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Thursday, December 25, 2008

what is Consolidation - Consolidation of soil for soil investigation

Consolidation is a process by which soils decrease in volume. It occurs when stress is applied to a soil that causes the soil particles to pack together more tightly, therefore reducing its bulk volume. When this occurs in a soil that is saturated with water, water will be squeezed out of the soil. The magnitude of consolidation can be predicted by many different methods. In the Classical Method, developed by Karl von Terzaghi, soils are tested with an oedometer test to determine their compression index. This can be used to predict the amount of consolidation.

When stress is removed from a consolidated soil, the soil will rebound, regaining some of the volume it had lost in the consolidation process. If the stress is reapplied, the soil will consolidate again along a recompression curve, defined by the recompression index. The soil which had its load removed is considered to be overconsolidated. This is the case for soils which have previously had glaciers on them. The highest stress that it has been subjected to is termed the preconsolidation stress. The over consolidation ratio or OCR is defined as the highest stress experienced divided by the current stress. A soil which is currently experiencing its highest stress is said to be normally consolidated and to have an OCR of one. A soil could be considered underconsolidated immediately after a new load is applied but before the excess pore water pressure has had time to dissipate.

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