Causes of Settlement of Foundation

Causes of Settlement of Foundation

When the soil beneath the structure shows a reduction in strength to bear the load above it, the structure will start to sink. This sinking is called settlement of the structure. Following are the causes of foundation settlement:

1. Structural collapse of soil
2. Mining subsidence
3. Underground erosion
4. Change in the vicinity
5. Thermal change
6. Landslides
7. Frost heave
8. Creep
9. Vibration and Shocks


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1. Structural collapse of soil: Structural collapse of some soil, such as saline, non-chohesive soils, gypsum, silt and clay and loess, may occur due to the dissolution of the material responsible for the intergranular bond of grains.

2.Mining subsidence: Subsidence of ground may occur due to the removal of minerals and other materials from mines below.

3. Underground erosion: Underground erosion may cause the formation of cavities in the subsoil which when collapse cause settlement.

4. Change in the vicinity: If there are changes due to the construction of a new building near the existing foundation, the settlement may occur due to an increase in the stress.

5. Thermal change: Temperature change cause shrinkage in expansive soil due to which settlement occurs.

6. Landslides: If landslides occur on unstable slopes, there may be serious settlement problem.

7. Frost heave: Frost heave occur if the structure is not founded below the depth of frost penetration. When thaw occurs, the foundation may settle.

8. Creep: The settlement may also occur due to creep on clay slopes.

9. Vibration and Shocks: Vibration and shock cause large settlement, especially in loose, cohesionless soils.

Also, read - What Is Soil Consolidation?

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