Physical Properties Of Soils

Natural soils consist of solid particles, water, and air. Water and air fill the pore space between the solid grains. Soil can be classified according to the size of the particles as shown in Table 9.1.3.

Soil classification divides soils into groups and subgroups based on common engineering properties such as texture, grain size distribution, and Atterberg limits. The most widely accepted classification system is the unified classification system which uses group symbols for identification, e.g., SW for well-graded sand and CH for inorganic clay of high plasticity. For details, refer to any standard textbook on soil mechanics.

Figure 9.1.3 shows an element of soil, separated in three phases. The following terms describe some of the engineering and physical properties of soils used in ground-water analysis and design:

TABLE 9.1.2 ESTIMATED DISTRIBUTION OF WORLD'S WATER
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