INTRODUCTION: Soils: Key terminology and engineering parameters (Simons et al., 2002)
Typically, soil comprises a skeleton of soil grains in frictional contact with each other forming an open-packed structure (loose/soft) or close-packed structure (dense/hard). The soil particles may be microscopic in the case of clays (which may range in hardness from soft to stiff), just visible in the case of silts, and clearly visible in the case of sands (which may range in density from loose to dense, and in particle size from fine to coarse) and the larger particle sized gravels. The distribution of particle size is called grading. The soil skeleton, which can also be cemented, forms an interstitial system of connecting spaces or pores. The pores in the soil will usually contain some moisture even in unsaturated soils. The flow of pore water can be restricted by the small size of the pores and degree of saturation thus giving rise to low permeability k particularly in clays. To read more, download the PDF file below.
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