Factors impacting the electro conductivity variations of clayey soils



The variation of pore fluid properties in soil has a major effect on soil behaviour. This effect is a function of pore fluid properties and soil mineralogy. Such variation usually happens in the reservoirs of dams or in some geotechnical projects. The electro conductivity (EC) measurement is a simple method to monitor any variation in the pore fluid of soils. EC is the ability of a material to transmit (conduct) an electrical current. This paper focuses attention on the effect of soil-pore fluid interaction on the EC of clayey soils. A set of physico-chemical experiments are performed and the role of different factors including soil pH, soil mineralogy, soil: water ratio, cation and anion effects are investigated. The results of this study indicate that for soil that has a relatively low CEC, the anion type is an important factor, while the cation type does not noticeably affect the EC of the soil-solution. However, for such soil, an electrolyte property, i.e. its solubility, is much more effective than the CEC of the soil. In addition, it was observed that in the presence of neutral salts such as pore fluid, the pH of the soil-solution decreases causing an increase in the EC of the soil sample.