Determination of Swell Potential of Al-Qatif Clay

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Courtesy of ASTM International

Knowledge of the swell potential of expansive soil at the outset of an investigation can be helpful in avoiding possible damage to the structure. A review is presented of several methods that have been proposed to identify swell potential and test techniques, which are used to quantify the amount of swell. A site investigation was conducted to obtain hand-carved block specimens from a fresh excavation site near Al-Qatif, Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Laboratory tests were used to determine geotechnical and physicochemical properties and mineralogical composition. The results of a range of laboratory tests, including oedometer types, filter paper, triaxial, and new stainless steel tank apparatus, showed the problems associated with investigating swell behavior of soils. A field swelling test was conducted, and results are compared with laboratory tests to establish guidelines for estimation of swell potential.

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