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Soil Compaction Versus Soil Consolidation

Soil compaction is the compression of soil by the expulsion of air from the voids of soil. Soil consolidation is the compression of soil by the expulsion of water from the voids of soil.

To increase the shear strength it is necessary to decrease the air voids, if air voids are there then water may enter into the voids leading to swelling and volume change hence compaction is necessary.


Soil compaction reduces both water infiltration and drainage. It also reduces the oxygen of gases increasing the problems of aeration.


Differences between Compaction and Consolidation


Now let us see some differences between soil compaction and soil consolidation:


Compaction refers to increasing the density and decreasing the air voids. It is the densification of soil by the application of mechanical energy. this occurs when soil particles are pressed together, reducing pore space between them.


Both compaction and consolidation are responsible for the reduction in the volume of soil.

  1. Compaction is an instantaneous process, unlike consolidation. Consolidation is a time taking phenomenon.

  2. In compaction, the soil is unsaturated whereas it's saturated in case of consolidation.

  3. There are various methods that exist for compaction. For consolidation, the soil should be loaded with static loading with time.

  4. In the case of compaction, reduction occurs in the volume of air voids. But in the case of consolidation, pore water expulsion occurs.

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