Studies on the Properties and Formation of Quick Clays

Justus Osterman
Swedish Geotechnical Institute, Stockholm

Abstract: In a natural clay, the occurrence of a high sensitivity, i.e. a high quotient between the shear strength of the undisturbed and remolded softs respectively, under undrained conditions, is connected to thixotropic effects and to “quickness”.

The general composition of the soils in which quick clay occurs is described, and mention is made of the occurrence of non-argillaceous rock fragments in a matrix of clay particles. Illite is the main clay mineral. Quickness occurs both in salt-leached, marine deposited clays and in clays deposited in fresh water. The pore water of these clays is low in electrolytes and undecomposed organic material. It is found that quick clays often occur near peat and similar humic deposits. Also briefly discussed is the internal stress distribution in natural clays under various consolidation conditions, the structure of quick clays and their conditions of formation. The consistency of clays is considered, as is the stability and coagulation conditions of suspensions. This is followed by a commentary on physico-chemical effects contributing to the formation of quick clays under natural conditions, and a discussion of the salt-leaching theory and the theory on the effect of peptizing agents.

In the discussion, the author draws parallels between the coagulation and the thixotropic phenomena, and between the stability and dispersion of suspensions and the quickness.

Clays and Clay Minerals; 1963 v. 12; no. 1; p. 87-108; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1963.0120112
© 1963, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)