Electrical Dispersion in Relation to Soil Structure

by Kandiah Arulanandan, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of California, Davis, CA,
Scott S. Smith, (A.M.ASCE), Staff Engr.; Converse Davis and Assocs., Pasadena, CA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, 1973, Vol. 99, Issue 12, Pg. 1113-1133

Document Type: Journal Paper


The dielectric constant and conductivity of saturated clays vary with the frequency of alternating current in the range of 106 to 108 Hz. These variations can be used to reflect the influences of changes in fabric and structure-determining factors in clays, since conductivity and dielectric dispersion in the radio frequency range are influenced in a numerically significant and predictable manner by clay type and amount, water content, particle orientation, particle contact, and the nature of the heterogeneity and type and amount of electrolyte. A new compositional property, defined herein as the dielectric constant of the wet particles or aggregate, is shown to depend on the amount and type of clay, water content and to reflect the water-adsorbing capacity and fabric of a clay. Numerical values describing the compositional and geometrical properties of clay-water-electrolyte systems are obtained by representing the system by a simplified three-element electrical network.

Subject Headings: Clays | Soil structures | Soil water | Saturated soils | Particles | Natural frequency | Fabric structures | Numerical methods

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