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Stabilisation of clay subgrade soils using ground granulated blastfurnace slag

Ouf, Mohamed El-Sadek Abdel Rahman (2001) Stabilisation of clay subgrade soils using ground granulated blastfurnace slag. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Roads constructed on expansive clays may be adversely affected by the behaviour of the clay. Expansive clays suffer volume change due to changes in moisture content which causes heaving, cracking and the break up of the road pavement. Stabilisation of these types of soil is necessary to suppress swelling and increase the strength of the soil and thus partially decrease the thickness of road pavement layers. The use of by-product materials for stabilisation has environmental and economic benefits. Ground granulated blastfurnace slag (GGBS), a by-product material in Egypt, and lime are used in the current work to stabilise samples of a clay soil similar to a typical Egyptian clay soil. This test soil comprises 80% River Aire soil and 20% calcium montmorillonite. The main objectives of this research were to investigate the effect of GGBS, with and without lime, on the engineering behaviour (plasticity characteristics, compaction, unconfined compressive strength (UCS) and swelling potential) of the test soil and to identify the reaction products of the stabilised materials to determine the mechanisms by which changes in engineering properties are obtained. In order to achieve these objectives, extensive laboratory investigations were carried out. Various mixes (up to 10% GGBS by dry weight of the test soil and up to 30% replacement by hydrated lime) were prepared and cured under two representative conditions {20°C with 90-100% relative humidity (CCI) and 35° C with 50-60% relative humidity (CC2)} for up to 12 months. Compaction and plasticity were measured soon after mixing, the swelling potential and UCS were measured after longer curing periods. Four analytical techniques {X ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, differential thermal analysis and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)} were used to identify the reaction products of the clay fraction of the test soil mixed with various amount of GGBS and lime. This pure clay test soil was used to ease identification of the reaction products. The investigations showed that generally the engineering properties (UCS, swelling, plasticity) improved with the addition of GGBS and with increasing curing period and temperature. The addition of lime resulted in a dramatic improvement within the test ranges covered in the programme. The maximum dry density, MDD, decreased and the optimum moisture content, OMC, increased with increasing GGBS and lime content. The major changes in the UCS and swelling behaviour are due to the formation of new cementitious materials. The analytical investigation confirmed two major reactions when GGBS and lime were added to the pure clay soil, hydration of GGBS activated by lime to produce calcium aluminosilicate hydrate gel (C-A-S-H) and hydrotalcite type phase, and the clay-lime reaction to produce calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H), (C-A-H) and (C-A-S-H). The NMR test results revealed that the aluminosilicate chain length (EL), the aluminium: silicate (Al/Si) ratio and the amount of Si in the formed C-S-H significantly increased with an increase in the curing temperature and period, which indicates a more stable and well crystalline C-S-H. The results indicate that the use of GGBS alone, or preferably with lime, could have a significant effect on the behaviour of potentially swelling clays. Recommendations for further studies include a study of the effect of cyclic loading on the test soil. Also, site trials should be carried out to assess the suitability of using these materials in the field.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Engineering (Leeds) > School of Civil Engineering (Leeds)
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2010 14:57
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:43
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/327

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