Soil shrinkage damages shallow foundations at Ottawa, Canada

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AuthorSearch for:
Journal titleEngineering Journal
Pages3337; # of pages: 5
Subjectmoisture content; shrinkage; building failures; clay soils; soil structure; buildings; shallow foundations; Basements and foundations; Roads/Pavement
AbstractFine-grained soils are often very sensitive to moisture content changes. Shrinkage due to removal of water tends to become permanent if the clay particles are randomly oriented, which is the case in the Leda clay deposits of the Ottawa-St. Lawrence river valleys. A survey of residential buildings in Ottawa revealed a wide range of damage intensity, such as settlement cracks. Wood frame construction resisted damage much better than brick buildings. Paved streets and sewers tend to drain away surface water causing lowering of the ground water table. Buildings on clay soils in Ottawa show greater settlement on the sides facing paved streets. Large trees cause severe settlement in buildings and damage to streets and sidewalks. By removing water through root systems they cause a local drying and shrinking of the soil resulting in non-uniform settlement and cracking in the roadway. Minimization of the movements, due to trees, on such soils as Leda clay, can be influenced by frequent watering to prevent drying out. Trees should not be planted close to structures and foundations should be at a depth where seasonal moisture changes are small.
Publication date
AffiliationNRC Institute for Research in Construction; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedNo
NRC number6984
NPARC number20374476
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Record identifiera0ea1180-7a37-4212-9364-0646180e819e
Record created2012-07-23
Record modified2016-07-13
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