Encyclopedia of Engineering Geology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky, Brian Marker


  • Renato MacciottaEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73568-9_68


  1. 1.

    In Soil Mechanics (Engineering): Time-dependent volumetric change of a soil in response to increased loading, involving squeezing of water from the pores, decreasing volume, and increasing effective stresses

  2. 2.

    In Geology (Scientific): Process or processes whereby loose, soft, or molten Earth materials become firm and coherent (Holtz et al. 2011; Herrmann and Bucksch 2014).


The engineering definition of consolidation is followed here.

Consolidation Process

During consolidation of a fully saturated soil, an isotropic stress state starts when an increase in total pressure ( Δ σ 0) is applied to a soil volume that was initially at equilibrium under the in situ stress state ( σ 0) and pore water pressure ( u 0). The increase in total stress is assumed to be initially transferred as an increase in pore pressure (Δ u t=0) (Fig. 1). This increase in pore pressure dissipates over time at a rate that is inversely proportional to the soil’s hydraulic conductivity. Dissipation of this...
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  1. Biot MA (1941) General theory of three-dimensional consolidation. J Appl Phys 12(2):155–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  3. Herrmann H, Bucksch H (2014) Dictionary Geotechnical Engineering/Wörterbuch GeoTechnik. Springer, Berlin, p 1549Google Scholar
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  5. Terzaghi K, Peck RB (1960) Soil mechanics in engineering practice. Wiley. 11th Printing, p 566Google Scholar

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Engineering Safety and Risk Management, Department Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada