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A review of the identification methods and types of collapsible soils

Lookup NU author(s): Alfred Opukumo, Dr Colin DavieORCiD, Professor Stephanie Glendinning



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2022, The Author(s). Collapsible soils have caused infrastructural damages resulting in several economic losses and loss of lives in certain cases. The prerequisite for collapse occurring is an open metastable structure; capable of developing in any soil type given the right placement or aging conditions. Natural and anthropogenic (engineered and non-engineered) collapsible soils exist in many regions of the world. In their unsaturated state, these soils exhibit high enough shear strength and stiffness (provided by inter-particle bonds of either suction, clay, calcium carbonate, or other salts) but upon wetting and/or loading they undergo repacking due to bond softening/weakening. This collapse of the soil structure leads to a rapid volume decrease and consequently associated issues such as rapid differential settlement, ground fissuring and landslides occur causing damages to civil structures, and loss of lives. Despite these threats and the large body of research available in this subject, there is still poor understanding of the process of softening/weakening and the collapse mechanism of certain bond in some collapse elements. The aim of this paper is to provide a state-of-the-art comprehensive review of the different types of collapsible soils, field, and laboratory methods of predicting and measuring their potential to collapse. This understanding is crucial for geotechnical characterisation of soils in order to design safe and economic infrastructures with their long-term serviceability also in focus.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Opukumo AW, Davie CT, Glendinning S, Oborie E

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Engineering and Applied Science

Year: 2022

Volume: 69

Online publication date: 05/02/2022

Acceptance date: 19/12/2021

ISSN (print): 1110-1903

ISSN (electronic): 2536-9512

Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media B.V.


DOI: 10.1186/s44147-021-00064-2