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1. A sample with a volume of 45cm3;is filled with a soil sample. When the soil sample is \~

:::::: :::duated cylinder, K displaces 250m' of water. mat Is the porosity and· ~.

Ans. Given, V=45cm3; !I

Volume of solid. ( V,) • Volume of water displaced I

Vv=V-V!l=45-25=20cm3 t~

1 +W=


W l+W

n=v JV=20/45=O.444 e=V JV.l=20/25=O.8

2. By three phase soli system, derive a relation betWeen r 6' and W.

Ans. Water content (W) =W JW ",


So y",=Y/1+W

3. What are the index properties of soil? Ans. Index properties of soilars

i) Water content

iii) Particle size distribution v) In-situ density

ii) Specific gravity

iv) Consistency limits vi) Density index

4. What do you mean by consistency of soil?

Ans. Consistency of soil is nothing but it is the relative ease with which soil can be deformed.


It denotes degree of firmness of the soil which may be termed as soft, firm, stiff or hard

5. What are the A!!!rl:>_~rg_ llmlts which are used for engineering purposes? Define Uquidity Index.

Ans. The Atterberg limits are liquid limits

plastic limits and shrinkage limit

Liquid index (IJ) :The liquidity index or water-plasticity ratio is the ratio

expressed as a percentage of the natural water content of the soil minus it's plastic limit to it's plasticity index.






6. What is Shrinkage ratio? What is the relation between shrinkage ratio and mass specific gravity of the soil in its dry state?

Ans. Shrinkage ratio:

Shrinkage ratio is defined as the ratio of a given volume change expressed as a percentage of dry volurne , "to the corresponding change in water content above the shrinkage limit expressed as a percentage of weight of the oven dried soil.

·Shrinkage ratio = mass specific gravity of the soil (in its dry state)

7. What do you understand by in-situ unit weight of a soil? Name two important methods for the determination of in-situ unit weight.

Ans. The in-situ unit weight refers to the unit weight of a soil in the undisturbed condition or of a compacted soil in-place.

Two important methods for the determination of the in-situ unit weight are being given:

(i) Sand-replacement method. (it') Core-cutter method.


8. What is the difference between the volumetric shrinkage and linear shrinkage? Ans.

Volumetric Shrinkage (Vs )

I' The 'Volumeter Shrinkage' (or Volumetric change Vs) is defined as the decrease in I.




I' t)



the volume of a soil mass, expressed as a percentage of the dry volume of the soil

mass, when the water content is reduced from an initial value to the shrinkage limit:

(Vi - Vd) ,

V = V x 100

s '

Linear Shrinkage lLs1 d

i. = (1-3 100) X 100 '

s Ys+I00

'Linear Shrinkage (Ls)' is defined as the decrease in one dimension of the soil mass expressed as a percentage of the initial dimension, when the water content is reduced from a given value to the shrinkage limit. This is obtained as follows:

9. Differentiate between 'residual' and 'transported' soils. In what way does this knowledge help in soil engineering practice?

Ans. Soils which are formed by weathering of rocks may remain in position at the place of orgion. In that case these are 'Residual Soils'. These may get transported from the place of origin by various agencies such as wind, water, ice, gravity, etc. In this case these are termed "Transported soil". Residual soils differ very much from transported soils in their characteristics and engineering behaviour. The degree of disintegration may vary greatly throughout a residual soil mass and hence, only a gradual transition into rock is to be expected. But in transported soil high degree of alteration of particle Shape, size, and texture as also sorting of the grains occurs during transportation and deposition.

10. Distinguish between

(i) Texture and Structure of soil. (ii) Silt and Clay.

Ans. Differentiation between Texture and Structure of soil.

The 'structure' of a soil may be defined as the manner of arrangement and state of aggregation of soil grains. But the term 'Texture' refers to the appearance of the surface of a material, such as a fabric. It is used in a similar sense with regard to soils. Texture of a soil is reflected largely by the particle size, shape, and gradation.


Differentiation between Silt and Clay. Depending on size

Silt 0.075 mm to 0.002 mm

Clay Less than 0.002 mm

Depending on specific gravity Clay 2.44 - 2.92

Silt 2.68 - 2.72

11. Define:

(i) Degree of saturation (ii) Submerged density.

Ans. 'Degree of saturation' of a soil mass is defined as the ratio of the volume of water in the voids to the volume of voids. It is designated by the letter symbol S and 'is commonly expressed as a percentage:

Submerged (Buoyant) Unit Weight

The 'Submerged unit weight' or 'Buoyant unit weight' of a soil is its unit weight in the submerged condition. In other words, it is the submerged weight of soil solids (Ws)sub per unit of total volume, Vof the soil. It is denoted by the letter symbol 1':

l' = (W,)sub V

12. Derive the formula between soil moisture content (w), degree of saturation (S), specific gravity (G), and void ratio (e).


By definition.

. ..

w = W rJWs. as fraction; S = V'/vv> as fraction; e = V JVs S.« = V,iVs

w = W fW = Vw, "( s

W If Vs.'Ys

w_G = S_e


13. Derive the relation between void ratio (e), specific gravity of particles (G) and moisture content at full saturation (w).


By definition,

. . .

w = W'/w" as fraction; S = V JVV) as fraction; e = V;V, s» = Vr/Vs w=WIW=Vw·Ys

W S V,.Y,


For saturated condition, S = 1.

H r I


Ii \i

I 14. A fine grained soli is found to have a liquid limit of 90% and a plasticity Index of SO. The I l :,


• •

Wsat = eJG or e = Wsat.G

natural water conte ntis 28%. Determine the liquidity index and indicate the probable

consistency of the natural soli.

Ans. Liquid limit, wL = 90% Plasticity index, lp = 50 lp = wL-wp

:·.Plastic limit, wp = wL - lp = 90 - 50 = 40% The natural water content, w = 28%

Liquidity index, IL = W-Wp = 0.24 (negative)


Since the liquidity index is negative, the soil is in the semi-solid state of consistency

and is stiff; this fact can be inferred directly from the observation that the natural moisture content is less than the plastic limit of the soil.

15. A clay sample has void ratio of O.SO in the dry condition. The grain specific gravity has been determined as 2.72. What will be the shrinkage limit of this clay?

Ans. The void ratio in the dry condition also will be the void ratio of the soil even at the shrinkage limit: but the soil has to be saturated at this limit.

For a saturated soil,



orw= e/G

Ws = e/G = 0.50/2.72 = 18.4%,·

Hence the shrinkage limit for this soli Is 18.4%.

16. The liquid limit and plastic limit of a clay are 100% and 25%, respectively. From a hydrometer analysis it has been found that the clay soli consists of 50% of particles smaller than 0.002 mm. Indicate the activity classification of this clay and the probable type of clay mineral.

Ans. Liq·uid limit, wL= 100%

Plastic limit, wp = 25% Plasticity Index, Ip = (wL - wp) = (100 - 25)% = 75%

Percentage of clay-size particles = 50

Activity, A =~

where c Is the percentage of clay-size particles. A = 75/50 = 1.50

Since the activity is greater than 1.25, the clay may be classified as being active. The probable clay mineral is montmorillonite.





1. The Attei'berg limits of a clay soil are: Liquid limit = 75%; Plastic limit = 45%; and \ Shrinkage limit = 25%. If a sample of this soil has a volume of 30 em" at the liquid limit \ and a volume 16.6 cm3 at the shrinkage limit, determine the specific gravity of solids, 1 shrinkage ratio, and volumetric shrinkage. .


T ?£~~;~~~~ lWd T ------:::.::.::------.::::.::.-:--- T T .~~;~ ... ;:'.-.!\.'~~ ... - T ~~~~~~ t i~~_f~~ ~r' :'13~ ~{.)~~

I rw' \. rw' V'I Wf'

(a) At liqJid limit

(b) At shrinkage limit

(e) Dry state

Difference,jn the volume ofwnteratLL and SL = (30 -16.6) cm3 = 13.4 c:m3 Corresponding ditferen.ce in weight ofwnter :: 0..134 N

But this is (O.76~O.25) Wif W"

:. 0.50 WtI = 0.184

WtI = 0.268 N

Weight of water at SL = 0.25 Wd = 0.25 x 0.268 = 0.067 N ,', Volume ofwater at SL = 6.7 cuJ

V. = Total volume at 8L - volume ofwater at SL. = (16.6 -6.7) c~ = 9.9 em'.

W =0268N

If •


1,. = ""'i.9 Nlem8 = 0.027 N/emB = 27 kN/mB

:. Specific gravity of solids = "III = 27 =2.71

'1..,. 9.81

, Volume of solids,

Weight of solids,

. , .

Shrinkage ratio,

R = Wd = 26.8 = 161 '

V4 16.6 .,

Volumetric shrinkage. V.;:: R(wi - 10.):;: R(wz, - w.). here = 1_61 (75 - 25) :::: 80.5%.


2. Name any two methods for determining the liquid limit of the soil sample. Describe the Casagrande method for determining the liquid limit in the laboratory.


i) Static Cone Penetrometer

ii) Casagrande's Liquid Limit Device

Casagrande's Liquid Limit measurement:

The liquid limit is determined in the laboratory with the aid of the standard mechanical liquid limit device, designed by Arthur Casagrande and adopted by the 151.· The apparatus required are the mechanical liquid limit device, grooving tool, porcelain evaporating dish, flat glass plate, spatula, palette knives, balance, oven wash bottle with distilled water and containers. The soil sample should pass 425-lJ IS Sieve. A sample of about 1.20 N should be taken. Two types of grooving tools-Type A (Casagrande type) and Type B (ASTMtype)-are used depending upon the nature of the soil. The cam raises the brass cup to a specified height of 1 cm from where the cup drops upon the block exerting a blow on the latter. The cranking is to be performed at a specified rate of two rotations per second. The grooving tool is meant to cut a standard groove in the soil sample just prior to giving blows. Air-dried soil sample of 1.20 N passing 425-lJ 1.5. Sieve is taken and is mixed with water and kneaded for achieving uniformity. The mixing time is specified as 5 to 10 min. by some authorities. The soil paste is placed in the liquid limit cup, and levelled off with the help of the spatula. A clean and sharp groove is cut in the middle by means of a grooving tool. The crank is rotated at about 2 revolutions per second and the number of blows required to make the halves of the soil paste separated by the groove meet for a length of about 12 mm is counted. The water content is determined from a small quantity of the soil paste. This operation is repeated a few more times at different consistencies or moisture contents. The soli samples should be prepared at such consistencies that the number of blows or shocks required to close the groove will be less and more than 25. The relationship between the number of blows and corresponding moisture contents thus obtained are plotted on semilogarithmic graph paper, with the logarithm of the number of blows on the x-axis, and the moisture contents on the y-axis. The graph thus obtained, i.e., the best fit straight line, is referred to as the 'Flow-graph' or 'Flow curve'. The moisture content corresponding to 25 blows from the flow curve is taken as the liquid limit of the soil.


3. Explain the soil phase diagram by representing and giving the engineering significance of porosity, void ratio, degree of saturation, percent air voids, air content, water content, bulk unit weight, water content, unit weight of water, unit weight of solids.


Va = Volume of air

V", = Volume of'water V;. = Volume of voids V, = Volume of solids

V = Tobl volume or soil mass

Wo = Weicht of' air (necticible Or zero) W ~ = Weicht of watel'

W" = Weicht Or material occupyinc void space W, = Weight of'solids

W = ToUll weiCht of solid


Soil-phase diagram (volumes and weights of phases)


'Porosity' ar a soil mass is the ratio of the volume ofwids to the total volume of the sail mass. It is denoted by the lettersymboJ n and is commonlyexpres&ed as a peram.tage:

n .. ~)(lO) V

Here .

V()ld Ratio 'Void ratio' of a soil muss is defined os the ratio ofthevo!ume olvoids to the volume of solids in the soil moss. It is deDOted by the letter symbol e and ii generfllly expressed as (l dedmal unction ;

V. c=-E.


Here V" =Vo + Vw

'Void ratio' i& used more than 'Poroaity' in soil mechani~ to tharat:tense the natural state of soil. This is. for the reason that. in void ratiO. tbe denominator, V" or volume of'salida, is supposed to be relatively constant under the application of pressure, while the numerator. Vt •• the voll!J)1e of voids nloneehQDgeG ; however, in theenSe of porosity, both the numeratorV" and the denominator V change upon applieation ofpmsure.



n =;J.x 100



'Air content' of a soil mass is defined as the ratio of the volume of air voids to the totol volume ofvoids. It is designated by the letter ~'lnbol 0t and is commonly expressed 8& a pereentage :


a =..Lx 100

e Vat

Water (Moisture) Content

'Water content' or 'Moisture eontent' of a soil mass is defined as the ratio of the weight ofwater to the weight of solids (dry Weight) of the soil mass. It is denoted by the letter symbol at nnd is commonly expressed os a percentage :

W 00

w= W xl


& (W - W,) x 100 Wcr

In the field of Geology. water eontent is defined as the ratio of weight ofwo.ter to the total weight ofsoil mass; this dift'erenee ha$ to be borne in mind.

For the purpose of the above definitions. only the free water in the pore spaces or voids .. ·d--.J


Bul. (Mass) Unit Wel,ht

'Bulk unit weight' or 'Mass unit weight' of a soil mass is defined as the weight per unit volume oftbe soil moss. It is denoted by the letter &ymbol y.

Henee, Y = \VIV

Here W = Ww + W,

and V = Va + V w + V,

The term 'density' is loosely used for 'unit weight' in soil meebanies. oJtbough. stritUy speaking. density means the mass per unit volume and not weight.


Detree of Sa.turation

'Degree otsoturation' of a soil moss is defined es the ratio of the volume ot\\'ater in the voids to the vol\llI1e of'v'Dids: It is designated by the letter symbol S end is commonly expressed as a. percentagt! ;



Here Vtr = VII ... VII.'

F'or a fully saturated soil mass. VII! = VI/"

Therefore. for 0. satura.ted soil ntaS$ S = 100%. For a dry soil n\aS$. Vwis :zero.

'Iherefore, for a perfectly ~r soUsamp\e S is zero.

In both these conditions. the &ail is considered to be a two-phase &)'Stem.

The degree of saturation is between zero and 100%. the soil mass being said to be 'partially' saturated--the most common condition in nature.

Perwnt Air VDids

'Percent air \'Oids" of 0. soilrnass is deflned as the ratio of the volume of air \roids to the total volume of the soil It is denoted by the Jetter $Y1tlbol iiG nnd i3 commr:mly expressed Q$ ~ percen. :

Bulk (Mass) Unff WeIght

"Bulk unit weight' or 'Moss. unit weighf of a $0\1 IDUSS is defined us the weight per Ullit volume of the soU moss. It is denoted by the letter symbol-y.

Hence. y = WJV



w=w +W .


V~ VG + V"' + V#

The tenn 'density' is loosely U8ed for \mit weight' in soil meclumies, although. strictly spenking. density means the mass per unit volume and not\\'eight.

Unif Weight ofSolidlJ

'Unit weight of solids' is the weight of soil solids per unit volume of solids alone. It is alsD sometimes called the 'absolute umt weight' of a $Oil, It is denoted by the letter $YIDbol 1,:

UnifWeighf Q(Wafer

'Unit weight ofwnter' is the \\'eight per unit volume of water. It is den.oted. by the letter symbol 'Yilt ;

W 'Y. =~


It should be noted that the unit \veight of water varies in a small range ''\ith tenpera· ture. Ithes a oonvenient value at 4C1e, which is the $tandtll"d tamperat\ll'e fOt' this pt.U'JJOSe."Io is the symbol used to denote the unit weight atwater at 4~C.


4. Differentiate, between saturated unit weight and submerged unit weight. Derive the expression for submerged unit weight of soil.


Soli phase diagram showing additional equivalents on the- weight side

Saturated Unit Wei,ht

The 'Saturated unit weight' is defined as the bulk unit weight of the soil mass in the saturated condition. This is denoted by the letter symbol 'Ym.

Submerged (Buoytmt) U,dt Wetght

The 'Submerged unit \\'eight' or 'Buoyant unit weight' of a soil is its unit weight in the submerged condition. In other words, it, is the submerged ,,'eight of sail solit:l& (W')sub per unit of total volume, V of the soil. It is denotEd by the letter symbol '1' ;

t= (W")'1llI V

(W,),lIb is equal to the \\'eight of solids in o1r: minu.s the ""'eight of\"'nter displaced by the solids. This leads to :

(W,)sulI ;; W, - Vs' lw

Since the soil is submerged, the voids must be full ofwo.ter j the total volume V, then, must be equal to (VI + V 11,) • {W .. )tuh may now' be lWitten as :

(Wt)~tIh= W - Will - V, . lW =- W - V u; • YIll - VJ:i'1ll = If -i'w<Vw + V$) =W-V·lw

Dividing throughout by V, the total volume,

(W~)~ :: (.w,'lll'l_

V '. IY, 1[1.'

or r="IMl-1w

It may be rwted that a submerged soil is invariably saturated, while.Q saturated soil need not be sumberged.


5. Derive the expression the relation between porosity, void ratio, degree of saturation, . percent air voids, air content, and water content.


Relatlonshlps Involving Porosity, Void Ratio, Df:'grel' of Saturation, Water Content, Percent Air Voids and Air Content

n = v,. , as 0. fraction


= V-V'=l_~ .. l_ lV,

V V Gyu.,V

n= 1- \Vd G'tlJ.'V

This may provide a practical o.pproachto the determination ofn .

. . .

. ..


This mny prD\ide a pro.cti~al approacll to the detmninatiQn of c.

~, ~,

n·:- e=-

V V,

11 unT V,+~~ V, V~ " 1 (1+ e)

n = vrr. = .-+- . .lte+ .--

. u 'Vv V&, Vu e


• 'f



c :: nIl 1 - n), by algebraic manipulation


These interrelationship! betweenlltmd e facilitate, computOittOD of one if the other is known.

.. I

V (I, =...! t V. v

'. ,~1



. ..


M =.:£ =n· r V Q

RQ;: 'M~(


By definition.

UJ :: tV JW~. as fraction; S ;; VriVp as fraction; c .: V.}Va S,e= VJV,

:: W. ID1 ' .. ' =. "'.'l1'.lt =- Vw' Y $ ~ t,. Jt! . ". 'G.,.. S _iG

W 4/,r, " . .. - \' ttl ". . -.€1

~. it VJ.G·yw

:. w;G=.S.e

(Noit. This is valid even if both wandS ate ~ U peiUntnps). F'Ol' satunt«t condition,

" . .. ~

Wu.t aelG ore -w_.G

~,_Es.. e-« ,vu;

. 11;. v; - Vkf v. ·u~ v.

n -----. _: -_......:....

.. '~. - V-V. +V~ _. 1+ VII' l+e

v~ S.e=Vp.

e-S.e e(1-8)

no~ - .

l+e l+e

It ... :; (Q,.jl+'el(l-B) = n(l- S)

. . ~


" ...


6. Determine the (i) water content (ii) Dry density (iii) Bulk density (iv) void ratio, (v) degree of saturation from the following data:


Sample size 3.81 em dia. x 7.62 em ht.

Wet weight = 1.668 N

Oven-dry weight = 1.400 N

Specific gravity Wetweight1 Oven-dry weight,

Water content,

Total volume of soil sample,

Bulk unit weight,

Dry unit weight,

Specific gravity of solids,

. . Void ratio, Degree of saturation,

= 2.7

w= 1.668 N Wd = 1.4ll0 N

w = (1668 - ~4[J) x 100% = 19.14% 140

V = 1t x (3.81)2 x 7.62 ems 4

= 86.87cm!l

1668 .

"( = WW = = 0.0192 N/cms


= 18 .. 84 kNhns

"( = 18.84 kN/ms = 15.81 kNlm3

'Yd = (1 + w) (1 + 0.1914)


1. = G. 'Y UJ 'Y,w· = 9.81 kN/ms

d (1+e)

15.81 = 2.7 x 9.81 (1 + e) = 2..7 X 9.81 = 1.675

(1+ e) 15.81

e =0.675

s = wG = 0.1914 x 2.70 = 0.7656 = 76.SSO/(l.

e 0.675

7. A dry soil has a void ratio of 0.65 and its specific gravity = 2.80.

i) What is its unit weight?

ii) Water is added to the sample so that its degree of saturation is 60% without any change in void ratio. Determine the water content and unit weight.


iii) The sample is next placed below water. Determine the true unit weight (not considering


buoyancy) if the degree of saturation is 95% and 100% respectively.


(i) Dry Soil

Void ratio, e = 0.65 Grain specific gravity, G = 2.80

Unit weight,

_ G.'Yu.. _ 2.80 x 9.8 kNl s -1665 kNl S

'Ya- - m -. m.

(1+ e) 165

(ii) Partial Saturation of the Soil Degree of saturation, S = 60%

Since the void ratio remained unchanged, e = 0.65

Water content, w = S.e = 0.60 x 0.65 = 0.1393

G 2.80


U' . ht (G + Se) (2.80 + 0.60 x 0.65) 981 kNl S

rut wag = (1+ e) . 'Yw = 165 . m

= 18.97 kNlms.

(iii) Sample below Water

High degree of saturation S = 95%.

Unit ight » (G+Se). = (2.80+0.95 x 0.65) 9.81kN/ms

m wei <1+ e) 'Yu.. 165

= 20.32 kNlDls

(i) Dry Soil

Void ratio, . _ e = 0.65 Grain specific gravity', G = 2.80

Unit weight,

G·'Yw 2.80 x 9.8 kN/ms = 16.65kN/ms.

'Yd = (l+e) 165

(ii) Partial Saturation of the Soil Degree of saturation, S = 60%

Since the void ratio remained unchanged, e = 0.65

Water content, W = S.e 0.60 x 0.65 = 0.1393

G 2.80

= 13.93%

Full saturation, S = 100%

Unit \Wight = (G+e) _ : (2.80 +lt65)9.81kN/ms

(1 + e) 1m l65

= 20.51 kNhn3•


8. Explain the followings.

I) What do you mean by Speciflcgravity of solids? What is its Unit.?

i. I

ii)The mass Specific gravity of a fully saturated specimen of clay having a water content of}



.~ ]

30.5% is 1.96. On oven drying, the mass Specific gravity drops to 1.60. Calculate Specific gravity of clay.


w=30.5% Gm =1.96

rat = Gm 'YIII = 1.96 'V ... Gm =1.60

1., = Gm• Y ... = 1.6Oyw

= 196 = (G + enlll

Yat . ·lUl (1 + e)

1 <!n G·yw

'Y.J = .uu'YIII = (1 + e)




Specific Gravity of Solicls .

The 'specific gravity of soil solids' is defined as the ratio of the l1l1it weight of solids (absolute unit weight of soil) to the unit weight of water at the standard temperature (4°C). This is denoted by the letter symbol G and is given by :



This is also known as IAbsolute specific gravity' and, in fact, more popularly as 'Or .

Specific GravitY. Since this is relatively constant value for a given soil, it enters into num computations in the fteld of soil meclumics.


Saturated clay

Water content.

Mass specific gravity,

On oven-drying.

For a saturated soil,

From ro,

... (i)

... (ii)

1.96 = (G + 0.305G) = 1305G (1 + Il305G) (1 + 0.305G) 1.96 + 0.5900 = 1.305G


G=-- =2.77


From (ii).


G = (1 + 0.305G) 1.6 G = 1.6 + 0.485G

::::) 0.512G = 1.6

::::) G = 1.610.512 = 3.123

The latter part should not have been given (additional and inconsistent data).



9. A 'sample of clay taken from a natural stratum was found to be partially saturated and when tested In the lab gave the following results:

Specific gravity of soli particle is 2.6; Wet weight of sample = 2.S0N;

Dry weight of sample= 210N. Volume of sample=1S0 cm3 Compute the degree of saturation.


Specific gravity of soil particles, Wet weight,


Dry weight,


W =2.5UN; V= 150 ems Wa=2.10N

Dry unit weight.

w = (W - Wd) x 100 = (2.5- 2.1) x 1~%

Wd, 2.1

= OAD x 100% = 19.05% 2.10

T = W1V = 2.50/150 = 0.0167 N/ems I

= 16.38 kN/ms

_ "'( ::: '16.38 kNlms

Td - (1 + w) (1 + 0.19(5)

= 13.76kN/niJ

Water content.

Bulk unit weight.

[AlsO, ..,. = i' = 2.1W150 = 0.014 N/cm S = 13.734 kNIm S ] , G-Tm

Td = (1+ e)

2.6 x 9.81 13.76=-'-(1+ e)


Degree of saturatian,

(1 + e) = 2_6 x. 9.81 = 1_854 13_76

e = rf854

s = wG ::: 0.1905 X 2_6 = 0.58

e 0.854

= 58%


10."Stresses within the soli mass is caused by external loads applied to the soil and also by

Its own weight." Justify the statement basing upon the concept of Geostatic stress i 'j

acting upon the soil.



Ans. Geostatic stresses:-, ;1

" . ,;i

Stresses within a soil mass are ~used by externallaads applied to the soil and alsD by th~ self. II

wright of thi! lSl;)il The pattern of stre15l5es caused by ~malloads 4 U$Wllly very ~mpli-l~ eated ; the pattemof stresses eaused by the self"weiS1lt of the soil also can be complicated. But. 11 there is one common situation in \vhieh the self.weight of the soil gives rise to a very simple 11 pattem of stresses-that is, when the ground surface is harizontaland the nature of the soil ~ does not vary significantly in the horizontal directions. This situation exist.s frequently in the l' case of sedimentary deposits. The stresses in such a Situation are referred to as 'Oeostatic,' Stresses", ' ;

'Further, in this situation, there can be no shear stresses upon vertical and horizontall planes withtn the soil mass. Therefore, the vertical geostatic stress maybe computed simply I by considering the weight of the soil above that depth. 1

If the unit weight of the soil is constant with depth,

where 0"17 -= vertical geo15tatic stress "/ :: mit weight of lSojl

z :: depth under consideration


Vertical geostatic stress in soil with honzonfal surface


11. What are the methods to determine the water content as per lSI ? How can you determine the water content by using (a) Oven drying method (b) Pycnometer method?

Ans. The method to determine the water content are:(i) Over-drying method

(ii) Pycnometer method


(iii) Rapid moisture Tester method Oven-drying Method

The most accurate approach is that of oven-drying the soil sample and is. adopted in the laboratory. A.clean container of non-corrodible material is taken and its empty weight along-with the lid is taken. A small quantity of moist soil is placed in the container, the lid is replaced, and the weight is taken. The ·lid is taken removed and the container with the soil is placed in a thermostaticallycontrolled oven for 24 hours, the temperature being maintained between 105-11 ooe. After drying, .the container Is cooled in a desiccator, the lid is replaced and the weight is taken. For weighing a balance with an accuracy of 0.0001 N (0.01 g) is used.

Thus, the observations are:

Weight of an empty container with lid = W1 Weight of container with lid + wet soil = Wl Weight of container with lid + dry soil = W3 The calculations are as follows:

Weight of dry soil = W3 - W1

Weight of water in the soil = Wl - W3


. ..

Wt ofwater .. fV"tCII&P

w= . X ..t.lAJ".I'O

Wt of dry soil

w = (WI - Wa) X 100% tWa-WI)

Water content.,

Sandy soils need only about four hours of drying, while clays need at least 15 hours. To ensure complete drying, 24 hours of oven drying is recommended. A temperature of more than 1100e may result in the loss of chemically bound water around clay particles and hence should not be used. A low value such as 600e is preferred in the case of organic soils such as peat to prevent oxidation of the organic matter. If gypsum is suspected to be present in the soil, drying at sooe for longer time is preferred to prevent the loss of water of crystallisation of gypsum. To obtain quick results in the field, sometimes heating on a sand-bath for about one hour is resorted to instead of ovendrying. This is considered to be a crude method since there is no temperature control. Pycnometer Method


This method _1 be used wben the specific gmvityof solids is known. This is a relatively qmek method· and is oonsidered suitable fur coan&grained soils only.

The 1bllDwing are the steps involved:

(i) The weight of the empty pycnometer with its cap and washer is found (WI)'

(ii) Thlwehoil sample is p1aain thepycnometer(upto about 114 m 113 ofthevolwne) and its weight is obtained (Wz).

(iii) The pycnometer is gradually filloo With \ stirriDgand mixing thoroughly with e. . glass rod. such that water ecnnesflush· ,\lith the hole in the conical cap. '!he pycnometer is dried on the outside with a cloth end. its weisht is obtained(W~.

. (to) The pycnometer is emptied end cleaned tharqh1y; it is tilled with water upto the hole in the conical eap. and its weight is Dbtained (W J.

The water content otthe soil sample may be calcUlated I. follows:

. w =[(W~ - WI) (G -1)-1] x 100%

(Wa - W.) G· . .

,',.. This can be easily derived from the schemIltic phase diagrams $hG\vn If the solids froin (itt) arereplated with \VQter~,;c:,W ... of(iv).

Volume ofsoUds = !t.


(a}£mpty (b) Pymometer+ wet (e} Pycnometer + wet

pyella •• wi. W, 101 wt. W2 sol + water wt. w!

• ••

• ..

:: (WI- Wl) (0-1)_1

(Wa -w .. > (J

w=[Wa -WJ(. G-1)_1])( ~ Wa-W •. G


. ~ .. "'''''' .,"'''''''.'''. ~ ... ", .. -.~ .. ",,,


"" ...

_ - .. - _-

"" ...

__ -

_ - -

_ _ _.-

_ .. "'.- .. --_ .. __._--_._--_ .. _-_."'.- .. -.- .. _. _ .. --_ .. ",-_ .. _ .. -

_ .. _ .. _ "' ...... _.

_ ... _._ -._-.",.-

_._-_ .. -.- .. _.. -._._-----_.-

(If) Pycnameter + waterwt. w4

12. One cubic metre of wet soli weighs 19.80 kN. If the specific gravity of soli particles Is 2.70 and water content Is 11 %, find the void ratio, dry density and degree of saturation.


Bu1k unit weight,

= 19.80 kN/m3

Water content,

~ unit weight,

w = 11%=0.11

1 19.80 kNJ 3 :tN1 a

lei = ( . ) - ( ) m = 1'7.84 m

l+w 1+0.11

Specific gravity of soil particles G = 2.70

G·llll ld:;-l+e

Unit weight of water. llll = 9.81 kN/m3

:. 17.84 = 2.70 x 9.81

, (1+ e)

(1 +e) = 2.70 x 9.81 = 1.485

. 17.84

e =0.486

Void ratio,

Degree of SaturatiOBj

. ..


S= 0.11x2.70 =06124

0.485 .

Degree of Saturation = 61.24% •

. ..

13. The mass specific gravity of a fully saturated specimen of clay having a water content of 30 .. 5% Is 1.96. On oven drying, the mass specific gravity drops to 1.60.

Calculate the specific gravity of clay. Ans.

Saturated clay Water content,

Mass specific gravity.

. ..

w=30.5% Girl = 1.96

lat = Girl ·1. = 1.96 "f • Girl = 1.60

"f" = GIrI·"f. = I.SOy • (G+eTr. "fat = 1.96."f. = (1 + e)

. ..

On oven-dryiDg,


. G. lUI

lcf = 1.60.1111 = (l+e)



For a saturated soil.

. . .

From (i),

1.96 = (G +0.305G) = . LS05G (1 + 0.3050) (1 + 0.s05G)

1.96 + 0.598G = 1.305G


G=- =2.'7'7


From (ii).

1.60 = GI(l + e)

G = (1 + 0.3050) 1.6 G = 1.6 + 0.485G 0.512G=1.6

G = 1.610.512 = 3.123


14. In a specific gravity test, the weight of the dry ~oil taken is 0.66 N. The weight of the ~

pyknometer filled with this soil and water is 6.7,56 N. The weight of the pyknometer full of ~

1; water is 6.3395 N. The temperature of the test is 30°C. Determine the grain specific!

gravity, taking the specific'gravity of water at 30°C as 0.99568. 1 Applying the necessary temperature correction, report the value of G which would be obtained if the test were conducted at .4°C and also at 27°C~-The specific gravity values of water at 4°C and 27°C are respectively 1 and 0,.99654.


Weight of dry soil taken,

Weight of pyknometer + soil + water (W 3) Weight of pyknometer + Water (W J Temperature of the Test (T)

Specific gravity of water at BO°C (GrDozo )

By Equation


= 6.756 N =6.3395N = 30°C =0.99568




= 0.66 x 0.99568 = 2.69876 __ 2.'70

0.66 - (6.756 - 6.3395)


If the test were conducted at 4°C, GILT = 1

W" . 1 _ 0.66 x 1

G= W,,-(Ws-W,,) - 0.66-(6.756-6.3395) =2.'11

. ..

If the tests were conducted at 27°C, Gmor = 0.99654

• G = W" x 0.99654 = 0.66 x 0.99654

•. W"· ... JWa-W") 0.66-(6.756-6.3395)

= 2.7011 ... 2.'10.

15. The dry unit weight of a sand sample in the loosest state is 13.34 kN/m3 and in the densest state, it is 21.19 kN/m3• Determine the density index of this sand when it has a porosity of 33%. Assume the grain specific gravity as 2.68.


'Ymin(loosest state) = 13.34 kN/m3 'Ymu(densest state) = 21.19 kN/m3 Porosity, n = 33%

Void ratio,


eo = (1- n) = 33167 = 0.49

G·'Yw 'Yo = (1- eo)


(1 + 0,49) kN/m3 = 17.64 kN/m3

Density Index, I D(by Eq. 3.10)

= ('YIJW[) ( Yo -Ymin )

(Yo) Ymax -Ymin

21.19 {17.64-13.34} 21.19 4.30

= -- x . -- x-- = 0.658 = 65.8%

17.64 (21.19-13.34) 17.64 7.85



'Ymin = (1- eIDaJ[) or

2.68 x 9.81 13.34 = (1+€mu:)

elJW[= 0.971


1, = or

max (1- emin)

emin = 0.241

(emu - eo)

ID = ( ) > (by Eq. 3.8)

emax -emin

(0.971- 0.49) 0.48

= (0.971- 0.241) = 0.73 = 56.8%.

2.68 x 9.81

21.19 = ( )





1. What are the various parameters that effect the permeability of soil in the field? Ans. The following soil characteristics have influence on permeability:

1. Grain-size

2. Void ratio

3. Composition

4. Fabric or structural arrangement of particles

5. Degree of saturation

6. Presence of entrapped air and other foreign matter.

2; Estimate the coefficient of permeability for a uniform sand where a sieve analysis indicates that the 010 size is 0.12mm .

Ans. 010 = = 0.012 cm.

According to Allen Hazen's relationship, k = 100 0102

where k is permeability in cm/s and 010 is effective size in cm. k = 100 )( (0.012)2 = 100 )( 0.000144 = 0.0144 cm/s

Permeability coefficient = 1.44)( 10-1 mm/s.

3. What are the conditions necessary for Darcy's law to be applicable for flow of water through soil?

Ans. The grains grouping around void spaces larger than the grain-size are flocs and flocs grouping around void spaces larger than even the flocs result in the formation of a 'flocculent' structure. When inter-particle repulsive forces are brought back into play either by remoulding or by the transportation process, a more parallel arrangement or reorientation of the particles occurs. This means more face-to-face contacts occur for the flaky particles when these are in a dispersed state and results low permeability as compare to Flocculated structure.

4. Why is the permeability of a clay soil with flocculated structure greater than that for it in the remoulded state?

Ans. Darcy demonstrated experimentally that "For laminar flow conditions in saturated

soils, the rate of percolation is directly proportional to the hydraulic gradient" . q = k[( h1 - hz)! L] x A = k.i.A


q = the rate of flow or discharge

k = a constant, now known as Darcy's coefficient of permeability

h1 = the height above datum which the water rose in a standpipe inserted at the entrance of the sand bed,

hz = the height above datum which the water rose in a stand pipe inserted atthe exit end of the sand bed.


L = the length of the sample.

A =the area of cross-section of the sand bed normal to the general direction of flow. i = (hi - n2)IL, the hydraulic gradient

5. State the principle of Darcy's law for laminar flow of water through saturated soil.

Ans. The principle of capillary says that water is "pulled up" in the capillary tube to a height, dependent upon the diameter of the tube, the magnitude of surface tension, and the unit weight of water. Smaller the diameter of tube the more will be the capillary rise. So in fine grain soil, due to availability of small capillary tube or pores the capillary rise becomes more. While for coarse-grained soils, the voids are larger and resulting low capillary rise.

6. A 1.25 m layer of the soil (G = 2.65 and porosity = 35%) is subject to an upward seepage head of 1.85 m. What depth of coarse sand would be required above the soil to provide a factor of safety of 2.0 against piping assuming that the coarse sand has the same porosity and specific gravity as the soil and that there is negligible head loss in the sand.


Critical hydraulic gradient,

n 0.35

G = 2.65; n = 35% = 0.35: e = --= -= 7/13

, (1-n) 0.65

_ (G-1). (2.65-1) 1.65 x 13

l = = = = 1.0725

c (1 +e) (1 + 7113) 20

7. Determine the coefficient of permeability from the following data:

Length of sand sample = 25 em

Area of cross section of the sample = 30 C1tl2 Head of water = 40 cm

Discharge = 200 ml in 110 s.

Ans. L = 25 em

A = 30 cm2

h = 40 cm (assumed constant) Q = 200 mi. t = 110 s

q = Qlt = 200/110 mils = 20111 = 1.82 em3/s i = hlL = 40125 = 815 = 1.60


q = k . i . A k = qliA = 11 X 16 X 30 = 0.03788 cmls = 3.788 x 10-1 mm/s.


8. A glass cylinder 5 cm internal diameter and with a ecreen at the bottom was used asa

falling head permeameter. The thickness of the sample was 10 cm. With the water level in the tube at the start of the test as 50 cm above the tail water, it dropped by 10 cm in

one minute, the tail water level remaining unchanged. Calculate the value of ~ for the sample of the soil. Comment on the nature of the soil.;


Falling head permeability test:

hI =50 em; h2=40em

tl = 0; t2 = 60s ... t = t2 - tl = 60s

A = (1fI4) x 52 = 6.251t em2 ; L = 10 em

Since a is not gi.yen. let us assume a = A. a.

k = 2.803 At ; loglD (ht1h,_)

= 2.303 x (10/60) loglD (50/40) cmJs = 0.0372 cmls

= 3.'12 )( 10-1 mmls The soil may be coarse sand or fine Kravel

9. What is Quick sand phenomenon?

Ans. If the seepage pressure equals to the pressure due to submerged weight of soil, the effective pressure reduces to zero. At this stage a cohesionless soil particles tend to be lifted up along with the flowing water. This phenomenon is called quick condition or quick sand.

10. Define permeability and coefficient of permeability of soil?

Ans. The property of soil mass which permits the flow of water through its interconnected voids, is called permeability.

The coefficient of permeability is defined as the average velocity of flow that occurs through the total cross sectional area of the soil sample under unit hydraulic gradient. It is expressed in cmisec or m/day

11. What is the difference between Discharge velocity and Seepage velocity of soil water flow?


i) Discharge velocity : The rate of discharge of soil water through unit area of cross section of the soil sample (both the area of soilds and voids), is known as discharge velocity.

ii) Seepage velocity: The rate of discharge of percolating water per,unit cross sectional area of ·voids only perpendicular to the direction of flow,is known a~!,~eepage velocity.

• . .,;_·-::·-:;/i .. "--"-"


12. How does the flow net help In the determination of seepage pressure? r. Ans. The hydraulic potential h at any point located after n drops, each of value Ah Isglve~z\

_ 6



The seepage pressure at any point equals the hydraulic potential or the balance~

hydraulic head multiplied' ~y the unit weight of water and hence, Is given by r~



1J , ~i

h= H-nAh

P,= h z, = (H - nAh)Tw

The pressure acta In the direction of flow.




1. State and prove the validity of Darcy's law.

Ans. Darcy's Law

H. Darcy of France performed a classical experiment in 1856. In orderto study the properties of the flow of water through a sand filter bed; By measuring the value of the rate of flow or discharge, q for various values of the length of the sample, L, and pressure of water at top and bottom the sample, h1 and h2' Darcy found that q was proportional to (h1 - h2)ILor the hydraulic gradient, ; :

q = k[(h1 - h2)/L] )( A = k.i.A


q = the rate of flow or discharge

k = a constant, now known as Darcy's coefficient of permeability

h1 = the height above datum which the water rose in a standpipe inserted at the entrance of the sand bed,

h2 = the height above datum which the water rose in a stand pipe inserted at the exit:

end of the sand bed.

L = the length of the sample.

A = the area of cross-section of the sand bed normal to the general direction of flow. ; = (h1 - h2)IL, the hydraulic gradient.

The Equation is known as Darcy's law and is valid for laminar flow. It is of utmost importance in geotechnical engineering in view of the its w)de range of applicability. Validity of Darcy's Law

Reynolds found a lower limit of critical velocity for transition of the flow from laminar to a turbulent one. The values of R for which the flow in porous media become turbulent have been measured as low as 0.1 and as high as 75. According to Scheidegger, the probable reason that porous media do not exhibit a definite critical Reynold's number is because soil can be no means be accurately represented as a bundle of straight tubes. He further discussed several reasons why flow through very small openings

may not follow Darcy's law. There is overwhelming evidence which shows that

"'( .

Darcy's law holds in silts as well as medium sands and also fQr a steady state flow

through clays. For soils more pervious than medium sand, the actual relationship


between the hydraulic gradient and velocity should be obtained only experiments for the particular soil and void ratio under study.

v -D

R = c = 2000


where R = Reynold's number v = Velocity of flow

D = Diameter ofpipelpore

\) = Kinematic viscosity of water 'Yw = Unit weight ofwater

11 = Viscosity of water • and

g = Acceleration due to gravity.

f7' ~_?--::~~~~~~~_:-:~-=::~

~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~








2. What are the two laboratory methods for determining the coefficient of permeability?

Explain the Falling head permeability test.

Ans. (a) constant head & Falling head permeability method (b)Falling or Variable Head Permeameter .

A simple set-up of the falling, or variable head permeameter is shown in Fig.



orluette (Cross-sectional area. a)

~~5~~~:~~~~ Sou sa. (Q"oss-sedional area A)


A better set-up in. which the top of the standpipe is closed, with manometers and vacuum supply, may also be used to enhance the accuracy of the observations. The falling head permeameter is used for relatively less permeable soils where the discharge is small. The water level in the stand-pipe falls continuously as water flows through the soil specimen. Observations should be taken after a steady state of flow has reached. If the head or height of water level in the standpipe above that in the constant head chamber falls from ho to hi, corresponding to elapsed times foand ti, the coefficient of permeability, k, can be shown to be:



a = area of crcss-sectlcn of standpipe

L and A = length and area of cross-sectlon of the soll sample and the other quantities as defined.

This can be derived as follows:

Let - dh be the change In head In a small interval of time dt. (NegatiyeJdgn Indicates that the head decreases with Increase In elapsed time).

From Darcy's law,

" . ..

Q = (-tJ·dhVdt = i·i·a - adhldt = K-A-h/L dh

(khIL)-A = - a· dt

(kAlaL) . tit = - dhlh


Integrating both sides and applying the limits to and tl for t, and ko 8lld Al fot~. ' ,

~tdt=-t~= t~

(WaL)(t1 - t~ = 1, (hJA1) = 2_3logm (hJh1) .

. ..

Transplsing the terms,

3. A horizontal stratified soil deposit consists of three layers each uniform In itself. The permeabilities of these layers are 8 )( 10-4 em/s, 52 )( 10-4 em/s, and 6 )( 10-' em/s, and their thicknesses are 7, 3 and 10 m respectively. Find the effective avera'!e permeability of the deposit in the horizontal and vertical directions.


kl = 8 )( 10"" cmls 11.1 = 7 m k2 = 52 )( 10"" emfs 11.2 = 3 m ka= 6 X 10"" ~m1s ha:' 10m

k (or k );: (k1n! +~~+ kaha)

11 % (~ + ~ + ha)


= (8x7+52x3+6x 10) )( 1~' 20

= 13.6)( 10-4 emls

,', Effective average permeability in the horizontal direction = 13.6 )( '10-3 mmll




1-4 (7/8 + 3152 + 1018] 10

= 7.7 )( lit' emls

r. Effective average permeability in the vertical direction = 1.1 )( 10-3 mmll.

4. A large excavation was made In a stratum of stiff clay with a saturated unit weight of 18.64 kN/m3• When the depth of excavation reached 8 m, the excavation falled as a mixture of sand and water rushed In. Subsequent borings Indicated that the clay was underlain by a bed of sand with Its top surface at a depth of 12.5 m. To what height would the water have risen above the stratum of sand Into a drill hole before the excavation was started?




The effective stress at the top of sand stratum goes on getting reduced as the excavation proceeds due to relief of stress, the neutral pressure in sand remaining constant. The excavation would fall when the effective stress reached zero value at the .. top of sand.

Effective stress at the top of sand stratum,


ij =t ·l&1t -h·yw hTIII =t . Tat

k = ~. 151t = (12.5- 8)X1S.64 = 8.55 m

1m 9.81

Therefore, the water would have risen to a height of 8.55 m above the stratum of sand : into the drill hole before excavation under the influence of neutral pressure.

5. The earth dam of homogenous section with a horizontal filter is shown in the figure. If the-t ,jt

coefficient of permeability of the soil is 3x10·3 mm/s find the quantity of seepage per unit .. ~ .~

length of the dam. ~



~ 1


I 132m
90m ~ 30m


: Directrix of

r base parabola



or S = (J922 ~3n2 -92) m = 4.77 m

The, quantity of seepage per metre unit length of the dam

q=k .8

= 3 )( 1(t2 x lQ-S x 4.77 mIls

= 14.81 x lQ-5 mS/S

= 143.1 m1Is.

6; A deposit of cohesion less soil with a permeability of 3 )( 1 O~2 cm/s has a depth of 10m with an impervious ledge below. A sheet pile wall is driven into this deposit to a depth of 7.5 m. The wall extends above the surface of the soil and a 2.5 m depth of water acts on one side. Sketch the flow net and determine the seepage quantity per metre length of the wall.


The flow net is shown.

Number of flow channels, Number of equipotential drops,

Quantity of s.eepageper meter} length of wall ..

n,=4 nd=14



= 3 x 10-' x 2.5)( - mS/sec/metre run 14

= 2.148' x 1()-4 mS/sec/ meter run

= 214.3 m1JsecJmetre run.



7. Water flows at the rate of 0.09 mils in an upward direction through a sand sample with a coefficient of permeability of 2.7 )C 10-2 mm/s. The thickness of the sample Is 120 mm and the area of cross-section is 5400 mm2• Taking the saturated unit weight of the sand as 18.9 kN/m\ determine the effective pressure at the middle and bottom of the sample.


Here, q ::: 0.09 mlIS? ~D rnml/s •. k = 2.7 x 10-2 mmls A= 5400mm2

. 90

t= qlkA ::. . Z = 0.6173

. 2.7xlO- x5400

'f =1u.t-"fw = (18.9'O-9.81)kN/ml = 9.09 kN/ml = 9 . .09 )( 1()-6 Nfm.ni3

For the bottom of the sample, i::. 120 mm

'ij = "It - iz'r1/J'

for downward flow ,considering the effect of seepage pressure.

.. ij = (9.09 x 1£r )(120-.0.6173)( 120)( 9.81 x 10-6) N/mm2

::. 120 x 10-' (9.09 - 0.6173 )( 9.81) = 0.364 )( 1~ N/mm!l ::.3G4N/m.2

For the middle of the sample.1-= 60 rom ij = 1'2 - iz 'Yw

::. (9 . .09 x 10-')( 6.0 - .o.(173)t 60 x. 9.81 x 10-').N/mm2

= 0.182. x 1n-J Nlmm2::. 182 N/m:l. .-


(av% = dV.1 = Dam v = b U.h').

dx.ay ~ "Z'dt'

AlsOit flow occurs on account ofhydrostatic excess pressure (h = ulyw)'

8. T.he discharge of water collected from a constant head permeameter In a period of 15 minutes is 500 mi. The internal diameter of the permeameter is 5 cm and the measured difference in head betWeen two gauging points 15 cm vertically apart Is 40 em, Calculate the coefficient of permeability •.

If the dry weight of the 15 cm long sample Is 4.86 Nand tl1e ~pecific gravity of the solids is 2.65, calculate the seepage velocity.

Q = 500 ml ; t = 15 x 60 = 900 s .

.J\ = (1tI4) x ~2 = 6.251t cm2 ; L = 15 em ; h = 40 CIn;

_QL = 500)( 15 w.Vs _

k _ At h 6.25 xx x 900 x 40 _ 0.106 mmls


Superficial velocity v = QIAt = 900 x 6.25x. cmls

:: 0.0283 cmfs

=0.283 mm/s

Dry weight of sample, = 4.86 N

Volume of sample. = A . L = 6.25 x n x 15 em3 ::i: 294.52 em3

Drydensity~ 'Yd = 4.86 N/cm3 = 16.5 kN/ma


1. - Grw

d- (1+e)

(1 ) - 2.65 X 10. _ 1 60· 6' 10 kNJ 3

. + e - . -. , smce 'Y.w ". m

16.5 .

e = 0.606

n = (1 + e) = 0.8778 = 37.73%

r: Seepage velocity, v = vln = 0.283 = 0.750 mmls.

:I 0.3773·



9. Explain the effect of surface tension and Capillarity on soil. Ans. Effects of Surface Tension and Capillarity

At the level of the menlscua the surface tension imposes a compressive force onto the soil grains in contact with the meniscus of magnitude equal to the weight of water in the capillary column. This effect applies to both a meniscus resulting from capillary rise and for pore water suspended above a capillary zone. The compressive force imposed on the soil in contact with the held column of water causes compression or shrinkage of the soil.

When the ground water drops subsequent to the time of formation of a clay deposit, internal compressive stresses in the clay mass due to the surface tension and capillary forces make it firm and strong. This is referred to as drying by desiccation and the clays are therefore called "desiccated clays" . Sometimes, such desiccated clays may overlie soft and weak deeper clays. However, the strength and thickness of the desiccated zone may be such that roads and light buildings could be satisfactorily supported by it. Since the intergranular pressure in the capillary zone is increased by capillary pressures, the procedure for determination of the effective stress when such a zone overlies a saturated soil mass, gets modified as Illustrated below Let a saturated ·soil mass of depth hs be overlain by a capillary zone of height he assumed saturated by capillarity.


CapiBary zone . . jL

(saturated) ',"1:

.. .. .. .. .. .. ... . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .

p .... ::: .. : .. :::::: .. : .. :::::: .. ::


.... .. .. ,

:::: : .. : :SaturatedSOir::: : .. . :

.... .. .. .. ..

capillary zone-computation of effective stress


., Effective stress a = (1 - u

= hYut + h,:'Y1JI - hyw =hy' +h~YIJI

When h = h~, this becomes:

a = h,:"( + hcYw = h~YHt' as earlier.

The surface tension phenomenon also contributes to the strength of the soil mass in partially saturated coarse-grained soils. The moisture will be in the shape ofwedges at grain contacts while the central portion of the void is filled With air. Thus, an air-water interface is formed. The surface tension in this meniscus· imposes a compressive force on the soil grainS. increasing the friction between the grains and consequently the shear strength.

This strength gain in partially saturated granular soils due to surface tension is termed 'Apparent Cohesion' (Terzaghi). This gain can be significant in some situations. This apparent cohesion disappears on full saturation and hence cannot always be relied upon.

:. Effective stress

ij. =0- U

= hYat + h(Jw - hyw =hy' + heyw

When h = h , this becomes:


'0 = h 'V' + h 'II = h 'V t' as earlier.

el erw· elsa

At level PP:

Total stress

(J ;; (hI: + h,) lat u ;: h,"I1D

G :: (J - U :: ht Yilt + h.Yllt - hall» :: htlMt + haY'

Neutral stress Effective stress At level QQ:

Total stress (J :: ht . l"t

Neutral stress . u = zero .

Effective stress G :: (J - U :: ht . Yilt .

This is because the capillary phenomenon intteaseS the effectiVe or intergranular sttess by a magnitude equal to the negative pm pressure he . lUI at the top of the capillary fringe, the pore pressure being zero at the bottom of the capillary fringe.

This is interesting because the effective stress increases from he."( to he' rat at the bottom of the eapillary zone, when the saturation is by capillarity and not by submergence.



Effective Stress a = capillary pressure = he YID

The effect of a capillary frinp ofheight he 1s analogous to that of a surcharp he . 1.

placed on the saturated soil mass.

At depth h below the surfate (h < h) :

Etrective stress G == hy' + he 'Y..,

This may be showIi as follows:

Total sUess (J = h . 'YII,

N~tral stress, u = -(Ptessure due toweight ofwater hanging 'belowthat level)

=-(h -h~

e 11111

10. Explain the difference between Constant head Permeameter and Falling head Permeameter on experimental basis.

Ans. Constant-Head Permeameter

A simple set-up of the constant-head permeameter is shown

Water supply


Rubber Stepper h


The principle in this set-up is that the hydraulic head causing flow is maintained constant; the quantity of water flowing through a soil specimen of known crosssectional area and length in a given time is measured. In highly impervious solis the quantity of water that can be collected will be small and, accurate measurements are difficult to. make. Therefore, the constant head permeameter is mainly application cable to relatively pervious soils, although, theoretically speaking, It can be used for any type of soli.

If the length of the speclmen is large, the head lost over a chosen convenient length of the specimen may be obtained by inserting piezometers at the end of the specified

- length. If Q is the total quantity of water collected in the measuring jar after flowing through the soil in an elapsed time t, from Darcy's law,

q = Qlt = k.i.A

:·.k = (Qlt).(1IiA) = (Qlt).(UAh) = QLlthA where

k = Darcy's coefficient of permeability

L and A = length and area of cross-section of soil specimen h = hydraulic head causing flow.

The water should be collected only after a steady state of flow has been established. The constant head permeameter is widely used owing to its simplicity in principle. However, certain modifications will be required in the set-up in order to get reasonabte precision In the case of soils of low permeability.

Falling or Variable Head Permeameter

A simple set-up of the falling, or variable head permeameter is shown below.

A better set-up in which the top of the standpipe is closed, with manometers and vacuum supply, may also be used to enhance the accuracy of the observations (Lambe and Whitman, 1969). The falling head permeameter is used for relatively less permeable soils where the discharge is small.



Stint pipe

orburetl:e (Cl'OS!HSeCtional area a)

Porous stone· Semen

Soil sa"",e (Cross-sectional

,_-_ ...... ·_-_' ....... 1 area A) \



a ~ area of cross-section/of standpipe

L andA ~ length and area ~ Cross-section of the soil sample and the other quantities as

defined. .


This can be derived as foIluwa ;

Let - dk be the manse in bead in a small inteMl of time dt. (Negative sign indicates that the "heed decreases with increase in elapsed time),

FromDar~s lawt

Q ;;; (- a.dh~dt ;;; l·t·a. - ad/ddt == K·A·hlt t.t../'" dh

{IU' ~)A 2! -4.-


(kAlaL) . dt ~ -dhlh

lntegra.ting both sides and applying the limits to and t1 for t, and ho and hI for h,

kA ~.l} at .. _ ~ dh;;; JIto dk

aL~ JlIoh In h

r. (kAlaLXtl - to> ~ log,(hlh1) ~ .2.81oglO (ho'h1)·

Transpnsingthe terms,

• ..