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Whats Soil Consolidation

Soil consolidation is a process by which there is a decline in the volume of soil due to a reduction in the level of water. The one-dimension theory was established hence changing the definition which was previously associated with clay sediments. Gurjar (2018) suggests that the applied pressure that causes consolidation can be increased by natural loads like sedimentation processes, or human-made loads for example the development of buildings or a decrease in water level.

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One dimensional soil consolidation test is mainly used to evaluate the amalgamation properties of low permeability types of soils and commonly performed on undisturbed samples. It works on the assumption that soil is uniform and isotropic and pressure is held constant and occurs when there is no lateral strain. Atkinson (2019) states that the model consists of a rectilinear element of soil which is a subject to changes in loading and which has vertical seepage The general equation of one-dimensional consolidation is predicated on Darcy’s law during which the flow drag resistance of the z-direction is employed.

The equation takes into account a condition in which the applied pressure and soil thickness are changed with time among others. The variables include the surplus pore pressure, the time elapsed since the appliance of pressure, and therefore the depth of the element within the layer. The coefficient of volume compressibility is additionally assumed to be constant also because of the coefficient of permeability for vertical flow (Liu, 2018). Darcy’s law is expressed by the formula:

Q=-KA dh/dl,

where Q is the rate of water flow,

K is the hydraulic conductivity,

A is the column cross-section area,

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And dh/dl indicates a hydraulic gradient.

The duration of the consolidation process may be a critical issue and highly depends on the porousness of the soil subjected to the load and on the drainage paths. Generally, consolidation in sand or gravel occurs quickly especially after construction whereas the progression may last for several years or decades in clay soils. This is due to slow seepage that occurs when pressure is applied due to low permeability.


Atkinson, J. (2019) Consolidation. Web.

Gurjar, R. (2018) Consolidation of soil. Web.

Liu, H. (2018) ‘Analytical solution and application for one-dimensional consolidation of tailings dam’, Mathematical Problems in Engineering, 2018. Web.

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