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A stabilized soil has increased strength. It has greater bearing capacity, and decreased water sensitivity, which diminishes volume change during wet/dry cycles. Soil stabilization is used to provide a firm base or sub-base for all types of paved are as, to improve foundation conditions, and as a lining for ditches and banked earth work s. The need for stabilization, the uses of stabilization and the various agents used for stabilization and methods used for stabilization with the application is discussed.


Stabilization in a broad sense incorporates the various methods employed for modifying the properties of a soil to prove its engineering performance. Stabilization is being used for a variety of engineering works, the most common application being in the construction of road and airfield pavements, where the main objective is to increase the strength or stability of soil and to reduce the construction cost by making best use of locally available materials.

  • 1.1 HISTORY It is discovered from archaeological excavations that during Indus civilization the art of burning bricks and utensils made of earth was made perfect to a very high degree. It is rather doubtful that they purposely stabilised by adding sand and/or lime, although the chemical analysis of this soil shows that it contains sand and lime in adequate quantities and of proper proportions. Burning of bricks and utensils prepared of soil is in itself a method of stabilisation, which concludes that the art of soil stabilisation was perfected by Indians from ancient time. The soil could be stabilised by adding fine powder of coarse sand, stones and rock. The floor of burnt brick is called surkhi. The Indians knew that addition of surkhi to the soil is one of the ways to stabilise it. Addition of ash of burnt coal is also another method of stabilising soils. It seems that a number of methods of soil stabilisation as given in treatise of Silpa Sastra were developed by Indians and were used successfully for various purposes, before the

advent of Western knowledge in India. The lime stabilised soil used as plaster to the wall is the best plaster known as yet.


Natural soil is both a complex and variable material. Yet because of its universal availability and its low cost winning it offers great opportunities for skilful use as an engineering material.

Not uncommonly, however the soil at any particular locality is unsuited, wholly or partially, to the requirements of the construction engineer. A basic decision must therefore be made whether to:



site material




and design to

standards sufficient

to meet


restrictions imposed by its existing quality.

Remove the site material and replace with a superior material.

Alter the properties of existing soil so as to create a new site material capable of better meeting the requirements of the task in hand.

The latter choice, the alteration of soil properties to meet specific engineering requirements is known as “Soil stabilization.”

Improving an on-site soil’s engineering properties is referred to as either “soil modification” or “soil stabilization”.

The term “modification” implies a minor change in the properties of a soil, while stabilisation means that the engineering properties of the soil have been changed enough to allow field construction to take place.

Soil stabilization aims at improving soil strength and increasing resistance to softening by water through bonding the soil particles together, water proofing the particles or combination of the two. Usually, the technology provides an alternative provision structural solution to a practical problem.


The load-bearing capacity of the soil helps the engineer to design the foundation to support the deign loading. It is desirable from an engineering standpoint to build upon a foundation of ideal and consistent density. Thus, the goal of soil stabilization is to provide a solid, stable foundation.

When the available soil is not suitable enough for construction then the soil can be used by manipulating its composition by adding suitable stabilizers. Stabilizing enhances the given property of the soil type. Increase Tensile and Shear strength. Reduce shrinkage.


It is used for many purposes and it increases different soil properties as listed below:

It is used to reduce the permeability and compressibility of the soil, soil mass in

earth structures and to increase its shear strength. It is used to increase the bearing capacity of foundation soils.



used to improve

the natural soils for the construction

of highway and






used to make

an area trafficable

within a short period of time


emergency purposes. It is used to increase the unit weight of the soil.

It helps to decrease the void ratio of the soil.

It increases the shear strength of the soil.









  • 1 Gravel

Small pieces of stone varying from the

alone is





mud wall

size of a pea to that of an egg. If you



the tiny lumps

of stone

soak what you


is gravel



have nothing to bind them together.

hours in a bucket of water, and if it

disintegrates, it is not gravel.

  • 2 Sand


Similar small pieces of stone (usually quartz), which are small than a pea but each grain, are visible to the eye.

similar to gravel, it is of no use for wall making by itself - but if mixed with clay, i.e. sandy clays or clayey sands, it is the ideal mud wall

building soil.

  • 3 Silt


The same as sand except that it has been ground so finely that you cannot see individual grains.

by itself is also no good for building walls. It will hold together but is not strong. Furthermore, it will not compact so it is also of no use for

pressed blocks or rammed earthwork.

  • 4 Clay


Soils that stick when wet - but very hard when completely dry. Some of these clays shrink when they dry and expand when wet, but there are

can be rammed or compressed but in drying out they often shrink. During the monsoon they get damp and expand again and crack form.

also clays, which do not shrink at all.

  • 5 Organic

Soil mainly composed of rotting,


are mainly useless for wall building.


decomposing organic matters such as

A reliable rule is that if a soil as good

leaves, plants add vegetable matter. It is spongy when wet, usually smells of decaying matter, is dark in colour and usually

for growing plants in, it is not good for building walls with.


There are two kinds of tests:


Field tests Colour tests Touch and smell test


Biscuit test Hand wash test Cigar test Adhesion test Lab tests

Sieve test

Sedimentation test







Observe the colour of soil.


Deep yellow, orange and red, ranging to deep browns indicate iron content

which is good as building mud. Greyish or dull brown, ranging to dirty white indicates more clay.

Dull brown with slightly greenish colour indicates organic soil.









Make ball out of wet soil.

Pierce a knife into it and remove.

Observer the knife after removing.


If little soil sticks on the knife then it has more silt.

If lot of soil sticks on the knife then it has more clay.

If the knife is clean after removal than the soil has more sand.


 Procedure Make a smooth paste from the soil removing all gravels. Mould it into a
Make a smooth paste from the soil removing all gravels.
Mould it into a biscuit of 3cm diameter and 1cm height.
Leave it to dry and observer for shrinkages or cracks.
Break the biscuit to noting how hard it is.
If biscuit cracks or leaves gap from the mould then it contains more clay.
If it’s very hard to break then soil contains more clay.
If it breaks easily and can be crumpled between finger then it has good sand-
clay proportion.
If breaks and reduce to powder then the soil has more sand or silt.
 Procedure Make a smooth paste from the soil removing all gravels. Mould it into a


(Fig.1). Biscuit test



Rub small quantity of dry soil on palm to feel its texture.



Moisten the soil and rub again.

Interpretation Soil that feels course when dry but sticky when wet contains lumps of clay.



Soil that feels course when dry but gritty when wet contains sand.



Soil that feels course when dry but little gritty when wet contains silt.

If the wet soil gives off musty smell then it contains organic matter.








Play with wet soil till your hands get thoroughly dirty.

Wash your hands to see how difficult it is to clean.


If hands get cleaned quickly, then soil contains more sand.

If it takes little time to clean and feels like flour then soil contains more silt.

If it feels soapy or slippery and takes time to clean then soil contains more clay.

HAND WASH TEST  Procedure o o o o o Play with wet soil till your

(Fig.2). Touch/Smell/Wash text










Procedure o o o o o o o (Fig.3) Cigar Test

(Fig.3) Cigar Test

Make a smooth paste from the

soil removing all gravels. Roll it on palm to make a cigar.

Slowly push it outside your

palm. Measure the length at which it

breaks. Interpretation

Length below 5cm - too much

sand. Length above 15cm - too much

clay. Length between 5cm to 15cm -

good mixture of sand and clay.








Pass soil from series of standard sieves set on top of on another with finest

sieve at bottom. Observer the soil collected in each sieve.


Silt will be collected in lowermost sieve.

Gravels will be collected on top.

Sand and lumps of clay will be collected in intermediate sieves






Take a transparent cylindrical bottle or jar of 1Lt. Capacity.

Fill it with ¼ soil and ¾ water.

Shake well and allow it to settle for 30 min.




Coarse gravels will be settled at bottom, followed by sand, silt and clay on top.

Measuring the layers will give us the approximate proportions of each content.


It must also be recognized that stabilization not necessarily a magic wand by which every soil property is changed for the better. Correct usage demands a clear recognition of which soil properties must be upgraded, and this specific engineering requirement is an important element in the decision whether or not to stabilize. Properties of soil may be altered in many ways, among which are included chemical, thermal, mechanical and other means.

The chief properties of a soil with which the construction engineer is concerned are: volume stability, strength, permeability, and durability.

Methods of stabilization may be grouped under two main types:

  • 1. Chemical or additive – addition of cement, lime, bituminous or other chemical agents

  • 2. Mechanical – most common form, it is the physical compaction of the soil

  • 3.1 Chemical Stabilisation

One method of improving the engineering properties of soil is by adding chemicals or other materials to improve the existing soil. This technique is cost effective : for example, the cost, transportation, and processing of a stabilizing agent or additive such as soil cement or lime to treat an in-place soil material will probably more economical than importing for the same thickness of base course.

Additives can be chemical, meaning that the addictive reacts with or changes the chemical properties of the soil, thereby upgrading its engineering properties.

Additives can also be mechanical, meaning that upon addition to the parent soil their own load bearing properties bolster the engineering characteristics of the parent soil.

Placing the wrong kind or wrong amount of additive – or improperly incorporating the additive into the soil can have devastating results on the success of the project.

In order to properly implement this technique, an engineer must have:

A clear idea of the desired result

An understanding of the type(s) of soil and their characteristics on site

An understanding of the use of the additive(s), how they react with the soil type and other additives and how they interact with surrounding environment

An understanding of and means of incorporating (mixing) the additive

An understanding of how the resulting engineered soil will perform.


There are many kinds of additives available. Not all additives work for all soil types and a single additive will perform quite differently with different soil types. Generally, an additive may be used to act as a binder, alter the effect of moisture, increase the soil density or neutralise the harmful effects of a substance in the soil.

Following are some of the most widely used additives and their application:

Portland cement


Fly ash

Calcium chloride


Chemical or Bio-remediation

Various other indigenous stabilisers include


Plant Juices

Gum Arabic

Sugar Or Molasses

Cow Dung

Animal Urine

Tannic Acid


Portland cement

It is a mechanical additive, used for soil modification which improves the soil quality or

soil stabilization which is to convert the soil to a solid cement mass Amount of cement used will dictate whether modification or stabilization has occurred

Nearly all types of soil can benefit from the strength gained by cement stabilization

Best results have occurred when used with well-graded fines that posses enough fines to produce a floating aggregate matrix


It is a chemical additive, has been used as stabilizing agents in soils for centuries

It reacts well with medium, moderately fine and fine-grained clay soils.

In clay soils, main benefit from lime stabilization is reduction of the soils’s plasticity,

by reducing the soil’s water content, it becomes more rigid It increases the strength and workability of soil and its ability to swell

It is very important to achieve proper gradation, by breaking up the clay into small

sized particles, and allow lime to introduce homogeneously and properly react with the clay Lime can be applied to dry soil, but in populated or dust blown areas, lime is mixed

with water to form slurry Curing time is 3 to 7 days to allow lime to react with soil, surface of soil is wetted

Fly ash


It is a chemical additive, consisting mainly of silicon and aluminium compounds, is a

by-product of the combustion of coal It can be missed with lime and water to stabilize granular materials with few lines,

producing a hard, cement-like mass. It acts as a pozzolan and/or filler product to reduce air voids

Common application is as part of lime-cement-flyash (LCF) to coarse-grained soils that possess little or no fine grains

As it is essentially a waste product, it is very inexpensive

Calcium chloride

It is a chemical additive, has the ability to absorb moisture from the air until it

liquefies into a solution. Presence lowers freezing temperature of the moisture present in the soil, so it is a

proven for cold-climate application If the water in soil cant freeze, there is less soil movement, and become more stable

Also works as a binder, making the soil easier to compact and reducing dust


It is a mechanical additive, that occurs naturally or as a by-product of petroleum

distillation The black pitch used to make asphalt is bitumen

Asphalt cement, cutback asphalt, tar and asphalt emulsions are used

Soil type, construction method and weather are all factors in choosing the type of

bitumen to use as additive Use of bitumen lead to fewer weather-related delays during construction and makes compaction easier and more consistent

Chemical or Bio remediation

Petroleum hydrocarbons, lead, PCBs, solvents, pesticides and other hazardous natural

and man-made substances which come as the resultant of industries often contaminated the soil Even contaminated real estate is valuable – pollution is undesirable – efforts are made

to return the contaminated soil to an acceptable condition for human habitation

Goal is to convert hazardous substances into inert ones and to prevent them from spreading or leaching Type of additive depends on the contaminant and environment

Chemical additives are often proprietary chemical cocktails, but the science is well understood and quite effective at neutralizing hazardous substances Bio- remediation is typically done by introduction of natural means like bacteria or insects that eat contaminants and convert them to natural substances.


Mechanical Soil stabilization refers to either compaction or the introduction of fibrous and other non-biodegradable reinforcement to the soil. This practise does not require chemical change of the soil, although it is common to use both mechanical and chemical means to achieve specified stabilization.



Soil Reinforcement

Addition of Graded Aggregate Materials

Mechanical Remediation


Compaction typically employs a heavy weight to increase soil density by applying pressure from above. Machines are often used for this purpose, large soil compactors with vibrating steel drums efficiently apply pressure to the soil, increasing its density to meet engineering requirements. Operators of the machines must be careful not to over-compact the soil, for too much pressure can result in crushed aggregates that lose their engineering properties.

Soil Reinforcement

Soil problems are sometimes remedied by utilizing engineered or non-engineered mechanical solutions. Geo-textiles and engineered plastic mesh are designed to trap soils and help control erosion, moisture conditions and soil permeability. Larger aggregates, such as gravel, stones and boulders are often employed where additional mass and rigidity can prevent unwanted soil migration or improve load-bearing properties.

Addition of Graded Aggregate Materials

A common method of improving the engineering characteristics of a soil is to add certain aggregates that lend desirable attributes to the soil, such as increased strength or decreased plasticity. This method provides material economy, improves support capabilities of the sub grade, and furnishes a working platform for the remaining structure.

Mechanical Remediation

Traditionally, mechanical remediation has been the acceped practice for dealing with soil contamination. This is a technique where contaminated soil is physically removed and relocated to a designated hazardous waste facility far from centres of human population. In recent times, however, chemical and bio remediation have proven to be a better solution, both economically and environmentally. It is often cheaper to solve tha problem where it exists rather than relocate the problem somewhere else and possibly need to deal with it again in the future.


Both new construction and rehabilitation projects are candidates for soil stabilization. While the precise stabilization procedures will vary depending on many factors including – location, environment, time requirements, budget, available machinery and weather – the following process is generally practiced:

Assessment and testing

Site preparation

Introduce additives


Compacting and shaping / trimming


Assessment and Testing

The soils of the site are thoroughly tested to determine the existing conditions. Based on

analysis of existing conditions, additives are selected and specified. Generally, a target chemical percentage by weight and a design mix depth are defined for the sub-base contractor. The selected additives are ssebsequently mixed with soil samples and allowed to

cure. The cured sample is then tested to ensure that the additives will produce the desired results.

Site Preparation

The existing materials on site, including existing pavement if it is being reclaimed, is

pulverised utilizing a rotary mixer. Any additional aggregates or base materials are introduced at this time. The material is brought to the optimal moisture content by drying overly wet soil or adding water to overly dry soil. The grade is shaped if necessary to obtain the specified material depth.

Introduce Additives

Cement, lime or fly ash can be applied dry or wet. When applied dry, it is typically spread at

a required amount per square yard (meter) or station utilizing a cyclone spreader or other

device. When lime is applied as slurry, it is either spread with a tanker truck or through the rotary mixer’s on-board water spray system. Calcium chloride is usually applied by a tanker truck equipped with a spray bar. Bituminous additives are typically added utilizing an on-boar emulsion spray system on a rotary mixer. It can also be sprayed on the surface, but this method requires several applications and additional mixing.


To fully incorporate the additives with the soil, a rotary mixer makes several mixing passes

until the materials are homogenous and well-graded. It is crucial that the rotary mixer maintains optimal mixing depth, as mixing too shallow or too deep will create undesireable proportions of soil and additive. Inappropriate proportions of soil and additive will decrease

the load-bearing properties of the cured layer. Some projects require multiple layers of treated and compacted soil. When applying cement and fly ash, it is important to finish mixing as soon as possible due to the quick-setting characteristics of the additives.

Compaction and Shaping/Trimming

Compaction usually follows immediately after mixing, especially when the additive is cement or fly ash. Some bituminous additives require a delay between mixing and compaction to allow for certain chemical changes to occur. Compaction is accomplished through several passes using different machines. Initial compaction is begun utilizing a vibratory pad foot compactor. The surface is then shaped and trimmed to remove pad marks and provide a more suitable profile. Intermediate compaction follows utilizing a pneumatic compactor, which provides a certain kneading action that further increases soil density. A tandem drum roller is used on the finishing pass to provide a

smooth surface. A final shaping gives the material a smooth finish and a proper crown and grade.


Sufficient curing will allow the additive to fully achieve its engineering potential. For cement, lime and fly ash stabilization, weather and moisture are critical factors, as the curing can have a direct bearing on the strength of the stabilised base. Bituminous-stabilized bases often require a final membrane of medium-curing cutback asphalt or slow-curing emulsified asphalt as a moisture seal. Generally, a minimum of seven days are required to ensure proper curing. During the curing period, samples taken from the stabilized base will reveal when the moisture content is appropriate for surfacing.

5.0 Factors Affecting the Strength of Stabilized Soil

Presence of organic matters, sulphates, sulphides and carbon dioxide in the stabilized soils

may contribute to undesirable strength of stabilized materials (Netterberg and Paige-Green, 1984, Sherwood, 1993).

  • 5.3.1 Organic Matter

In many cases, the top layers of most soil constitute large amount of organic matters.

However, in well drained soils organic matter may extend to a depth of 1.5 m (Sherwood, 1993). Soil organic matters react with hydration product e.g. calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2) resulting into low pH value. The resulting low pH value may retard the hydration process and affect the hardening of stabilized soils making it difficult or impossible to compact.

  • 5.3.2 Sulphates

The use of calcium-based stabilizer in sulphate-rich soils causes the stabilized sulphate rich soil in the presence of excess moisture to react and form calcium sulphoaluminate (ettringite)

and or thamausite, the product which occupy a greater volume than the combined volume of reactants. However, excess water to one initially present during the time of mixing may be required to dissolve sulphate in order to allow the reaction to proceed (Little and Nair, 2009; Sherwood, 1993).

  • 5.3.3 Sulphides

In many of waste materials and industrial by-product, sulphides in form of iron pyrites (FeS2)

may be present. Oxidation of FeS2 will produce sulphuric acid, which in the presence of calcium carbonate, may react to form gypsum (hydrated calcium sulphate) according to the reactions (i) and (ii) below

i. 2FeS2 + 2H2O +7O2= 2FeSO4 + 2H2SO4

ii. CaCO3 + H2SO4 + H2O = CaSO4.2 H2O + CO2

The hydrated sulphate so formed, and in the presence of excess water may attack the stabilized material in a similar way as sulphate (Sherwood, 1993). Even so, gypsum can also be found in natural soil (Little and Nair, 2009).

  • 5.3.4 Compaction

In practice, the effect of addition of binder to the density of soil is of significant importance.

Stabilized mixture has lower maximum dry density than that of unstabilized soil for a given degree of compaction. The optimum moisture content increases with increasing binders (Sherwood, 1993). In cement stabilized soils, hydration process takes place immediately after cement comes into contact with water. This process involves hardening of soil mix which means that it is necessary to compact the soil mix as soon as possible. Any delay in

compaction may result in hardening of stabilized soil mass and therefore extra compaction effort may be required to bring the same effect. That may lead to serious bond breakage and hence loss of strength. Stabilized clay soils are more likely to be affected than other soils (Figure 1) due to alteration of plasticity properties of clays (Sherwood, 1993). In contrary to cement, delay in compaction for lime-stabilized soils may have some advantages. Lime stabilized soil require mellowing period to allow lime to diffuse through the soil thus producing maximum effects on plasticity. After this period, lime stabilized soil may be remixed and given its final compaction resulting into remarkable strength than otherwise (Sherwood, 1993).

  • 5.3.5 Moisture Content

In stabilized soils, enough moisture content is essential not only for hydration process to proceed but also for efficient compaction. Fully hydrated cement takes up about 20% of its

own weight of water from the surrounding (Sherwood, 1993); on other hand, Quicklime (CaO) takes up about 32% of its own weight of water from the surrounding (Roger et al, 1993; Sherwood, 1993). Insufficient moisture content will cause binders to compete with soils in order to gain these amounts of moisture. For soils with great soil-water affinity (such as clay, peat and organic soils), the hydration process may be retarded due to insufficient moisture content, which will ultimately affect the final strength.

Pozzolanic reaction is sensitive to changes in temperature. In the field, temperature varies

continuously throughout the day. Pozzolanic reactions between binders and soil particles will slow down at low temperature and result into lower strength of the stabilized mass. In cold regions, it may be advisable to stabilize the soil during the warm season (Sherwood, 1993; Maher et al, 1994).

5.3.7 Freeze-Thaw and Dry-Wet Effect

Stabilized soils cannot withstand freeze-thaw cycles. Therefore, in the field, it may be necessary to protect the stabilized soils against frost damage (Maher et al, 2003; Al-tabbaa and Evans, 1998). Shrinkage forces in stabilized soil will depend on the chemical reactions of the binder. Cement stabilized soil are susceptible to frequent dry-wet cycles due to diurnal changes in temperature which may give rise to stresses within a stabilized soil and, therefore, should be protected from such effects (Sherwood, 1993; Maher et al, 2003).

6.0 APPLICATIONS Foundations

There are three basic soil conditions that pose particularity serious problems for architects, engineers and building contractors. First is the swelling and shrinkage movements of expansive clays; secondly, the occurrences of settlement or densification from load bearing forces; and, thirdly, the influence of moisture on the soil and building structure. Individually

any one of these soil behaviors would create tremendous economic damage to a building structure. The chemical stabilization process addresses these three basic soil concerns in several meaningful ways including: reduction of shrink/swell potential and plasticity on expansive clays, increased load bearing support as measured by unconfined compressive strength, and reduction of the treated soils permeability, making it less susceptible to water infiltration.

New Pavements

Pavements, especially flexible pavements, are constantly under changing conditions, thus they are inherently unstable. Water infiltration weakens the underlying soil condition and variable loading moves those conditions throughout the pavement structure. Asphaltic concrete pavements are constantly under the debilitating effects of oxidation and the actions of water stripping the asphaltic binder from the aggregate structure.

The use of chemical stabilization in roadway design speaks directly to these issues of long- term life-cycle stability.

Pavement Rehab

There is a solution to deteriorated pavements! A perpetual pavement foundation can be achieved by the in-place recycling of the existing pavement materials and stabilizing them with cement. This process, known as Full Depth Rehabilitation (FDR), provides significant cost savings, a sustainable allocation of resources, and the structural enhancement required for long-term performance. Cement stabilized bases have provided economical and long lasting pavement foundations for more than 70 years.

Bio-soils pads

The processing and removal of biosolids from waste management and composting facilities has traditionally been a major operational concern. Most large processing centers require

removal of compost or sludge by large heavy equipment. This heavy loading creates a high fatigue factor on the native subgrade soils, causing the processing table to become weak and unstable under repetitive loading. This issue, along with the added concern of bio-solids commingling with the underlying soft soils during harvesting, lead to additional processing cost. Depending upon the type of soil, stabilization can be accomplished with quicklime, lime- pozzolans blends, and Portland cement. This method of stabilization is conducted under a controlled environment to provide a consistent and uniform mat structure. The stabilized mat creates a harden surface that allows for many years of maintenance access for compost and sludge processing and removal.

Environmental remediation

Chemical Stabilization/Solidification (S/S) of soils contaminated with hazardous waste is a tried and proven chemical remediation technology. Both the technology and its acceptance has progressed dramatically over a number of years as a simple, cost effective and flexible treatment method for remediation of soils and recycling them back to usable land applications.

Soil stabilization/solidification (S/S) is a process that immobilizes contaminants, mitigating the risk of exposure and potential harm to human health and the environment. Cement or lime is mixed with impacted soil and hardens to form a soil-cement matrix that encapsulates the impacted materials. The process is performed on site with soil in-place or on adjacent mixing tables.

Site winterization

Construction sites are susceptible to rain delays that cost both time and money. When winter hits, project managers turn to the only proven method for site winterization, the process of chemically treating the surface soils to provide a high-strength and low- permeable cementitious barrier. This type of treatment ensures immediate access to construction sites after a storm event, while eliminating fatigue rutting from repetitive loading. By reducing the permeability of the native soil, the treatment process reduces the susceptibility of the subgrade to saturation. An added benefit of this type of soil modification is the vast improvement of the subgrade strength characteristics and decreased potential for shrink/swell fluctuation of any clayey material. Since the construction process requires heavy loading from construction equipment, the subgrade soils are required to carry loads far greater than their design intended. Winterization is the changing of soil behavior, principally through the reduction of excess moisture, in order to expedite construction. Winterization is commonly performed on subgrade and sub-base materials in order to expedite compaction and subsequent paving. When free water is encountered, an evaluation should be made to determine if water is infiltrating from an outside source. If the flow of water is continuous, dewatering will be required prior to any treatment. Dewatering should extend to at least 12 inches below the

bottom of the treatment zone to reduce “wicking” of water. If it is determined that the water is only perched, areas containing any standing water should be pumped prior to treatment. Treating before winter rains hit typically is the most economical choice. Pre-winter treatments require a lower percentage of stabilizing reagent and a shallower depth of treatment. This process creates an impervious liner at the surface grade that prevents winter rains from saturating the underlying soils.

Water resources

The use of chemical stabilization in Water Resource projects has increased considerably over the last 30 years. Chemical Stabilization in the form of Soil-Cement or Soil-Lime has been a main focus of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) in the construction of dams and other water resource applications. The first use of Soil-Cement stabilization for slope protection was a test section constructed by USBR at Bonny reservoir in eastern Colorado in 1951. Observation of the performance of this test section for the first 10-year period of service indicated excellent performance of the stabilized section which was subject to harsh wave action and repeated cycles of freezing and thawing. This successful application lead to the conclusion that the use of chemical

stabilization for slope protection, levee and dam cores, impervious liners, and maintenance

accessibility was feasible based on both economical and service life considerations. The key factor that accounts for a successful chemical stabilization project is careful predetermination of engineering control factors in the laboratory and implementation and verification of those results during construction.

Other applications like:

Staging and Storing Hardscape

When the need for a native hardscape surface is required for expanded storage needs or

temporary event staging, the process of soil stabilization address the performance needs of heavy loading, extended durability, dust control, and storm water runoff. By stabilizing the

existing soils, a temporary or permanent mat structure is developed that can handle repetitive heavy loading, while maintaining a durable low dust exposed wearing surface.

Synthetic Sports Field

The new synthetic sports fields are popular for their high durability and low maintenance features. One of the major installation needs of synthetic fields is an appropriate

drainage system. These turf systems allow water to permeate through the surface to be collected by either a blanket or manifold drainage system. A stabilized mat structure under a blanket drain system or integrated into a manifold system allows for an impervious, high- strength soil structure that is maintained even when saturated over time.

Equestrian Facilities

Equestrian facilities, used for a wide variety of horse- training functions, require a stable non-yielding substructure under the loose cutting surface materials. By stabilizing the underlying soils, a great reduction in maintenance is achieved, since the underlying soil can no longer contaminate the loose wearing surface materials. The stabilized section also allows

for all weather use, because the stabilized section is impervious to water and will not loose strength or grade over repetitive use.

Hard-court Stability

Tennis, basketball, and other hardcourt surfaces require a high degree of stability, since any grade variations that may develop would be magnified under these applications. If courts are built on clay soils, grades will move as underlying soils shrink and swell with moisture fluctuation. All soils types would benefit from the long-term benefits of an underlying stabilized section, including reduction of water infiltration, reflective shrinkage cracking, and un-controlled grade fluctuation.

Extreme Conditions

When extreme conditions are encountered, it's important to prevent costly overruns from consuming contingent dollars at the onset of project construction. Extreme conditions may be the result of intrusion into the site water table, encountering of bay mud or dredging materials, or a condition that requires added structural support from the existing unsuitable soils. HSI has experienced the most extreme site conditions and presents constructability plans that resolve these issues in the most cost-effective manner.


Rapid urban and industrial growth demands more land for further development. In order to meet this demand land reclamation and utilization of unsuitable and environmentally affected lands have been taken up. These, hitherto useless lands for construction have been converted to be useful ones by adopting one or more ground improvement techniques. The field of ground improvement techniques has been recognized as an important and rapidly expanding one.

  • 7.1 Vibro-compaction Vibro-compaction, sometimes referred to as Vibrofloation, is the rearrangement of soil particles into a denser configuration by the use of powerful depth vibration. Vibrocompaction is a ground improvement process for densifying loose sands to create stable foundation soils. The principle behind vibrocompaction is simple. The combined

action of vibration and water saturation by jetting rearranges loose sand grains into a

more compact state.

Vibrocompaction is performed with specially-designed vibrating

probes. Both horizontal and vertical modes of vibration have been used in the past.

The vibrators used consist of torpedo-shaped probes 12 to 16 inches in diameter which vibrates at frequencies typically in the range of 30 to 50 Hz. The probe is first inserted into the ground by both jetting and vibration. After the probe reaches the required depth of compaction, granular

material, usually sand, is added from the ground surface to fill the void space created by the vibrator. A compacted radial zone of granular material is created.

APPLICATIONS: (Fig.4) Vibro-compaction  Reduction of foundation settlements.  Reduction of risk of liquefaction due to


(Fig.4) Vibro-compaction

Reduction of foundation settlements.

Reduction of risk of liquefaction due to seismic activity.

Permit construction on granular fills.

7.2 Vaccum consolidation

Vacuum Consolidation is an effective means for improvement of saturated soft soils. The soil site is covered with an airtight membrane and vacuum is created underneath it by using dual venture and vacuum pump. The technology can provide an equivalent pre-loading of about 4.5m high conventional surcharge fill. Vacuum-assisted consolidation preloads the soil by reducing the pore pressure while maintaining a constant total stress.

APPLICATIONS: (Fig.4) Vibro-compaction  Reduction of foundation settlements.  Reduction of risk of liquefaction due to

(Fig.4) Vaccum consolidation


Replace standard pre-loading techniques eliminating the risk of failure.

Combine with a water pre-loading in scare fill area. The method is used to build large

developments on thick compressible soil. Combine with embankment pre-load using the increased stability


Preloading has been used for many years without change in the method or application to improve soil properties. Preloading or pre-compression is the process of placing additional vertical stress on a compressible soil to remove pore water over time. The pore water

dissipation reduces the total volume causing settlement.


is an economical

method for ground improvement. However, the consolidation of the soils is time dependent, delaying construction projects making it a non-feasible alternative. The soils treated are Organic silt, Varved silts and clays, soft clay, Dredged material The design considerations which should be made are bearing capacity, Slope stability, Degree of consolidation.

7.3Preloading Preloading has been used for many years without change in the method or application to

(Fig.5) Preloading


Reduce post-construction


Reduce secondary compression.


Improve bearing capacity

7.4 Heating

Heating or vitrifaction breaks the soil particle down to form a crystalline or glass product. It uses electrical current to heat the soil and modify the physical characteristics of the soil. Heating soils permanently alters the properties of the soil. Depending on the soil, temperatures can range between 300 and 1000 degree Celsius. The impact on adjacent structures and utilities should be considered when heating is used.


7.3Preloading Preloading has been used for many years without change in the method or application to


Immobilization of radioactive or contaminated soil

Densification and stabilization

  • 7.5 Ground freezing

Ground freezing is the use of refrigeration to convert in-situ pore water to ice. The ice then acts as a cement or glue, bonding together adjacent particles of soil or blocks of rock to

increase their combined strength

and make them impervious. The ground freezing

considerations are Thermal analysis, Refrigeration system geometry, Thermal properties of soil and rock, freezing rates, Energy requirements, Coolant/ refrigerant distribution system analysis.

 Immobilization of radioactive or contaminated soil  Densification and stabilization 7.5 Ground freezing Ground freezing

(Fig.7) Ground freezing

  • 7.6 Vibro-replacement stone columns

Vibro-Replacement extends the range of soils that can be improved by vibratory techniques to include cohesive soils. Reinforcement of the soil with compacted granular columns or “stone columns” is accomplished by the top-feed method. The important Vibro-replacement stone columns are Ground conditions, Relative density, Degree of saturation, Permeation.


Temporary underpinning

Temporary support for


excavation Prevention of groundwater


into excavated area Temporary slope stabilization

Temporary containment of toxic/hazardous waste contamination

 Immobilization of radioactive or contaminated soil  Densification and stabilization 7.5 Ground freezing Ground freezing

(Fig.8) Vibro-replacement


The stone columns and intervening soil form and integrated foundation support system having low compressibility and improved load bearing capacity. In cohesive soils, excess pore water pressure is readily dissipated by the stone columns and for this reason, reduced settlements occur at a faster rate than is normally the case with cohesive soils.

There are different types of installation methods which can be broadly classified in the following manner:

Wet top feed method

Dry bottom feed method

Offshore bottom feed method


Reduction of foundation settlement

Improve bearing capacity/reduce footing size requirements

Reduction of the risk of liquefaction due to seismic activity

Slope stabilization

Permit construction on fills

Permit shallow footing construction

7.7 Micro piles

Micro-piles are small diameter piles (up to 300 mm), with the capability of sustaining high loads (compressive loads of over 5000 KN).The drilling equipment and methods allows micro – piles to be drilled through virtually every ground conditions, natural and artificial, with minimal vibration, disturbances and noise, at any angle below horizontal. The equipment can be further adapted to operate in locations with low headroom and severely restricted access.

(Fig.9) Micro piles APPLICATIONS: (Fig.10) Enlarged section of Micro piles  For Structural Support and stability

(Fig.9) Micro piles


(Fig.9) Micro piles APPLICATIONS: (Fig.10) Enlarged section of Micro piles  For Structural Support and stability

(Fig.10) Enlarged section of Micro piles

For Structural Support and stability

Foundation for new structures

Repair / Replacement of existing foundations

Arresting / Prevention of movement

Embankment, slope and landslide stabilization Soil strengthening and protection 7.8 Grouting

routing is the injection of pumpable materials into a soil or rock formation to change the

physical characteristics of the formation. Grouting selection considerations are Site specific

requirement, Soil type, Soil groutability, Porosity. Grouting can be prevented by Collapse of granular soils, Settlement under adjacent foundations, Utilities damage, Day lighting. Grouting can provide Increased soil strength and rigidity, reduced ground movement, Predictable degree of improvement.


Identify underground construction problem.

Establish objectives of grouting program.

Perform special geotechnical study.

Develop initial grouting program.

Develop performance prediction.

Compare with other solutions.

Refine design and prepare specifications.


The various injection grouting techniques used by grouting contractors for ground improvement / ground modification can be summarized as follows:


Compaction Grouting:


Jet Grouting


Jet grouting is a general term used by grouting contractors to describe various construction techniques used for ground modification or ground improvement. Grouting contractors use ultra high-pressure fluids or binders that are injected into the soils at high velocities. These binders break up the soil structure completely and mix the soil particles in-situ to create a homogeneous mass, which in turn solidifies. This ground modification / ground improvement of the soil plays an important role in the fields of foundation stability, particularly in the treatment of load bearing soils under new and existing buildings; in the in-depth impermeabilization of water bearing soils; in tunnel construction; and to mitigate the movement of impacted soils and groundwater.

The various injection grouting techniques used by grouting contractors for ground improvement / ground modification can

(Fig.11) Jet Grouting

The various injection grouting techniques used by grouting contractors for ground improvement / ground modification can

(Fig.12) Jet Grouting stages


(Fig.1 3) Section of Mechanical stabilization A segmental, precast facing mechanically stabilized earth wall employs metallic


3) Section of Mechanical stabilization

A segmental, precast facing mechanically stabilized earth wall employs metallic (strip or bar mat) or geosynthetic (geogrid or geotextile) reinforcement that is connected to a precast concrete or prefabricated metal facing panel to create a reinforced soil mass.


The reinforcement is placed in horizontal layers between successive layers of granular soil backfill. Each layer of backfill consists of one or more compacted lifts. A free draining, non plastic backfill soil is required to ensure adequate performance of the wall system. For walls reinforced with metallic strips, load is transferred from the backfill soil to the strip reinforcement by shear along the interface. For walls with ribbed strips, bar mats, or grid reinforcement, load is similarly transferred but an additional component of strength is obtained through the passive resistance on the transverse members of the reinforcement. Facing panels are typically square, rectangular, hexagonal or cruciform in shape and are up to 4.5m ^2 in area. MSEW- Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls, when the face batter is generally steeper than 70 degrees. RSS- Reinforced Soil Slopes, when the face batter is shallower.


RSS structures are cost effective alternatives for new construction where the cost of embankment fill, right-of-way, and other consideration may make a steeper slope desirable. Another use of reinforcement in engineered slopes is to improve compaction at the edges of a slope to decrease the tendency for surface sloughing.


Current practice consists of determining the geometric reinforcement to prevent internal and external failure using limit equilibrium of analysis.


The fundamental concept of soil nailing consists of reinforcing the ground by passive inclusions, closely spaced, to create in-situ soil and restrain its displacements. The basic design consists of transferring the resisting tensile forces generated in the inclusions into the ground through the friction mobilized at the interfaces.


Current practice consists of determining the geometric reinforcement to prevent internal and external failure using limit

(Fig.14) Soil Nailing

Stabilization of railroad and highway cut slopes

Excavation retaining structures in urban areas for high-rise building and underground

facilities Tunnel portals in steep and unstable stratified slopes

Construction and retrofitting of bridge abutments with complex boundaries involving wall support under piled foundations


Current knowledge permits the conclusion that soil stabilizing agents, including cement, asphalt, lime and other chemicals as well, can serve many useful purposes. Similarly, the various mechanical methods of soil stabilization goes a long way and in a more permanent

situation towards ground improvement. In general, these purposes are to: increase soil strength or bearing capacity, minimize soil compressibility and/or the flow of migration of subsurface moisture, prevents erosion from surface water, provide a stable working platform

for construction, aid in the mechanical compaction of soils and reduce the expansive property of soil.