An Overview of Soil Stabilization

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An Overview of Soil Stabilization

Many construction projects require roads that can withstand a tremendous amount of force and pressure, such as large dump trucks and heavy machinery. However, not all construction sites have dirt that is naturally strong enough to safely support this type of activity. That’s where soil stabilization comes in as it can significantly improve the strength of substandard soil and provide for the construction of roads that are safe and long-lasting.

What makes soil unstable?

Soil needs to possess certain properties to be able to stand up to the stresses of above ground traffic. First, it must have shear strength, which is defined as the ability to resist sliding apart or shearing in response to downward pressure. Additionally, the soil must have the ability toresist shrinking or swelling excessively when its moisture content drops or rises.

What is stabilization?

Engineers must determine whether or not soil at a particular planned road location is strong enough to bear the load of expected vehicle traffic. If unsuitable, then stabilization must take place. The next steps generally involve breaking down or pulverizing the earth with a specialized machine that mixes the dirt with a pre-determined chemical additive. This additive will react with the soil to provide it with the properties needed for safe construction and performance.

This additive may take the form of several agents, including portland cement, cement-kiln dust, lime, fly-ash, tar, and specialized ionic additives, such as RoadPacker Solutions products. There are a number of factors in deciding which additive to use for stabilization, including the soil pH, the type of project under construction, and the project budget.

Benefits of soil stabilization

There are numerous and important benefits to the process of soil stabilization. These include making the soil far less permeable to water and other liquids; increasing resistance to shearing, shrinking and swelling; providing conditions such that less paving material is needed during construction; and avoiding any necessary soil excavation to improve soil quality. In addition, effective soil stabilization restricts environmentally harmful soil erosion.

Using a RoadPacker ionic soil stabilization, an ion exchange solution is applied to the soil to reduce the negative charge of clay particles. Once this happens, clay particles will actuallyrepel water, allowing it to drain away.

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