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Both Compaction and consolidation are responsible to cause a reduction in the volume of soil which is due to the compressibility characteristics of the soil. The differences between these two are tabulated below.

Differences between Compaction and Consolidation of Soil

Following are the differences between compaction and consolidation of soils.

S.NoCompactionConsolidation
1Compaction is the compression of soil by the expulsion of air from the voids of the soil.Consolidation is the compression of soil by the expulsion of water from voids of the soil.
2It is a quick process.It is a slow process.
3Short term loading is requiredLong term loading is required.
4Loading is applied in a dynamic way.Loading is static and constant.
5Any type of soil either it is cohesion or Cohesionless can be compacted.Consolidation applies to cohesive soils only especially for low permeable clay.
6Degree of saturation of soil to be compacted should be less than 100%.Degree of saturation of soil to be consolidated should be 100%.
7Shear strength of soil increases.Shear strength of soil increases.
8Void ratio, compressibility and permeability decreases.Void ratio, compressibility and permeability decreases.
9Bearing capacity and settlement characteristics improve.Bearing capacity and settlement characteristics improve.
10Compaction is done purposely in order to get maximum dry density of soil.Consolidation of soil occurs naturally due to structural loads from foundations.
11It is done before the construction of structure.It begins naturally along with the construction work.
12To construct roads, earthen dams, embankments etc. compaction is useful.The foundation soil properties will improve over long period due to consolidation.
Compacting Soil
Fig 1: Compacting Soil

About Sadanandam AnupojuVerified

Sadananda is a Civil Engineer and is an Author, Editor and Partner of The Constructor since 2016.