Clays have been used for building structure, art and the foundations of all types of buildings for thousands of years. New studies in the field of karstology (the study of soil) have revealed the importance of clays in both natural and man-made environments. Specifically, new evidence suggests that clays can increase the strength and cohesive strength of soils. This, in turn, may have implications for a variety of different building processes and materials.
One of the most common situations in which clays are used is to build temporary structures such as houses. These types of structures are typically used when building a home on a limited budget and with a small amount of effort. Clay blocks are inexpensive and easy to transport, making them ideal for temporary structures. During construction, however, they tend to be less durable than other types of construction materials such as concrete and asphalt. This is due to the reduced level of porosity – or the ability of soil to resist stress and strain – that always possess.
In addition, plans are susceptible to damage from the addition of water. Clay soils are composed primarily of quartz and silica. Water evaporates from these minerals and the moisture content depletes, which causes them to expand. When they do so, cracks are often visible in the surface of the soil.
When clay soil is exposed to water, it expands, which causes its interior to become damp. The expansion of the clay causes stresses in nearby rocks and surfaces. This process provides the basis for movement, which occurs when clay moves. As it moves, it displaces rocks and other soils, creating stresses and sometimes cracks. When clay moves, it compresses the soil around it. The greater the force of the movement, the greater the amount of stress that can be placed on a given area.
When clay does not have an adequate amount of water in the soil, it becomes a hard substance. It is even more likely to become brittle when it is subjected to changes in humidity. In this type of situation, the movement is likely to occur, causing even further damage to the soil. Movement also increases the chances for contaminants to be added to the clay, causing health problems for humans and livestock.
In general, movement of clays is undesirable, but if they do move, they usually end up at the bottom, where they can sit for a very long time, trapping moisture or air, and slowing down the rate of drying. When water is added to class, especially if they are not completely dry, they may become soft. This new softened condition is what causes the change in strength and cohesion of clay-rich regolith with the addition of water.
Clay can benefit by adding water when it is already wet from rainfall or irrigation. Water adds texture and increases the rate of drying, which is beneficial to the grass. Moist clay, however, tend to break down more easily. When clays become too moist, chemical weathering reactions may occur, causing the clay to lose its structural integrity. This type of weathering is why water-based clay are often used as mulch, because the clays will not change significantly.
If you have clays with a high concentration of silt or sulfur, or if your area has a history of acid rain, you may want to consider the strength and cohesion of clay-rich regolith with the addition of water. Water adds texture and assists in the process of drying. It also helps to prevent the occurrence of weathering. If you find that your soil needs nutrients, or if you find that the properties of the clay in your soil are deteriorating, you may want to consider the benefits of a water-based coating for your landscaping project.