Traditionally, soil mechanics has focused on the behavior of two distinct types of geomaterials: clean sands and pure clays. Under the application of external loads, these two types of geomaterials represent and are conveniently associated with two extreme types of soil responses: drained and undrained behavior. The drained behavior of clean sands and the undrained behavior of pure clays have been covered extensively in most soil mechanics textbooks. In order to provide some insight into the mechanical response of additional materials, a literature review on the mechanical behavior of “non-textbook” soils (i.e. soils other than clean sands and pure clays) was carried out. The non-textbook soils investigated in this study were silty sands, clayey sands, silty clays, sandy clays, sandy silts, and cemented soils. The review focused on the following aspects of their mechanical behavior: (1) response to static loading; (2) response to cyclic loading; (3) compressibility, consolidation and creep behavior; (4) hydraulic conductivity; and (5) additional studies. Static response studies focused on both strength and stiffness properties of non-textbook soils. Investigations on the cyclic response emphasized the liquefaction resistance and, whenever available, the evolution of excess pore-pressure during cyclic loading. Whenever possible, an attempt was made to compile experimental protocols and theoretical frameworks used in the studies cited in the literature review. The literature review indicates that many aspects of the mechanical behavior of non-textbook soils have been studied in a somewhat superficial manner. A summary of the major observations regarding the mechanical behavior of non-textbook soils is presented. Topics meriting future research are identified.

Report Number



non-textbook soils, silty sand, calyey sand, silty clay, sandy clay, sandy silt, cemented soil, mechanical behavior, static response, cyclic response, compressibiity, hydraulic conductivity, SPR-2631

SPR Number


Project Number


File Number


Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, IN

Date of this Version