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Two Mechanisms For Age‐hardening Of Soil

A. Dexter, R. Horn, W. Kemper
Published 1988 · Materials Science

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SUMMARY Soil samples from Germany, Israel and USA were moulded at water contents around the lower plastic limit and compacted with uniaxial pressures c. 20-200 kPa. The samples were stored at constant water content. At intervals after moulding, the strengths of sub-samples were measured with a small penetrometer. The soils showed increases in strength with time. Two types of behaviour were observed and explained by a simplified theory for soil strength. With the German and Israel soils, penetrometer strength increased by the same absolute amount irrespective of compaction pressure. This indicates that new particle-particle bonds were being formed at a rate which was not affected by compaction. With the USA soils, the ratio of penetrometer strength/initial strength increased with time and was independent of compaction pressure. This indicates that existing particle-particle bonds were being reinforced by a cementation mechanism. Evidence is presented which suggests that age-hardening by this second mechanism may be inhibited by soil organic matter.
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