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Geotech Geol Eng (2018) 36:1463–1474


Influence of Drying on the Stiffness and Strength of

Cement-Stabilized Soils
Alain Le Kouby . Antoine Guimond-Barrett . Philippe Reiffsteck .
Anne Pantet

Received: 7 April 2016 / Accepted: 30 October 2017 / Published online: 9 November 2017
 Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Abstract Nowadays, improving the strength and with cement in the laboratory. Free–free resonance
deformation properties of soft soils by deep soil tests and unconfined compression tests were per-
mixing is a commonly used technique. There is also an formed on specimens of silt and sand treated with
increasing interest in the use of this technique for blastfurnace slag cement. Strength increases more
foundation/structural elements and excavation retain- rapidly than stiffness between 7 and 30 days. The
ing walls applications. The compressive strength and strength of stabilized soils submitted to cyclic wetting
elastic modulus of the soil mix material are key and drying before the cement hydration process is
parameters in the design of these structures. However, complete continues to increase. As long as the periods
there is very limited information available on the of drying do not induce microcracks, the stiffness of
impact of exposure to air drying (in the case of the treated soil specimens also increases with time.
retaining wall) on the strength and stiffness of cement However, the stiffness is lower than for the specimens
stabilized soils. The aim of this study is to investigate cured in water indicating a disruptive effect of the
the effects of different curing conditions (immersion imposed wetting–drying cycles on stiffness. Continu-
in water, cycles of wetting and drying, continuous air ous exposure to air drying inhibits strength develop-
drying) on the mechanical properties of soils treated ment due to insufficient water for hydration.
Significant stiffness decreases were observed on
specimens of stabilized silt and are attributed to
A. Le Kouby (&)  P. Reiffsteck microcracking.
IFSTTAR, Université Paris Est, Boulevard Newton,
Champs sur Marne, 77447 Marne la Vallée Cedex 2,
France Keywords Cement  Stabilized soils  Stiffness 
e-mail: Strength  Curing conditions  Wetting–drying
P. Reiffsteck
List of symbols
A. Guimond-Barrett E50 Secant deformation modulus at 50% of
SNCF Réseau, 15 rue Jean-Philippe Rameau, maximum stress (MPa)
93212 La Plaine Saint Denis Cedex, France G0 Small-strain shear modulus (MPa)
G0;7 days Initial small-strain shear modulus
A. Pantet measured after 7 days (MPa)
LOMC, Université du Havre, 53 rue Prony, fs Resonant frequency for shear waves (Hz)
76058 Le Havre Cedex, France L Length (m)

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m Mass of specimen (kg) amount), the soil conditions (soil type, moisture
mi Initial mass of specimen after 7 days of content, and organic content), the mixing conditions
curing in water (kg) (degree of mixing) and the curing conditions. Many
PI Plasticity index (%) studies have focused on the mechanical properties of
qu Unconfined compressive strength (MPa) soils stabilized with cement and/or lime cured in a
t Curing time (days) humid environment (Åhnberg 2006; Åhnberg and
Vs Shear wave velocity (m/s) Johanson 2005; Åhnberg et al. 2003; Ajorloo et al.
w Moisture content (%) 2012; Consoli et al. 2007, 2010; Horpibulsuk et al.
wi Initial moisture content after 7 days of 2006; Miura et al. 2001; Tan et al. 2002; Porbaha et al.
curing in water (%) 2000; Szymkiewicz et al. 2012). Seismic-based testing
wL Liquid limit (%) procedures have been utilized to assess the stiffness of
ef Strain at failure (%) laboratory specimens (Nazarian et al. 1999; Ryden
q Density (kg/m3) et al. 2006; Hilbrich and Scullion 2007; Åhnberg and
Holmen 2008; Hoyos et al. 2004; Puppala et al. 2006;
Rabbi et al. 2011). However, there is very limited
information available on the impact of desiccation (air
1 Introduction drying) on the strength and stiffness of cement
stabilized soils. For retaining walls, the changes in
Initially, the main purpose of deep soil mixing was to curing conditions caused by excavation adjacent to
increase the stability and reduce settlements of soil–cement elements (often carried out shortly after
structures on soft soils of low shear strength and very construction) may produce changes in the mechanical
high moisture contents (Eurosoilstab 2002). Nowa- properties of the stabilized soils and affect the
days, Deep Mixing aims at improving the strength and durability of such structures. The purpose of this work
deformation properties as well as the permeability of is to investigate the effects of different curing
very soft soils for soil stabilization applications but conditions (immersion in water, cycles of wetting
also to construct temporary and permanent founda- and drying, air curing) on the mechanical properties of
tion/structural (load bearing) elements (Bahner and specimens of soil treated with blastfurnace slag
Naguib 2000; Cavey et al. 2004; Kasali and Taki cement in the laboratory.
2003) and retaining walls (Andromalos and Bahner
2003; Ganne et al. 2010; Topolnicki 2004). Lime and/
or cement are the most frequently used binders, 2 Experimental Details and Procedures
although recent studies have shown that many indus-
trial by-products such as granulated ground blastfur- 2.1 Soil and Binder Characteristics
nace slag and pulverised fuel ash can also provide
suitable characteristics of the treated material when The soils used in this study are Fontainebleau sand,
blended with cement (Horpibulsuk et al. 2009; Jegan- which is a silica sand from the south of the Parisian
dan et al. 2010). basin, and a silt composed of a mixture of silica flour
For the stability and support of excavations, deep (crushed silica sand) and Speswhite kaolin. The
mixing is often used both in conjunction with or in proportions of silica flour and kaolin in the silt are of
substitution of traditional retaining techniques 70 and 30% by weight respectively. The grain size
(O’Rourke and McGinn 2004; O’Rourke and McGinn distributions (CEN ISO/TS 17892-4 2005) are pre-
2006; Rutherford et al. 2004; Shao et al. 2005). The sented in Fig. 1. Fontainebleau sand has a uniform
compressive strength and elastic modulus of the soil distribution of sub-rounded quartz grains. The silt has
mix material are essential parameters in the design of a liquid limit wL of 27% and a plasticity index PI of
these structures. A large number of factors are known 11% (CEN ISO/TS 17892-12 2005). The cement used
to influence the strength and deformation properties of in this study is a blastfurnace slag cement containing
treated soils (Terashi 1997). These factors are mainly 85% in weight of granulated ground blast furnace slag
related to the characteristics of the binder (type, (CEM III/C).

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2.3 Experimental Program

The two soils were mixed with a different amount of

cement. The quantities of cement and moulding
moisture contents used for these mixes are given in
Table 1. The cement contents C (%), moulding
moisture contents W (%) and the water/cement ratios
(W/C) were calculated following Eqs. (1), (2) and (3).
C ¼ weight of dry cement / weight of dry soil
Fig. 1 Grain-size distribution curves
W ¼ weight of water / weight of dry soil + cement
2.2 Specimen Preparation and Curing ð2Þ

Soil–cement mixing in the laboratory was performed W / C = weight of water / weight of dry cement
using a mortar mixer. The sample preparation method ð3Þ
used is similar to the procedures recommended in
The cement and moisture contents tested in this
many soil mixing reference guides (CDIT 2002;
study were used in deep soil mixing projects in France.
EuroSoilStab 2002). Firstly, the appropriate amounts
Laboratory tests carried out on the soil–cement
of dry soil and cement were manually blended in a
specimens included free–free resonance (FFR) testing
recipient until a visually homogenous mixture was
and unconfined compression strength (UCS) tests.
obtained. The content of the recipient was poured in
FFR testing was used to determine the small-strain
the mixer and tap water was added. The hydrated soil–
shear modulus G0 whereas the compression tests were
cement was mixed for 10 min. The mixes were then
performed to evaluate the unconfined compressive
poured in cylindrical moulds of 52 mm diameter. To
strength qu and static stiffness E50.
reduce the amount of trapped air bubbles, the soil–
In total, 36 soil–cement specimens (12 per mix)
cement pastes were compacted in three layers by
were prepared. For each soil–cement mix, the small-
lightly tapping the moulds on a horizontal surface. The
strain shear modulus G0 and the unconfined compres-
specimens were immediately stored in tap water at a
sive strength qu of 3 specimens were determined after
constant curing temperature of 20 C. The specimens
7 days of curing in water. The shear moduli G0 of 9
were de-moulded 7 days after mixing. Their extrem-
remaining specimens per mix were also determined
ities were cut and smoothed to a height to diameter
7 days after moulding. These 9 specimens were
ratio of 2 (approximately 100 9 50 mm). The spec-
divided into three groups and placed in different
imens were then precisely measured and weighted.
curing conditions:
• Condition 1: specimens remained immersed in
water at a temperature of 20 C.

Table 1 Composition of soil-cement mixes tested

Mix no. Soil type Cement content Moulding moisture content Water cement ratio Total number of specimens
C (%) W (%) W/C

1 Sand 11.8 20 2.0 12

2 Silt 13.8 40 3.3 12
3 Silt 20.7 57 3.3 12

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• Condition 2: specimens were subjected to cycles Åhnberg and Holmen 2011; Toohey and Mooney
of wetting and drying by alternating periods of 2012).
soaking in water and periods of drying in a climatic The aim of FFR testing is to measure the natural
chamber at a temperature of 20 C and a relative frequency of free vibration of the tested specimen. The
humidity of 65%. procedure used in this study is similar to the method
• Condition 3: specimens were placed in a climatic described in ASTM standard C215 (2002). The
chamber at a temperature of 20 C and a relative specimens were placed horizontally on a sheet of
humidity of 65%. foam to measure the resonant frequency associated
with shear wave propagation. The specimens were
It is important to note that the specimens were
subjected to flexural excitations produced by tapping
placed in the different curing conditions at an early age
the extremity of the specimen with a small hammer.
before the cement hydration process was complete.
The shear acceleration signal was recorded by an
The shear modulus G0 of the specimens was monitored
accelerometer with a sampling frequency range of 1–
every 1–3 days between 7 and 30 days. During curing,
17 kHz placed on the lateral surface at the other
the moisture content of the specimens (w) was
extremity of the specimen. The free vibration accel-
followed by measuring the changes in mass (m) using
eration time records collected by the accelerometer
Eq. (4) (assuming the amount of solid particles lost
were stored in a computer. The time domain signals
during testing was negligible):
were digitized using 2048 points and a sampling time
w ¼ ð1 þ wi Þ  ðm / mi Þ  1 ð4Þ interval of 10 ls. Frequency domain analysis was
performed on the free vibration through fast Fourier
where wi and mi are respectively the initial water
transforms (FFT). No stacking of repeated signals was
content and the initial mass of the soil specimen after
performed and no filters were used to eliminate
7 days.
background noise before applying the FFT. A typical
For the specimens subjected to successive periods
time record and the corresponding frequency domain
of wetting and drying (curing condition 2) after the
are presented in Fig. 3. The following relationship is
initial 7-days curing in water, the phases of soaking
used to determine the shear wave velocity from FFR
lasted between 1 and 3 days. The specimens were
submitted to drying for 24 h (except between 20 and
22 days where two successive 24 h drying periods Vs ¼ 2  L  f s ð5Þ
were applied). The moisture contents determined at
where Vs is the shear wave velocity (m/s), L is the
the end of each curing period give an indication on the
specimen length (m), fs is the resonant frequency for
curing conditions at a specific time: an increase in
the shear waves (Hz). The wavelength is assumed to be
moisture content indicates soaking whereas a decrease
equal to twice the length of the specimen during free
indicates drying.
vibration for specimens with free ends and with a
After 30 days of curing, unconfined compressive
length-to-diameter ratio of about two or more (Ryden
strength tests were performed on the specimens. The
et al. 2006). The small-strain shear modulus G0 can be
experimental program is summarized in Fig. 2. The
calculated from the wave velocities knowing the
testing procedures used in this study are detailed
specimen’s mass density (q) using the following
equation (Nazarian et al. 1999):
2.4 Testing Procedures G ¼ q  V2s ð6Þ

2.4.1 Free Free Resonance (FFR) Testing

2.4.2 Unconfined Compressive Strength Tests
Free–free resonance testing was chosen to monitor G0
as it is a simple and reliable test which has recently Unconfined compression tests were performed on the
been successfully used on soils stabilized with specimens to evaluate their strength (qu). The tests
hydraulic binders (Guimond-Barrett et al. 2012; were conducted in accordance with standard EN
13286-41 (2003a). The vertical load was statically

Geotech Geol Eng (2018) 36:1463–1474 1467

Fig. 2 Details of experimental program for each soil-cement mix

applied at a constant displacement rate of 1.5 mm/

min. The longitudinal strains were measured locally in
the central part of the specimens by three LVDTs
offset by 120 supported by two rigid rings. Each ring
was attached on the wall of the specimen by three
screws as described in standard EN 13286-43
(AFNOR 2003b). The static stiffness E50 was calcu-
lated from the stress–strain curves as the secant
modulus at a stress equal to half the maximum

3 Experimental Results and Analyses

3.1 Small-Strain Shear Modulus of Specimens

Immersed in Water

Figure 4 presents the evolution of shear modulus and

moisture content with time for specimens cured in
water (condition 1). In all figures throughout this
Fig. 3 Typical time record and the corresponding frequency study, the results correspond to the average values
measured on 3 specimens; the error bars represent the
minimum and maximum values. For both mixes, the

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caliper were found to be relatively small (average

volume increases of 1.35% (sand mix) and 0.45% (silt
mix) were observed after 30 days).
Small-strain stiffness development with time of
cement-treated soils, as measured here between 7 and
30 days, can be characterized by a logarithmic func-
tion. A best-fitting operation gives the following
general relationship:
G0 ¼ a  Ln ðtÞ þ b ð7Þ
With t time in days; a and b: empirical parameters.
The values of the empirical parameters and the
coefficients of determination R2 for both mixes are
given in Table 3. Verastegui Flores et al. (2010)
monitored the small-strain shear modulus of kaolin
clay treated with Portland cement and blast furnace
slag cement and found that for a given binder, the
stiffness development with time was logarithmic for
curing times over 4 days and essentially the same
regardless of the dosage. The results presented in this
study confirm the logarithmic increase in stiffness
with time for different soils.
It is interesting to point out that mixes no 1 and no 2
present similar trends in stiffness growth.

3.2 Effects of Cyclic Wetting and Drying

on Small-Strain Shear Modulus

The small-strain shear moduli G0 of specimens

subjected to successive periods of wetting and drying
(curing condition 2) after the initial 7-days curing in
Fig. 4 Small-strain shear modulus G0 and moisture content w water are shown in Fig. 5. The corresponding moisture
versus time for specimens cured in water (a) mix n1 Sand C = contents determined at the end of each curing period
11.8%; (b) mix n2 Silt C = 13.8%; (c) mix n3 Silt C = 20.7% are also presented. A general increase in stiffness G0
can be seen for both mixes between 7 and 30 days. The
moisture contents stayed approximately constant values of G0 measured at 30 days are lower than for
between 7 and 30 days at values of 18% for the sand the specimens cured in water (Table 2) indicating a
specimens (slightly lower than the moulding water disruptive effect of the imposed wetting–drying cycles
content) and 55% for the silt specimens (also slightly on stiffness increase. On the scale of a few days of
inferior to the moulding water content). The shear curing, Fig. 5a, b show that, in general, the stiffness
modulus G0 increases with time. After 7 days, G0 is increases during soaking and remains constant or
close to 1.5 GPa for the sand treated with 11.8% slightly decreases during drying. At the end of the
cement (Fig. 4a). The specimens of silt mixed with 30 days, the dimensions of the specimens were found
20.7% cement have a lower shear modulus after to have slightly increased for the silt mixes [average
7 days (G0 = 0.83 GPa; Fig. 4b). The average shear volume increased by 0.21% for mix no. 2 and 0.38%
moduli G0 measured after 30 days of curing in water (mix no. 3)] whereas shrinkage was measured for the
are given in Table 2. Variations in the dimensions of treated sand specimens (- 0.70%).
the specimens during curing measured using a digital A general increase in stiffness G can be seen for
mixes no 1 (Sand C = 11.8%) and no 2 (Silt

Geotech Geol Eng (2018) 36:1463–1474 1469

Table 2 Average values derived from testing

Soil–cement mix Curing conditions (time of testing) qu (MPa) E50 (GPa) E50/qu ef (%) G0 (GPa) G0/qu

No 1 sand (C = 11.8%) Immersed (7 days) 0.82 2.00 2443.46 0.15 1.51 1849.41
Immersed (30 days) 2.39 5.51 2305.03 0.24 3.80 1591.93
Cyclic wetting–drying (30 days) 2.57 4.33 1685.43 0.34 2.96 1153.57
Air cured (30 days) 1.37 2.37 1727.62 0.11 1.27 928.86
No 2 silt (C = 13.8%) Immersed (7 days) 1.69 1.84 1089 0.14 0.83 491
Immersed (30 days) 4.7 5.08 1081 0.11 2.08 443
Cyclic wetting–drying (30 days) 4.17 2.81 674 0.16 1.5 360
Air cured (30 days) 1.92 0.05 26 2.81 0.08*
No 3 silt (C = 20.7%) Immersed (7 days) 2.26 2.66 1177 0.16 1.43 633
Immersed (30 days) 5.04 4.53 899 0.13 2.44 484
Cyclic wetting–drying (30 days) 4.49 3.34 744 0.34 1.62 361
Air cured (30 days) 2.27 0.08 35 2.02 0.22* /
*Values measured 18 days after moulding

Table 3 Experimental parameters and coefficients of corre- average stiffness of these specimens after 30 days was
lation for logarithmic increase of stiffness with time identical to that measured after 7 days of curing
Soil Mix a b R2 (Table 2).

Sand 1 1.67 - 1.86 1.00 3.3 Effects of Continuous Drying on Small-Strain

Silt 2 0.80 - 0.52 0.95 Shear Modulus
Silt 3 0.57 0.51 0.95
For the specimens of stabilized sand exposed to drying
(curing condition 3) after 7 days in water, the stiffness
G0 remained generally constant up to 30 days
C = 13.8%) between 7 and 30 days. The values of G
(Fig. 6a). The stiffness of the specimens of stabilized
measured at 30 days are lower than for the specimens
silt significantly decreased with time of drying
cured in water (Table 2) indicating a disruptive effect
(Fig. 6b). The rate of stiffness decrease is also higher
of the imposed wetting–drying cycles on stiffness
during the first few days of drying. Microcracks might
increase. Figure 5a–c show that the stiffness increases
appear on the silt specimen surfaces after the first or
during soaking and remains constant or slightly
second day of drying. These microcracks developed
decreases during drying. It is also interesting to note
with time, with 13.8 or 20.7% cement contents and
that during the first period of drying (between 7 and
lead to difficulties in the acceleration signal transmis-
8 days), G0 increased for the treated sand and
sion during free free resonance testing for the spec-
remained constant for the silt with 13.8% cement. A
imens placed in the climatic chamber after 7 days in
significant decrease in shear modulus G0 was mea-
water. The measurements were stopped after 11 days
sured for the silt with 20.7% cement after the first
of drying (18 days after specimen preparation). The
drying period (Fig. 5b). This reduction in stiffness was
23 days of continuous drying caused the specimens to
associated with the development of microcracks on the
shrink by - 0.28% for the treated sand, - 2.10 and
surface of the specimens which were not observed for
- 2.79% for the silt mixes no 2 and no 3 respectively.
mixes no 1 and no 2. Further cyclic wetting and drying
Microcracks are induced by differential shrinkage
did not increase the cracking. The modulus G0 of the
created by variations of water content between the
specimens with 20.7% cement followed closely the
core and the sample extremities causing stresses
variation in moisture content (thus in mass density)
exceeding tensile strength (Corte and Higashi 1960;
imposed by the periods of wetting and drying. The
Kodikara et al. 2000). A quantitative description of the

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Fig. 5 Small-strain shear modulus G0 and moisture content w Fig. 6 Small-strain shear modulus G0 and moisture content w
versus time for specimens subjected to wetting and drying versus time for specimens subjected to continuous drying
(a) mix n1 Sand C = 11.8%; (b) mix n2 Silt C = 13.8%; (c) mix (a) mix n1 Sand C = 11.8%; (b) mix n2 Silt C = 13.8%; (c) mix
n3 Silt C = 20.7% n3 Silt C = 20.7%

cracks was not performed. Experimental methods specimens of stabilized silt and the evolution of this
using strain and suction measurements associated with damage with time.
crack pattern analysis by image processing techniques It is important to note that the effects of drying
(similar to those used by Peron et al. 2009; Tang et al. depend on the size of the specimen (Burlion et al.
2012; Kalkan 2009; Vogel et al. 2004) could provide 2005; Lakshmikantha et al. 2012). The distribution of
interesting information on the mechanisms involved in moisture in a specimen subjected to drying is a
desiccation cracking of stabilized soils. function of its dimensions. For large sample sizes,
Resonance testing is extensively used to monitor moisture movement is slower. On the contrary, there is
damage in concrete structures (Doebling et al. 1998). a rapid variation of water content in small samples.
Although the reliability of the measured values of G0 The specimen size of 50 9 100 mm was chosen for
after the formation of cracks is uncertain, the results this study to easily detect the effects of drying on the
clearly illustrate the damage produced by drying to the mechanical properties of soil–cement mixes.

Geotech Geol Eng (2018) 36:1463–1474 1471

Fig. 8 Effects of curing conditions on (a) Unconfined com-

pressive strength qu; (b) Static stiffness E50; (c) E50 / qu ratio

The stress–strain curves (Fig. 7) show that the

Fig. 7 Typical stress-strain curves (a) mix n1 Sand C = sand-cement specimens exhibit ductile behavior
11.8%; (b) mix n2 Silt C = 13.8%; (c) mix n3 Silt C = 20.7%
whereas the behavior of the silt—cement specimens
is more brittle. The unconfined compressive strength
3.4 Effects of Curing Conditions on Unconfined qu and stiffness E50 of the specimens immersed in
Compressive Strength qu and Stiffness E50 water increased between 7 and 30 days. The E50/qu
ratios are higher for the stabilized sand than for the
Typical stress–strain curves obtained from unconfined treated silt (Table 2). For both soils, E50/qu is slightly
compressive strength tests on specimens of the three lower after 30 days than after 7 days. The same
soil–cement mixes after different curing conditions tendencies are found for the small-strain shear mod-
and curing times are plotted in Fig. 7. The derived ulus to strength ratio G0/qu (Table 2). This indicates
values of unconfined compressive strength qu, strain at that strength increases more rapidly than stiffness
failure ef, static stiffness E50 and stiffness to strength between 7 and 30 days in soils treated with blastfur-
ratio E50/qu, are listed in Table 2 and compared in nace slag cement and cured in water.
Fig. 8. For both soils, the unconfined compression strength
of the specimens subjected to cycles of wetting and

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drying increased when compared to the initial 7-days curing times and conditions on E50 are equivalent to
strength. The strengths reached are relatively close to those observed on the small-strain shear modulus G0.
those obtained for the specimens in water after
30 days (slightly higher for the sand, slightly lower
for the silt, Table 2) pointing to the fact that sufficient 4 Conclusions and Perspectives
water remained present for hydration during these
cycles. The stiffness E50 of the sand and the silt In this paper, the effect of curing conditions was
specimens increased between 7 and 30 days despite investigated for deep mixing materials.
the cyclic curing condition but remained lower than Specimens of silt and sand were stabilized in the
the stiffness of the specimens cured in water for laboratory with blastfurnace slag cement and placed in
30 days. This confirms the negative effect of the different curing conditions.
imposed wetting–drying cycles on stiffness observed For chosen cement content, the procedure has
for G0. consisted in preparing soil–cement mixes and in
After continuous drying between 7 and 30 days, the curing in water during the first 7 days. Rc tests are
strengths of the treated sand and silt specimens were then carried out to determine G0, E50 and qu. In second
much lower than those of the specimens cured in stage, the next steps of curing are done with three
water. It is reasonable to assume that this is due to different curing conditions until 30 days: immerged in
insufficient water for hydration. Stiffness E50 of the water, submitted to drying and wetting cycles and
sand specimens was slightly higher than the initial submitted to air drying. At last, Rc tests show the
value of E50 measured after 7 days in water. A drastic effects of curing conditions on G0, E50 and qu.
decrease of E50 was measured for the silt specimens The small-strain shear modulus G0 was monitored
(Table 2). This low value of static E50 is related to the using the free–free resonance (FFR) testing method
very high strains measured during unconfined com- and unconfined compression tests were performed to
pression tests, visible in Fig. 7, and attributed to the evaluate the strength qu and static stiffness E50. The
microcracks observed on the silt specimens. The initial following conclusions can be drawn:
part of the stress–strain curves, for which strain
(a) The small-strain stiffness development of
increases considerably at very low stress corresponds
cement-treated soils cured in water is a loga-
to the closing of the cracks. Once the gaps are closed,
rithmic function of time. Strength increases
the stress begins to increase with strain.
more rapidly than stiffness between 7 and
The effects of the different curing conditions on
30 days of curing.
static modulus E50 are comparable to those observed
(b) The strength of treated soils subjected to cyclic
on the small-strain shear modulus G0 measured by
wetting and drying, before the cement hydration
FFR tests.
process is complete, continues to increase. As
In the case of silt, some comparisons can be made
long as the periods of drying do not induce
with the two cement contents. After 23 days of
microcracks, stiffness also increases with time.
continuous drying, the strength of the treated sand
However, the measured values are lower than
and silt with 13.8% cement had increased while no
for the specimens cured in water indicating a
variation in qu was measured for the silt treated with
disruptive effect of the imposed wetting–drying
20.7% cement. In addition, a drastic decrease of E50
cycles on stiffness.
was measured for both silt mixes (leading to high
(c) Continuous exposure to air drying inhibits
values of E50/qu). Such low values of E50 are related to
strength development due to insufficient water
the very high strains measured during unconfined
for hydration. Significant stiffness decrease was
compression tests, visible in Fig. 7 and attributed to
observed on specimens of stabilized silt despite
the observed microcracking. The initial part of the
the high cement content was attributed to
stress–strain curves, for which strain increases con-
siderably at very low stress corresponds to the closing
(d) The effect of natural soil could also be pointed
of the fissures. Once the gaps are closed, the stress
out. Effectively, the silt (well-graded soil)
begins to increase with strain. The effects of different
showed better resistance qu than the sand

Geotech Geol Eng (2018) 36:1463–1474 1473

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