This paper is concerned with the study of mineralogy
and engineering characteristics of soil materials derived from the
eastern part of Nile Delta. The clay minerals of the studied soil by
using X- ray diffraction are mainly illite (average 72.6 %) and
kaolinite (average 2.6 %), expandable portion in illite-smectite mixed
layer (average 7 %). Smectite is more abundant in fluviatile clays,
whereas kaolinite is more abundant in lagoonal clays. On the other
hand, illite and illite-smectite are more abundant in marine clays. The
geotechnical results show that the soil under study consists mainly of
about 0.3 % gravel, 5 % sand, 51.5 % silt and 42.2 % clay in average.
The average shrinkage limit attains 11 % whereas the average value
of the plasticity index is 23.4 %. The free swelling ranges from 40 %
to 75 % and has a value of 55 % giving an indication about the
inadequacy of such soil under foundations.
From a construction point of view, the soil under investigation
poses many problems even under light foundations due to the
swelling and shrinkage. Such swelling and shrinkage is due to the
high content of soil materials in the expandable clay minerals of illite
and smectite. Based on the results of the present and earlier studies,
trial application of soil stabilisation is recommended.