Effective unit weight

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Effective unit weight or buoyant unit weight (γ') is the weight of a saturated soil, surrounded by water, per unit volume of soil[1].


The following equation can be used to determine the effective unit weight of a soil or solid bulk cargo:



γ' = effective unit weight,
e = void ratio,
g = acceleration due to gravity (~9.81 m/s2),
γw = unit weight of water,
γsat = saturated unit weight (kN/m3) and
ρst = specific gravity or particle density (t/m3 or g/cm3).


  1. Budhu, M. (2011). Soil mechanics and foundations, 3rd edition. New York: Wiley.

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