SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1986

General Theory of Consolidation for Clays


A general nonlinear differential equation for the one-dimensional consolidation of saturated plastic soils is presented. The variations of compressibility, of permeability, and of the coefficient of consolidation are taken into account. Application of the theory to the oedometer test, neglecting the submerged unit weight of the soil and assuming the change in thickness to be small, is made. The consolidation curves are found to depend on the ratio of the final to the initial thicknesses H2/H1 and on the ratio of the parameters λ/γ. Here λ = 1 − γκ, where γ and κ are the nonlinear coefficient of compressibility and the coefficient of permeachange, respectively. For the special case that the coefficient of consolidation is constant, λ = 0, the consolidation curves move somewhat (to the left for compression and to the right for swelling), more as the values of H2/H1 are smaller for compression or higher for swelling compared to unity, respectively. The effective stresses at any time and depth are smaller than those predicted by the linear Terzaghi's theory. The significance of the degree of consolidation given by Terzaghi's theory, for the case Cv = constant, is given introducing a nonlinear concept for U. For the general case that the coefficient of consolidation is not constant, λ ≠ 0, the corresponding consolidation curves are the subject of a companion paper.

Author Information

Juárez-Badillo, E
Ministry of Communications and Transports, Mexico
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 137–153
DOI: 10.1520/STP34612S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-4962-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0446-4