Soil stabilization aims at enhancing soil properties, such as soil structure, by mixing the soil with other materials for engineering purposes. If you're considering soil stabilization, here are the three main techniques to consider:
Chemical soil stabilization entails the use of agents such as lime and cement, which contain calcium. When exposed to water, these agents react and enhance soil properties like overall strength and water resistance. Soil stabilization professionals usually dilute these agents with water and spray it on the soil, mix up the agents and soil, and compact the soil. The four common stabilization agents are the following:
- Cement. This agent is a common soil binding ingredient and is ideal for the stabilization of pavements. The application of cement requires you to perform water control and identify the right timing for soil compaction. Also, cement soil stabilization isn't ideal for soil with high organic content.
- Bitumen. Bitumen soil stabilization entails applying bitumen in various forms such as emulsions or cutback bitumen, depending on construction techniques and soil type. The process isn't ideal for soil with high amounts of organic matter or high alkaline soils.
- Lime. Soil stabilization with lime is ideal in clay soils. However, you should shield the soil against runoff as the lime may wash away, raising the soil pH.
- Fly ash. The soil stabilization technique is ideal for low moisture or coarse soils. After adding fly ash, soil stabilization professionals add a soil activator, such as lime, to intensify the stabilization process.
Biological soil stabilization aims at preventing soil erosion and entails planting vegetation. The roots of the plant help improve physical and chemical soil characteristics that usually contribute to a stable soil structure. The technique is ideal for soils that aren't suitable for building, such as those prone to water and wind damage. However, before the plants grow to form strong roots, you need to use other soil stabilization methods, such as chemical stabilization. Otherwise, strong wind or rain may wash away the young seedlings or seeds.
Physical soil stabilization entails modifying the size of soil particles by adding or removing various soil fractions. The technique usually blends with mechanical stabilization, which enhances soil aeration, porosity, and interlocking. This technique entails various methods:
- Compaction. This stabilization technique entails the elimination of soil air spaces.
- Pre-wetting. This procedure involves filling water in the soil. In return, the soil imbibes the water and swells to form a construction heave.
Soil stabilization techniques include physical, biological, and chemical techniques. Consider these techniques to improve your soil's properties for your next construction.