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Handbook of Soils for Landscape Architects$
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Robert F. Keefer

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780195121025

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195121025.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 September 2021

Engineering Aspects of Soils

Engineering Aspects of Soils

(p.217) 18 Engineering Aspects of Soils
Handbook of Soils for Landscape Architects

Robert F. Keefer

Oxford University Press

Although most landscape architects use soils primarily for growing plants, sometimes they need to know how engineers look at soils. Engineers are not concerned about soil properties that relate to growing plants. Engineers consider soil as a support for building foundations, use in earthworks, a place for burying pipes that carry electricity, water, gas or oil, and as a tool for disposing of hazardous, municipal, industrial, and household wastes. Soil properties that engineers consider important are hydraulic conductivity (permeability), compressive strength, shear strength, and lateral pressures. Soil mechanics deals with stress/strain/time relationships. Some engineering properties of a soil that describe the relation of clays to water content were studied by a Swedish scientist, Atterberg, in 1911. Soil clays based on water content were categorized into solid, semi-solid, plastic, and liquid. The dividing lines between each of these four states are known as the “Atterberg limits,” that is, shrinkage limit (from solid to semisolid), plastic limit (from semi-solid to plastic), and liquid limit (from plastic to liquid). These points can be measured for individual clays. The Atterberg limits are used by engineers to classify soils based on their moisture properties. These limits are particularly useful for evaluating soil compressibility, permeability, and strength. The plasticity of a clay soil depends on the type and amount of clay mineral and organic materials present. Plasticity is the reaction a soil has to being deformed without cracking or crumbling. The “liquid limit” is a term indicating the amount of water in a soil between the liquid state and the plastic state. Soils are first divided into two categories of coarse-grained and fine-grained. Coarse-grained soils are those in which more than half of the material is larger than a no. 200 sieve. Fine-grained soils are those in which more than half of the material is smaller than a no. 200 sieve. Coarse-grained soils are further divided into two categories of gravels and sands. Gravels are those with more than half of the coarse material larger than a no. 4 sieve. Sands are those with more than half of the coarse material smaller than a no. 4 sieve.

Keywords:   bedrock, caissons, drainage, earthworks, fills, geotechnical aspects, hydraulic conductivity, infrastructure, permeability

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