Committee D-18, on Soils for Engineering Purposes, early recognized the significance of physico-chemical properties of soils in engineering, and in 1947 Subcommittee R-6 on Physico-Chemical Properties of Soils was organized to deal with this field. The present Symposium was authorized by Committee D-18 at the Annual Meeting in June, 1951, at Atlantic City, and placed under the sponsorship of Subcommittee R-6. The speakers emphasize the influence of molecular and ionic exchange upon properties and responses of soils. This relationship leads to methods by which soils are altered to achieve adequate engineering performance even under adverse circumstances. They demonstrate, too, that exchange phenomena are dynamic. Consequently, exchange equilibrium might be modified by changes incident to construction, or exchange effected purposefully to achieve stabilization might be undone by natural processes. Mr. R. E. Grim summarizes exchange reactions occurring in earth materials and the underlying reasons for resulting changes in properties. He notes especially the relative exchangeability of various ions, and the changes induced by exchange reactions in adsorbed water hulls and state of aggregation in soils. This paper sets the stage for the four papers dealing with engineering properties and experience.
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