of stabilization efforts. While such needs
may often be readily determined by a site inspection, it is still necessary to

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

FIGURE 2.15

Continued.

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

know initial soil properties if stabilization will be done, so that degree of


improvement can be measured.
Properties can be determined by appropriate laboratory and eld tests.
Such tests may also be used to dene the ultimate and the acceptable degree
of improvement. It is important that owner, contractor, and engineer agree
before eld work starts on the conditions and soil properties which are to be
attained, if detailed job specications are not available.
2.11

REFERENCES

1. The Unied Soil Classication System, Technical Memorandum No. 3357,


Volume 1, March 1953, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MD.

Detailed information on all the topics covered in this chapter can be found
in most college text books dealing with soil mechanics, rock mechanics, and
geology.
2.12
2.1

2.2

2.3

2.4

2.5

PROBLEMS
A glass graduate is lled to the 50 cc mark with water. A 100 gram
sample of sand and silt is dropped into the graduate, raising the water
level to 88 cc. What is the specic gravity of the soil?
A partially saturated granular soil weighs 115 pcf in its wet condition,
and has a 10% water content. Estimate the void ratio and porosity.
How much would the soil weigh if it were fully saturated? What would
be its submerged unit weight?
A boring log denes a specic stratum of soil as narrowly graded
sand-silt mix with no clay. Estimate the permeability using several
different sources.
A 20-foot-thick clay stratum is overlain by several feet of sand, and
underlain by a thick deposit of coarse to ne sand. Laboratory
consolidation tests show Cv 0.02 in2/minute, for the proposed future
loading conditions. Estimate the time for 90% consolidation.
Footings for a long structure are four feet by four feet, spaced 10 feet
center to center, and will carry a load of 4000 psf. The bases of the
footings are six feet above a thick stratum of very stiff clay. A 12-inchdiameter pipeline rests on the surface of the clay and runs parallel to
the footings, directly beneath the outer edge of the footings. What
pressure will be transmitted to the pipeline opposite the center of the
footings? What pressure will be transmitted midway between footings?

Copyright 2003 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. All Rights Reserved.