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Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering

On-line version ISSN 2309-8775

Abstract

STOTT, P R  and  THERON, E. Some shortcomings in the standard South African testing procedures for assessing heaving clay. J. S. Afr. Inst. Civ. Eng. [online]. 2015, vol.57, n.2, pp. 36-44. ISSN 2309-8775.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2309-8775/2015/v57n2a5.

Design of foundations for most light structures in South Africa, and in particular for low-cost housing, relies heavily on particle size analysis and the determination of Atterberg Limits. The tests for these properties are currently performed in commercial materials testing laboratories using the procedures of the CSIR's Technical Methods for Highways Part 1 (TMH1) (CSIR 1986). SANS 3001 (SANS 2011) is being phased in to replace TMH1. Both are primarily concerned with road construction. Investigations at the Central University of Technology indicate serious shortcomings in both of these norms in the context of foundation design for light structures. Highly plastic material is not usually used as road construction material, and these methods may be adequate to simply identify material so plastic that they should not be used in road construction. Structural foundations, particularly for low-cost housing, do not usually have this option; it is essential to estimate the actual heave potential. This investigation suggests that some of the changes proposed in SANS 3001 may be beneficial for heave assessment, but the most likely application of SANS 3001 could be unsatisfactory in many cases.

Keywords : expansive clay; TMH methods; SANS 3001; liquid limit; plasticity index; linear shrinkage.

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