Clay: beauty to farmers, curse to civil engineering


Clay is a natural occurring fine graded soil, consists of various clay minerals with traces of organic matter and metal oxides. Due to presence of finest soil particles clayey soil has awesome water holding capacity and saturation capacity. Apart from mentioning the technical terms we are discussing the different perspective and use of clayey soil from civil engineers to farmers. As farmers and civil engineers are two important communities of our societies. Clayey soil has separate importance and perspective for both engineers and farmers. Mostly occurring clayey soils are highly plastic in nature. Clayey nature is one of most undetermined nature that varies from soil to soil, climate to climate, area to area. Clay can be of any form, Different type of clay may consists of different properties like colour, odour, texture, minerals and etc. Due to its varying and expansive undetermined properties civil engineers never favours the constructions with clayey soil. Whereas on other hand clayey soils is must and important part of agriculture and farming techs.

Clayey soil contributes differently to farmers and civil engineers. Clayey is a natural occurring therefore, one of the active characterised. Showing movements, exerting forces, properties of saturation, plastic limits are some of challenges that matter during construction. One of the great examples of disadvantage of constructing structure over expansive soil is “leaning tower of pisa”.

Soils with fine particles consisting minerals, organic matter, permeable and with good swelling index such as clayey soil are preferable for major crops grown. Such soils are suitable for farming and liked by farmers for growing crops. Such soil with change in climatic conditions shows like-wise characteristics. That allows farmers to grow different varieties of crops at same field. To increase the mineral quantity and soil quality for certain crops fertilizers are also added to soil. Land with coarser soil are not so much preferable for farming. Soil with low permeability and high porosity requires more amount of water for agriculture purposes.

As the fineness increases water holding capacity of soil increases. Clayey soils are cohesive soils, according to rainkine’s theory of earth pressures cohesive soils exerts negative earth pressures at surface. This posses an ability to hold soil mass all together that complicates the plane of failure of such soils, mostly bulges. Such mysterious behaviours makes civil engineers to use coarser soil grains like as silts, gravel, sand etc .as binding or construction material.

Therefore, this shows how one property has different applications and perspective over two important departments of our society, “civil engineers” and “farmers”.

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