Soil stabilisation involves pulverising, trimming, compacting and moisture conditioning weak soil by mixing various binders with it such as lime, cement and salt (sodium chloride). This improves its characteristics for construction projects with a more favourable moisture content, strength, density, shrink/swell characteristics, permeability and plasticity index.
Soil stabilisation is mainly used to upgrade poor quality clay soils to prevent concrete from cracking as well as providing appropriate subgrade support for adequate concrete slab performance. Soil stabilisation of clay material increases hardness by up to ten times, helping to establish a far stronger foundation.
Cement, Lime or Salt?
Nearly all soil types can be stabilised using cement from sandy and gravelly to clays and fine-grained silts. Waste and substandard materials from aggregate plants and gravel roads along with slag and cinders make good soil cement. Salt stabilisation is often used to treat base aggregates for road work or parking lots.
Soils with a plasticity index from 10 to 50 are well suited for lime stabilisation. Lime is especially effective when there are expansive clays, which can crack concrete slabs. Lime is capable of forming a moisture barrier that prevents water reaching the subsoil and reducing the clay’s expansive properties.
Benefits of Stabilising Soil
Aside from improving the structural stability of the soil and the durability of any structure on it, stabilising soil also offers the benefit of:
- Eliminating the need for imported clay liner by stabilising existing materials in soil
- Preventing damage to the foundation and structure by reducing permeability
- Less work by reducing the need for excavation and disposal or material
- Protecting against erosion and piping failure
- Ensuring roads built on stabilised soils are more resistant to wear from weathering and general use from vehicles.
Process of Stabilising Soil
Soil stabilisation processes depend on the type of project and binder used. The first step is to prepare the soil by trimming and shaping to account for water draining as well as any bulking that will occur when binders are mixed with the soil, which will result in density changes.
Specialised equipment like Our new Kimera Mobile volumetric concrete mixers that have the ability to weigh in all products which complies to Australian Standards AS1379 and spreader trucks will then be used to spread and mix the cement. After mixing, the stabilised soil is compacted and any final trimming takes places as necessary to get the ground to a level height. Before any of this takes place, it’s a good idea to seek advice about stabilising soil while the project is in design stages as you may need tests conducted concerning site conditions, material type, depth, area to be treated, etc.
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