Influence of microstructure on geotechnical properties of clays

  • R. M. Schmitz
  • C. Schroeder
  • R. Charlier
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Physics book series (SPPHY, volume 93)


Clays are geomaterials which are used in various applications in ur society. The mor common geotechnical applicatio s are: waterproof cores of dams, barriers to contain waste, slurry walls etc. But even if clays are not used as construction materials the geotechnical engineer encounters them frequently during construction of e.g. foundations and tunnels. Within the group of clay minerals we find individual clay species that possess geotechnical properties that vary enermously. These differences in geotechnical pr perties can b related directly to the differences in microstructure of the clay minerals. In this contribution it is shown how the knowledge of clay microstructure from X ray diffraction analysis, thus knowledge of the clay mineralogy, can be used to assess the geotechnical behavior of the clay. When mineralogy alteration processes of the clay are know from appropriate geological analogues, the geotechnical characteristics of the engineered clay structure can be estimated on the basis of these processes (e.g. containment of hazardous waste, infiltration of permeates in dams etc.). This implies however that the clay used as construction material is well characterised. A method to prepare such a clay atlas and how to use it is presented in this contribution.


Hazardous Waste Landfill Leachate Liquid Limit Geotechnical Property Undrained Shear Strength 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Head K.H. (1992) Manual of soil laboratory testing. vol 1. Soil classification and compaction tests. Second edition. John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  2. Keijzer T.J.K. (2000) Chemical osmosis in natural clayey materials. Ph.D. thesis, Universiteit Utrecht.Google Scholar
  3. Manwal (2001) Manuel relatif aux matières naturelles pour barrières argileuses ouvragées C.E.T. t réhabilitation de dépôtoirs en Région wallonne. Version 1. Marcoen JM, Tessier D, Thorez J, Monjoie A, Schroeder Ch. (eds). Ministère de la Région wallonne, Direction générale des Ressources naturelles et de l’Environnement Belgium.Google Scholar
  4. Mitchel J.K. (1993) Fundamentals of Soil Behaviour. Second edition. John Wiley & Sons Inc.Google Scholar
  5. Muir-Wood D. (1990) Soil behaviour and critical state soil mechanics. Cambridge university press.Google Scholar
  6. Schmitz R.M. van Paassen L.A. (2003) The decay of the liquid limit of clays with increasing salt concentration. Ingeokring Newsletter. Dutch association of Engineering geology. 9: 10–14.Google Scholar
  7. Schmitz R.M. Dosquet D. Illing P. Rodriguez C. Ourth A-S Verbrugge J-C. Hilligsman S. Schroeder C. Bolle A. Thorez, J Charlier R. (2001) Clay — leachate interaction: a first insight. In: 6th KIWIR International Workshop on Key Issues in Waste Isolation Research. P. Delage (ed). Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussèes, pp 245–269.Google Scholar
  8. Schmitz R.M. Schroeder Ch. Charlier R. (2002) A correlation between clay mineralogy and atterberg limits. In: Proceedings International Workshop of Young Doctors in Geomechanics. V. De Gennaro and P. Delage (eds). Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, pp 27–30.Google Scholar
  9. Terzaghi K., Peck R.B. (1967) Soil Mechanics in Engineering Practice. Second edition. John Wiley & Sons Inc.Google Scholar
  10. Van Paassen L. (2002) The influence of pore fluid salinity on the consolidation behaviour and undrained shear strength development of clayey soils. Memoirs of the Centre of Engineering Geology in the Netherlands. TU-Delft. Vol: 216.Google Scholar
  11. Wendehorst R. (1996) Bautechnische Zahlentafeln. 27. Auflage. Teubner, Stuttgart.Google Scholar
  12. Wetzel A. (1990) Interrelationship between porosity and other geotechnical properties of slowly deposited, fine grained marine surface sediments. Marine Geology. 92: 105–113. Elsevier Amsterdam.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. Schmitz
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Schroeder
    • 1
  • R. Charlier
    • 1
  1. 1.Geomecanics and Engineering Geology - Géomac - Université de LiégeBelgium
  2. 2.National Scientific Research Fund (F.N.R.S.)Belgium

Personalised recommendations