Plasticity of Clay

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    Mitulkumar Patel

    I think you are confusing a few concepts. Think of liquefaction as quicksand... the particles have little or no friction between each other and they lose their ability to stick together and act like liquids.  This happens when you have soil with little or no particle size difference, like well-sorted sand, and the soil is at the threshold of its liquid limit.  (Liquid limit is the amount of water soil can hold before it can no longer hold its angle of repose.) The particles are still solid, but because of just the right amount of water, there is not enough friction to hold them together and it starts acting like liquid.

     Liquefaction could also be caused by earthquakes as well if well-sorted soil is hit with the right magnitude of an earthquake. In this case, the particles move past one another similar to water molecules and act like a liquid.

    Clay will act like cement in a concrete mix and get in between the particles and act as glue (because of its smaller particle size higher liquid limit).

    Plastic limit is how much moisture can be removed so that the soil becomes solid and will break instead of deforming. 

    Hope it helps

    -Mitul

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    Raymond Tran

    That was very helpful, thanks Mitul.

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