We have already learnt that loess soil lose its strength and suffer severe volume change when it get saturated. This behavior of loess makes it susceptible to supported foundation.
The volume change is the most prominent structural and physical property of it. This collapse with contact of water is sometimes called hydroconsolidation, sometimes called hydrocompaction.
Montmorillonite present in loess soil as clay mineral has great sensitivity to moisture producing an unstable soil structure. Consolidation always associated with settlement which is unexpected in foundation design, at least up to certain tolerance.
We are discussing about montmorillonite in our previous many posts; here we like to provide some information about its properties and structure. Details of it will be discussed in our upcoming post where we are going to provide clay mineralogy and soil structures, to explain different properties of soil at micro level.
The mineral structure of montmorillonite is such that exchangeable ions and water can easily take place between layers which can cause layers to separate. It is provided that montmorillonite is formed by sandwiching of silica sheets and octahedral sheets.
So we have idea about affinity of montmorillonite to water. This structure makes its susceptible to large volume change which can be determined by activity of clay soil as discussed in previous post. Dear reader we will discuss further about montmorillonite and also its influence on hydroconsolidation of loess soil in our next part of this topics.