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Note for Geotechnical Engineering- 1 - GTE-1 By deepak maravi

  • Geotechnical Engineering- 1 - GTE-1
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Introduction to Soil Mechanics The term "soil" can have different meanings, depending upon the field in which it is considered. To a geologist, it is the material in the relative thin zone of the Earth's surface within which roots occur, and which are formed as the products of past surface processes. The rest of the crust is grouped under the term "rock". To a pedologist, it is the substance existing on the surface, which supports plant life. To an engineer, it is a material that can be: • • • • built on: foundations of buildings, bridges built in: basements, culverts, tunnels built with: embankments, roads, dams supported: retaining walls Soil Mechanics is a discipline of Civil Engineering involving the study of soil, its behaviour and application as an engineering material. Soil Mechanics is the application of laws of mechanics and hydraulics to engineering problems dealing with sediments and other unconsolidated accumulations of solid particles, which are produced by the mechanical and chemical disintegration of rocks, regardless of whether or not they contain an admixture of organic constituents. Soil consists of a multiphase aggregation of solid particles, water, and air. This fundamental composition gives rise to unique engineering properties, and the description of its mechanical behavior requires some of the most classic principles of engineering mechanics. Engineers are concerned with soil's mechanical properties: permeability, stiffness, and strength. These depend primarily on the nature of the soil grains, the current stress, the water content and unit weight. Formation of Soils In the Earth's surface, rocks extend upto as much as 20 km depth. The major rock types are categorized as igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. • • • Igneous rocks: formed from crystalline bodies of cooled magma. Sedimentary rocks: formed from layers of cemented sediments. Metamorphic rocks: formed by the alteration of existing rocks due to heat from igneous intrusions or pressure due to crustal movement. Soils are formed from materials that have resulted from the disintegration of rocks by various processes of physical and chemical weathering. The nature and structure of a given soil depends on the processes and conditions that formed it: • • • • Breakdown of parent rock: weathering, decomposition, erosion. Transportation to site of final deposition: gravity, flowing water, ice, wind. Environment of final deposition: flood plain, river terrace, glacial moraine, lacustrine or marine. Subsequent conditions of loading and drainage: little or no surcharge, heavy surcharge due to ice or overlying deposits, change from saline to freshwater, leaching, contamination. All soils originate, directly or indirectly, from different rock types. 2

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Physical weathering reduces the size of the parent rock material, without any change in the original composition of the parent rock. Physical or mechanical processes taking place on the earth's surface include the actions of water, frost, temperature changes, wind and ice. They cause disintegration and the products are mainly coarse soils. The main processes involved are exfoliation, unloading, erosion, freezing, and thawing. The principal cause is climatic change. In exfoliation, the outer shell separates from the main rock. Heavy rain and wind cause erosion of the rock surface. Adverse temperarture changes produce fragments due to different thermal coefficients of rock minerals. The effect is more for freeze-thaw cycles. Chemical weathering not only breaks up the material into smaller particles but alters the nature of the original parent rock itself. The main processes responsible are hydration, oxidation, and carbonation. New compounds are formed due to the chemical alterations. Rain water that comes in contact with the rock surface reacts to form hydrated oxides, carbonates and sulphates. If there is a volume increase, the disintegration continues. Due to leaching, water-soluble materials are washed away and rocks lose their cementing properties. Chemical weathering occurs in wet and warm conditions and consists of degradation by decomposition and/or alteration. The results of chemical weathering are generally fine soils with altered mineral grains. The effects of weathering and transportation mainly determine the basic nature of the soil (size, shape, composition and distribution of the particles). The environment into which deposition takes place, and the subsequent geological events that take place there, determine the state of the soil (density, moisture content) and the structure or fabric of the soil (bedding, stratification, occurrence of joints or fissures) Transportation agencies can be combinations of gravity, flowing water or air, and moving ice. In water or air, the grains become sub-rounded or rounded, and the grain sizes get sorted so as to form poorly-graded deposits. In moving ice, grinding and crushing occur, size distribution becomes wider forming well-graded deposits. In running water, soil can be transported in the form of suspended particles, or by rolling and sliding along the bottom. Coarser particles settle when a decrease in velocity occurs, whereas finer particles are deposited further downstream. In still water, horizontal layers of successive sediments are formed, which may change with time, even seasonally or daily. Wind can erode, transport and deposit fine-grained soils. Wind-blown soil is generally uniformly-graded. A glacier moves slowly but scours the bedrock surface over which it passes. Gravity transports materials along slopes without causing much alteration. Soil Types Soils as they are found in different regions can be classified into two broad categories: (1) Residual soils (2) Transported soils Residual Soils Residual soils are found at the same location where they have been formed. Generally, the depth of residual soils varies from 5 to 20 m. 3

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Chemical weathering rate is greater in warm, humid regions than in cold, dry regions causing a faster breakdown of rocks. Accumulation of residual soils takes place as the rate of rock decomposition exceeds the rate of erosion or transportation of the weathered material. In humid regions, the presence of surface vegetation reduces the possibility of soil transportation. As leaching action due to percolating surface water decreases with depth, there is a corresponding decrease in the degree of chemical weathering from the ground surface downwards. This results in a gradual reduction of residual soil formation with depth, until unaltered rock is found. Residual soils comprise of a wide range of particle sizes, shapes and composition. Transported Soils Weathered rock materials can be moved from their original site to new locations by one or more of the transportation agencies to form transported soils. Tranported soils are classified based on the mode of transportation and the final deposition environment. (a) Soils that are carried and deposited by rivers are called alluvial deposits. (b) Soils that are deposited by flowing water or surface runoff while entering a lake are called lacustrine deposits. Atlernate layers are formed in different seasons depending on flow rate. (c) If the deposits are made by rivers in sea water, they are called marine deposits. Marine deposits contain both particulate material brought from the shore as well as organic remnants of marine life forms. (d) Melting of a glacier causes the deposition of all the materials scoured by it leading to formation of glacial deposits. (e) Soil particles carried by wind and subsequently deposited are known as aeolian deposits. 4

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Phase Relations of Soils Soil is not a coherent solid material like steel and concrete, but is a particulate material. Soils, as they exist in nature, consist of solid particles (mineral grains, rock fragments) with water and air in the voids between the particles. The water and air contents are readily changed by changes in ambient conditions and location. As the relative proportions of the three phases vary in any soil deposit, it is useful to consider a soil model which will represent these phases distinctly and properly quantify the amount of each phase. A schematic diagram of the three-phase system is shown in terms of weight and volume symbols respectively for soil solids, water, and air. The weight of air can be neglected. The soil model is given dimensional values for the solid, water and air components. Total volume, V = Vs + Vw + Vv Three-phase System Soils can be partially saturated (with both air and water present), or be fully saturated (no air content) or be perfectly dry (no water content). In a saturated soil or a dry soil, the three-phase system thus reduces to two phases only, as shown. For the purpose of engineering analysis and design, it is necessary to express relations between the weights and the volumes of the three phases. The various relations can be grouped into: • • • Volume relations Weight relations Inter-relations 5

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