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Soil type and liquefaction Featured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This science fair project was performed to observe soil liquefaction in different types of soil. The testing was done using 3 types of soil - sand, clay and loam.

Hypothesis

Sand will require the most water before soil liquefaction occurs.
 

Scientific Terms

Soil liquefaction, water pressure

Background

Soil liquefaction

Soil liquefaction is the condition where soil will changes from solid to liquid because too much water is retained in the soil. This condition normally occurs in varieties of soils that are granular and in soils with poor drainage.

Liquefaction of soil happens when it is overly saturated with water. This means the space between granules become filled with water, and this water applies pressure on the soil granules and loosens them. During an earthquake or a blasting at a nearby construction site, the pressure from the water increases and the granules will move.

Additionally, during soil liquefaction, the soil is weakened and becomes unable to sustain the weight of buildings on top of it. This will cause cracks to appear on the building, its walls to sink and the eventual collapse of the structure. Liquefied soil also exerts more pressure on their retaining walls, causing surface deformation, cracks and the eventual collapse of walls. Similarly, hill-side landslides are also due to soil liquefaction.
 

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    Complexity level:
    4
    Project cost ($):
    20
    Time required:
    1 hour for preparation, 1 hour for the science fair project experiment
    Material availability:
    Very easily found
    Safety concerns:

    None