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Analytical Methods

TECH GUIDE

Physical Properties: Soil Strength

The soil strength gives a measure of the capacity of a soil mass to withstand stresses without giving way to those stresses by rupturing (failing suddenly and quickly) or becoming deformed (failing gradually by compression). The failure of a soil to withstand gravitational forces can be seen when a structure settles as its weight exceeds the soil's bearing strength, when unstable roads and hillslopes slide downhill, and when earthen dams give way under the pressure of impounded water. In the context of mine reclamation, soil strength information is important for construction of: (i) access roads, (ii) reclaimed hillslopes, (iii) containment structures for contaminated material, and (iv) earthen dams for diversion of water from one watercourse to another, to capture contaminated water, or to provide water for the reclamation site. Soil strength tests are conducted to determine a soil's ability to withstand sudden soil failure and gradual soil compression.


 

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