THE EFFECT OF THE CONCENTRATION AND MOVEMENT OF SOLUTIONS ON THE SWELLING, DISPERSION, AND MOVEMENT OF CLAY IN SALINE AND ALKALI SOILS

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Summary

Changes in permeability of a soil containing montmorillonite, and the swelling of orientated aggregates of extracted clay have been measured for a range of exchangeable sodium percentages and electrolyte concentrations. The concentrations at which clay moved out of the soil in the percolates have been found and compared with the concentrations at which aggregates dispersed in stationary solutions, and the concentrations at which soil suspensions dispersed when shaken.

The results indicate that: (a) permeability begins to decrease at the same concentration as the clay begins to swell, (b) the changes in permeability are directly controlled by the swelling of clay until clay dispersion and movement begins, (c) the concentration at which clay disperses depends on the mechanical stress applied, (d) when small mechanical stresses are applied, the proportion of the clay which swells and disperses depends directly on the exchangeable sodium percentage, and (e) large mechanical stresses may disperse most of the clay even at low exchangeable sodium percentages.

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