The theory of granular packings for fine soils

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Fine soils are substances made of tiny particles, for which, besides their geometrical assemblage, the electrochemical forces are important. But the broad experience in Soil Mechanics has shown that, excluding the time, they behave like granular materials. By using the scanning electron microscopy, it has been shown by several authors that clay assemblages are structures of the second order, made of solid particles grouped in clusters. Applying the theory of packings of spheres in contact to the intra-cluster structure as well as to the entire mass of soil, a fundamental equation is obtained. The plastic limit is found to be a constant for a geological formation, because it is obtained by eliminating the capillary water and transforming the clay mass into a first order structure. The liquid limit is a inherently property of the second order, due to the development of clusters. Consequently, there is a linear relationship between the plasticity index and the liquid limit, with a slope of unity, as can be deduced from the abundant data reported by several authors around the world.

Original languageEnglish
Article number08008
JournalEPJ Web of Conferences
StatePublished - 30 Jun 2017
Event8th International Conference on Micromechanics on Granular Media, Powders and Grains 2017 - Montpellier, France
Duration: 3 Jul 20177 Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

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© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2017.


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