Binary soil mixture, containing large silica particles (sand) mixed with variable content of very fine silt or clay, is an example of a functionally graded material that is important for several science and engineering applications. Predicting the porosity (or void ratio), which is a fundamental quantity that affects other physical properties, of such material as function of fines (clay or silt) fraction can be significant for sediment research and material design optimization. Existing analytical models for porosity prediction work well for binary mixed soils containing multi-sized non-cohesive particles with no clay, while such models frequently underestimate the porosity of sand-clay mixtures. This study aims to present an analytical model that accurately predicts the porosity of mixed granular materials or soils containing sand and very fine silt or clay (cohesive particles). It is demonstrated that accounting for the cohesive nature of very fine particles, which exists due to the effect of inter-particle forces, is a major missing aspect in existing packing models for mixed soils. Consequently, a previously developed linear packing model is modified so that it accounts for fines cohesive packing in sand-fines mixtures. The model prediction is validated using various experimental published data sets for the porosity of sand-fines mixtures. Improvement in the prediction of permeability and maximum packing dry density when incorporating cohesive packing behavior is discussed. The current model also provides important insights on the conditions under which, the lowest permeability and maximum packing state are expected.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited