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The consolidation test provides basic information on the compressibility characteristics of soft soils needed to estimate the magnitude and rate of settlements resulting from one-dimensional straining. For the past 40 years, extensive use has been made of the conventional consolidation test in which samples are subjected to increasingly large increments of load, and the resulting time/deformation curves are used to obtain the various compressibility parameters. About 20 years ago, several investigators [1–3] found that the experimental results obtained were not unique, rather they were functions of the loading sequence used and the time allowed for each load increment. In other words, as in the case of other geotechnical tests, it was realized that the conventional test was by no means a “standard” test.
Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, École Polytechnique, Montreal, P. Q.