Civil works in both public and residential homes require are scrutiny on engineering soil properties. Whether it is road, tunnel or even a home construction projects these properties play an important role in structural sustainability. The current forms of construction materials used by the modern engineers for construction have strict rules and manufacturers guidelines that adhere to a specific nature of the soil. In this respect, soil properties can be used as a natural determinant in ensuring structural integrity. On the other hand, agricultural activities are highly influenced by the soil nature hence making soil properties’ discovery a major factor in human life (Karl and Ralph, 1967).
In the event of scrutinizing engineering properties of the soil, the involved communities should be aware of the factors, which are in consideration for the purpose of analysis (Wyrwoll, 2003). Engineers on the other side need to know the soil content and the manner in which weather and climate directly influence the soil. Proper analysis of engineering properties of the soil gives some revelation on specific climatic changes in a given location. Human activities like excavation, movement and compaction of soil can also cause gradual changes in soil properties.
The study by White (1997) indicates that soil constitutes one of the most important materials in engineering. The determination of soil properties and condition gives an important step in the phase of any agricultural and engineering projects. Giving accreditation to any civil engineering facility requires the application of both field and laboratory soil testing methods. There are several laboratory tests commonly performed in the entire process of determining soil properties, which eventually assist in the foundational design of any earth structure.
The soil strength
In the determination of the soil strength, engineering classification of the soil is the prime step. Soil falls under three classifications in the form of sandy soil, clay soil and silt. In alternative systems, soil can acquire further classification as sand, gravel, clay, silt, organic and peat soils. These soils have either poor or excellent grading and fall under high or low rate of plasticity. Acquiring diverse knowledge on soil properties prior to commencement of a project can allow designers and engineers to adjust their designs in order to prevent the adverse effect on the structures.
According to Mamlouk and Zaniewski (2009), several mechanical properties and indexes are important in any soil experiments. The organic matter, water content and the unit weight of the soil are crucial properties. Other imperative soil properties include relative density, specific gravity and Waterberg limits. In order to gain full reaffirmation of soil constituents, hydrometer and sieve analysis are, usually, performed to determine the overall grain size distribution. Compaction is also an important process in the determination of density-moisture properties alongside the constant head method that helps to determine the hydraulic conductivity. Both field and laboratory tests like direct shear tests and the unconfined compression tests helps in soils consolidation and shear strength determination (Mamlouk and Zaniewski, 2009).
Joseph (1970) argues that the geotechnical surveys involved in the determination of engineering soil characteristics comprises a combination of drilling, sampling and laboratory testing. These experiments serve to ground the truth on any geophysical investigation. In these experiments, a detailed account of soil stratigraphy and engineering properties are put into the investigation. To harmonize these properties samples from different regions are important. Both shallow and deep penetration surveys are crucial to impose the essence of physical and mechanical properties of soil (Mitchell and Hooper, 2005).
The Perth region comprises of both cohesive and non-cohesive types of soils in a broader perspective. The regions towards the western coastal suburbs have sandy loam soils. Reactive clay soil is prominent in eastern suburbs of the Perth area. These eastern region of Perth comprises of upper Northern Swan and vines running from north to south across Woodridge. The great Eastern freeway, Carmel, Beckenham, Bungendore Park and Armadale have clay soil. The coastal parts of the Perth region have sand soil particularly in Landsdale and the Heathridge in the northern coast and Mandegalup in the southern coast (MacArthur et al.).
The reactive clay soils
The reactive clay soils in Perth region hinder engineering projects and construction (Wyrwoll, 2003). The clay soils, in particular, undergo shrink-swell cycles causing many structures to lose ground support. In the presence weather changes, uneven structural foundation problems emerge. Long rainy weather causes swelling of the clay due to structural weights hence underpinning of structures is done to improve the ground support for the structures. Power files technology is also in need where sand soils dominate. This technology helps to mitigate non-cohesive soil destructive properties. The application of these engineering solutions calls for prior testing and analysis of soil properties (White, 1997).
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