By Malcolm Bolton (auth.)
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Extra info for A Guide to Soil Mechanics
It is necessary to adopt a cautious mental attitude to the assimilation of these plasticity tests. They depend for their success on the moisture content, and therefore the void ratio, of a soil being constant during the test. The void ratio of sand is not easily controlled: if you try to mix one part of sand with two parts of water in order to obtain a very loose sand, the sand will fall through the water in a matter of seconds. Clay, on the other hand, can preserve almost any given void ratio and strength for many minutes or hours, even on asmall scale.
Although Darcy's law has proved very useful in the solution of engineering problems, it contains within it one of the most variable, unreliable, and unmeasurable, 'constants' ever imagined, permeability k. 1. 1 Permeability k(m/s) 10 -1 10 -2 10 -3 10 -4 10 -s 10 -6 10 -1 10 -s 10 -9 10 -10 10 -11 10 -12 pebble beds sands silts clays cemented sandstones gravels fissured mudstones jointed, fissured granite intact granite magnitude, permeability covers the same range of magnitudes of velocity as are covered in the comparison between the sizes of an orange and the solar system.
He will be most satisfied to see a smooth curve. A wide horizontal step would indicate a size gap, a grade of particles missing from the mix. A high vertical step would mean the presence of a large fraction of particles of one size. The ideal well-graded soil possesses small particles to fit into the voids between medium particles, which in their turn lock together the largest grains. Without this spread of particle sizes a soil is likely to be difficult to compact, subject to a reduction in volume due to vibration, and subject to washing-out of its finest fraction.