What Are Some Methods Of Soil Stabilization?

The methodology behind soil stabilization has existed for hundreds of years. The basic concept is that there is an altering of the soil somehow. That can be chemically or mechanically in order to “fix” the cement, so there’s no movement.

You would use the technique if you needed to secure land that was otherwise too wet, perhaps to build the foundation for a new construction structure. With soil stabilization, it transforms the ground to have no further movement. That way, the property would have a solid surface to sit on.

The process is usually associated with either foundation or road work, but there can be many uses. In some instances, chemicals are added to alter the general makeup or chemistry, cement can be added, or it can be altered mechanically to compact the soil.

Methods Of Soil Stabilization

Soil Stabilization Methods

Two of the most common methods for soil stabilization are chemical and mechanical, where the chemistry changes the physical characteristics or makeup of the soil and mechanics compacts the soil. But there are many methods for stabilizing and reasons for doing so.

One particular reason is to make the ground solid in order to hold a structure without it shifting for as long as it will stand. Another is to prevent ground erosion, disallowing for mudslides and other events of that nature. Find out some of the most ideal methods for stabilizing and the materials used at this link.

Let’s look at the types of soil stabilization.

1. Chlorides

These are among the favored soil stabilizing forms, with calcium and magnesium chloride being the most commonly used. The preference is more dependent on the location, and which is more readily available. Each offers either a solid or liquid form, both of which need a water truck to dilute heavily with water.

Chloride can be applied in a couple of different ways, either of which results in a tough surface. When applying, there is minimal dust released into the air.

The material equates to basically a salt with stabilization taking the moisture from the environment and trapping and locking it into the soil, creating the hard, strong result.

The downside is it requires reapplication when it becomes wet because it breaks down, plus it’s detrimental to the ecosystem.

2. Mechanical Stabilization

With mechanical stabilization, there is an almost interlocking of the particles. A large force compacts the soil in a repeat motion until the size of the particles is of the desired shape and size.

That requires the type of heavy equipment capable of enforcing this type of compression like a compactor or, on rare occasions, a crane with a drop weight.

Usually, these soils needing this type of stabilization are either of a sandy or rocky nature. This is not one of the most common methods; it has advantages in that the particles are altered without chemicals, so there’s no worry that it will wear away. The process is, however, time-intensive, budget-demanding, and tedious.

3. Lime and cement stabilization

These are among the most popular stabilizing means with either cement or lime mixed into the soil to improve resiliency and strength. The percentage varies that will get mixed in based on the characteristics of the native soil characteristics.

methods for stabilizing soil for construction

If there is a high level of plasticity, there is a greater need for more compounds to be mixed in. In many cases, the cement and lime are mixed together since they are comparable, each used in a binding capacity. Lime is a naturally occurring substance, while cement is man-made or synthetic.

While it is among the most popular techniques, it is used most prevalently with road paving. Using cement in unpaved road treatment is often cost-prohibitive; the geographical location will determine whether cement or lime is used.

In some areas, lime is relatively easy to access, but in others, making cement is a more budget-friendly approach.

In either case, the solution is effective since the materials bind the particles together, creating increased strength. Most soils work well with this method of stabilization.

The amount used needs to be exact, or there’s a risk of the soil not strengthening to the desired effect if too much is used. Or to possibly shrink and start to crack if there’s too little in the mix.

Final Thought

Soil stabilization is the method of adding a compound to the earth to strengthen it for various purposes. It is most associated with the construction and road industry as well as using it for erosion purposes. Click here to learn about the technique.

There are many different methods for stabilizing; a few of the most common are pointed out here. Mechanical and chemical are the two most prevalent heard about. Mechanical is not one that is often used on its own. Generally, it’s combined with other forms since its primary purpose is to compact the soil.

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the CEO of BioEnergy Consult, and an international consultant, advisor and trainer with expertise in waste management, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, environment protection and resource conservation. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biogas technology, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. Salman has participated in numerous national and international conferences all over the world. He is a prolific environmental journalist, and has authored more than 300 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. In addition, he is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability through his blogs and portals. Salman can be reached at salman@bioenergyconsult.com or salman@cleantechloops.com.
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