Properties of Desert Silty Soil in Relation to Vehicle Mobility,
KING SAUD UNIV RIYADH (SAUDI ARABIA)
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Desert soils covering wadis valleys as well as small hills in the wadis are formed from silty-sand soils. A significant part of these soils are wind blown sediments and may be classified as losses. In this study, it was found that the soil in the wadis contains varying amounts of clay, gypsum and salty materials which act as a binder between the soil particles. In their dry state, these soils are brittle, porous and sensitive to moisture and deformation. Laboratory examination of these soils showed that they lost most of their bearing resistance and shear strength upon wetting or deformation. The reduction in bearing resistance and shear strength for these soils was investigated using the plate loading test, the cone penetration test and the direct shear test. The decreases for bearing resistance and shear strength were found to vary significantly and at times reached close to 90 percent of the values found in their dry and undisturbed state. In addition the corresponding reduction in trafficability parameters were analyzed based on the reduction of soil strength due to wetting.