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Soil Mechanics - Essay Example

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Summary
Earth is extremely rich in soil and minerals and the terrain we find is of different types and kinds. Soil is made up of three components: solid particles, air, and water. The particles are classified by size as clay, silt, sand, gravel, cobbles, or boulders…
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Soil Mechanics
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Soil Mechanics

Download file to see previous pages... This is usually because soil is by natural forces in tension and shear, although it is comparatively stronger in compression. Soils have relatively low tensile strength so that they are not able to transfer all of forces arising in a structure when it is loaded (Jan 2007). Tension failure can be marked in the form of tension cracks in certain situations, however, slopes and embankments are predominantly the areas where shear fails. Under a load, soil distorts when placed under a load (Thinaga 2004).
In historic times, builders realized early that the soil at one place is different from another. They also realized that building structures built at one place couldn't be copied as they were to another place. This created many challenges for the builders as the instability of the ground left many buildings enveloped by natural disasters such as floods and earth quakes. They tried to build solid foundations for the buildings, however, due to unstable soil, the foundations also swayed. This led to the invention of strengthening the soil first and then building their structures afterwards.
The soil strengthening techniques have been utilized since times immemorial. The concept of reinforcement of soil by introducing a foreign material in the ground has been around for ages. The earliest record of strengthening the soil was through using available material. ...
Other materials were also used by other workers building the walls in different provinces (Thinaga 2004).


Techniques
Strengthening soil through layering reinforcements and its methodologies have been known for more than 3000 years. Materials as such reeds, twigs, grass and bamboos were reinforced into the ground serving their purpose well at that time. But as technology evolved, people found out that these natural materials possessed only limited strength and durability. Although the changing times have increased our knowledge, but the methods used today have been largely unaltered. The major difference today is that engineering technology has traveled as great distance, especially, in the type of materials used (Thinaga 2004).
Here are some of the techniques that are being used today to strengthen the soil shear strength.
Soil Compaction
The soil generally is unstable and has many weak and hard areas. Soil compaction is the movement of soil particles (sand, silt and clay) closer together due to external forces. These external forces can come in a shape of voluntary force or non-voluntary. People trudging over the soil, cars passing over it or things such as littering can all pressurize the soil into compaction. The soil, as a result, becomes denser and soil pores become smaller. Increased soil density results in higher strength and lower hydraulic conductivity.
Most of the times, compaction is done on purpose. Firstly it increases maximum load-bearing capacity and heavier and higher buildings can then be built. Secondly it prevents soil settlement and frost damage. It gives the adjacent area a sense of stability too. When the soil is compacted this tightly, it reduces the chances of water seepage, swelling and contraction which can be ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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