Response of Swelling Clays to Superstructure Vertical Loads

  • M. A. DafallaEmail author
  • E. Mutaz
  • M. A. Al-Shamrani
Conference paper
Part of the Sustainable Civil Infrastructures book series (SUCI)


The laboratory testing method for determination of swelling pressure using oedometer apparatus tends to give very conservative values when one dimensional oedometer tests are utilized. Design based on such obtained values leads to unjustified construction cost that adds up to the problems associated with this specific type of soil. This study is aimed at telling the practice and design engineers to fully understand the figures quoted by laboratories and amend them as appropriate to reflect realistic field conditions. Multi-dimensional tri-axial tests are expected to be more informative but due to time and cost constraint it is proposed to utilize a rather simple 3D free swell test along with the oedometer test in order to rationally predict the potential swelling pressure for specific clay. Vertical and volumetric strain relationships obtained in 3D free swelling tests can be utilized to predict the swelling pressure when compared to the profile of load deformation values obtained in one-dimensional swelling tests. The vertical strain associated with load increment as measured during the oedometer test can give a guide for estimating the actual swelling pressure. 3D swell test results of a local clay obtained from Al-Ghatt area in Saudi Arabia were examined and a correction factor procedure for the swelling pressure prediction is suggested and combined with a 3D swell ratio.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Civil EngineeringKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Swissboring & Company Llc.RuwiOman

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