You are on page 1of 72

TENSAR

TTN:BR10
Technical Note
JULY 1998

CHEMICAL AND MECHANICAL


STABILIZATION OF
SUBGRADES AND FLEXIBLE
PAVEMENT SECTIONS

Registered Trademark
© 1998, The Tensar Corporation

TENSAR EARTH TECHNOLOGIES, INC. • 5775B Glenridge Drive • Suite 450 • Atlanta, GA • 30328
(404) 250-1290 • 800-Tensar-1 • Fax (404) 250-9185 • www.tensarcorp.com

The information herein has been carefully compiled by Tensar Earth Technologies, Inc. and to the best of our knowledge accurately
represents Tensar products used in the various applications which are illustrated. Final determination of the suitability of any information
or material for the use contemplated, and its manner of use, is the sole responsibility of the user.
Preface
Lime, Portland cement, fly ash and other chemicals have long been used successfully in roadway
construction for the stabilization of soft subgrade soils. Chemical stabilization has often been an
economical alternative to the conventional methods of partial or complete removal of the soft soil and
replacement of it with higher quality fill material.

Tensar biaxial geogrids have been used successfully since the early 1980’s to reinforce earth fills and
roadway pavement structures and enable their construction over soft subgrade soils.

This Technical Note presents results of a literature review of lime, cement and fly ash chemical
stabilization. Included are examinations of the engineering properties of stabilized soils and discussions
of the design, construction and economics of chemically stabilized subgrades. A limited review of the
conventional removal and replacement method and the Tensar geogrid mechanically stabilized method
are included. The relative applicability, design, construction and economics of the methods are presented.

This Technical Note is intended to educate roadway designers and builders on the merits and methods
of the alternatives available where soft subgrades are encountered.
Table of Contents

1.0 INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

2.0 DEFINITIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

3.0 REVIEW OF CONVENTIONAL PAVEMENTS DESIGN METHODS


AND AFFECT OF SOIL PARAMETERS ON THE PERFORMANCE OF
THE PAVEMENT STRUCTURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

4.0 LIME STABILIZATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

5.0 CEMENT STABILIZATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32

6.0 FLY ASH STABILIZATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48

7.0 SUBGRADE REMOVAL AND REPLACEMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51

8.0 GEOGRID REINFORCED SUBBASE OVER UNSTABLE SUBGRADE . . . . . . . . . .52

9.0 EXAMPLE DESIGNS AND COST ESTIMATES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54

10.0 SUMMARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61

11.0 REFERENCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65


List of Figures

Figure 1-1 Approximate chemical stabilization.


Figure 1-2 Gradation triangle for aid in selecting a stabilizer.

Figure 2-1 Pavement structure terminology.

Figure 3-1 Distribution of vertical stress with depth according to Bousineq theory.
Figure 3-2 Density and CBR for a typical silty clay.
Figure 3-3 Variation of CBR with density for a CH soil and a CL soil.
Figure 3-4 Plasticity index can be used to predict swelling.

Figure 4-1 The reason for the textural change is due to the phenomenon of cation exchange
followed by flocculation and agglomeration of the clay particles.
Figure 4-2 Different percentages of lime are required to reduce plasticity to desired levels
for different soils.
Figure 4-3 The shift in maximum density and optimum moisture content is evidence of the
physical changes that occur (immediately) during lime treatment.
Figure 4-4 Swell potential can be reduced by lime treatment.
Figure 4-5 Although accelerated curing procedures can be used to approximate long-term
strength gain, soil-lime pozzolanic reactions occur over time.
Figure 4-6 As the strength of a soil-lime mixture increases with curing time, the stiffness of
the mixture also increases, as measured by a reduction in percent strain during
the unconfined compression test.
Figure 4-7 Lime treatment provides immediate strength gain as illustrated by these CBR-
moisture content relationships for natural soils and soils treated with 3 and 5
percent lime.
Figure 4-8 If adequate lime is available, pozzolanic reactions will continue to occur under
favorable conditions.
Figure 4-9 Seasonal variability of resilient modulus of a fine-grained cohesive soil.
Figure 4-10 The Eades and Grim pH test is an excellent indicator of optimum lime content
and should be used as part of a complete mixture design procedure to insure
optimization of pozzolanic reactivity.
Figure 4-11 The Thompson Mixture Design flowchart is based on soil-lime reactibity.
Figure 4-12 The Texas Department of Transportation selects optimum lime content for
strength testing based on the soil index properties of soil binder (minus No. 40
sieve size) and PI.
Figure 4-13 Structural layer coefficient, a2, was determined by Thompson as a function of
compressive strength for lime stabilized layers.

Figure 5-1 Plasticity vs. cement content for an A-7-6(14) clay.


Figure 5-2 Unconfined compressive strength vs. cement content.
Figure 5-3 Flow chart for soil-cement laboratory testing methods.

Figure 6-1 Factors influencing the quality of a lime-fly ash-soil mixture.


List of Tables

Table 1-1 Guide for Selecting a Stabilizer.

Table 3-1 Structural Layer Coefficients proposed by AASHO Committee on Design, 1961.
Table 3-2 Soil Parameters Affecting the Performance of a Flexible Pavement Structure.

Table 4-1 Summary of Soil-Lime Mixture Design Procedures and Mixture Design Criteria.
Table 4-2 Summary of Lime Treatment Processes.
Table 4-3 Summary of Soil-Lime Construction Procedures and Quality Assurance Issues.
Table 4-4 Special Considerations For Lime Stabilization.
Table 4-5 Lime Stabilization Safety Precautions.

Table 5-1 Gradations of Soil Materials Used For Cement Stabilization


Table 5-2 Classification of Cement Modified Soils.
Table 5-3 Mechanisms Contributing To Cement Stabilization of Soil Materials.
Table 5-4 Ranges of Unconfined Compressive Strengths of Soil-Cement.
Table 5-5 Summary of Laboratory Testing Required for Various Project Types.
Table 5-6 Fundamental Requirements and Detailed Test Methods for Soil-Cement.
Table 5-7 Summary of PCA mixture design procedure: Complete Series of Detailed Tests.
Table 5-8 Typical Cement Requirements for Various Soil Groups.
Table 5-9 Summary of Requirements for Simpler Variations of the PCA Method.
Table 5-10 PCA Criteria for Soil-Cement as Indicated by Durability Tests.
Table 5-11 USACE Durability Requirements.
Table 5-12 USACE Minimum Unconfined Compressive Strength Criteria.
Table 5-13 Examples of AASHTO Layer Coefficients for use by Various State DOTs.
Table 5-14 Summary of In-Place Mixing of Soil-Cement Construction Procedures and Quality
Assurance Issues.

Table 9-1 Typical Chemical Stabilization Costs.


Table 9-2 Estimated Pavement Costs per Square Yard for Example Designs.

Table 10-1 Applicability: Comparison of Subgrade Stabilization Options.


Table 10-2 Design: Comparison of Subgrade Stabilization Options.
Table 10-3 Construction: Comparison of Subgrade Stabilization Options.
Table 10-4 Economics: Comparison of Subgrade Stabilization Options.
1.0 INTRODUCTION

Construction of long lasting, economical flexible pavement structures requires subgrade


materials with good engineering properties. Desirable properties that the subgrade should
possess to maximize the service life of the roadway section and to minimize the required
thickness of the flexible pavement structure include strength, drainage, ease and permanency
of compaction, and permanency of strength (Yoder and Witczak, 1975). In many locations,
the in situ soils are high plasticity clays or other types of fine-grained soils, which are not
satisfactory materials for use as a subgrade in a pavement structure. These subgrade soils
exhibit poor strength, shrink/ swell, freeze/thaw, and load deformation properties and must
be replaced or stabilized in some manner.

Chemical stabilization of subgrade soils can increase their strength and bearing capacity, and
improve their shrink/swell and freeze/thaw characteristics. The two most commonly used
chemical stabilization methods are lime stabilization and cement stabilization. Additives to the
soil-lime and soil-cement mixtures, such as fly ash, pozzolans, and phosphogypsum, can be
used to further enhance the properties of the chemically stabilized subgrade soils. A flow
chart which can be used to select the appropriate chemical stabilization for a
project is presented in Figure 1.

Figure 1-1 Appropriate Chemical Stabilization (After Dept. of the Army, 1983)

1
A good estimate of the appropriate stabilizer for a certain soil can be based on simple and easy
to measure soil index properties such as P200 and PI (after Little, 1995). Lime stabilization is
most effective with plastic clayey soils. These soils range from granular clay-gravels, ÒdirtyÓ
gravels, and caliche to fine grained clays and silty-clays with plasticity indices ranging from
10 to greater than 50. Lime stabilization can be used with some silts, but should not be used
with sandy soils unless a pozzolan material, such as fly ash, is used to react with the lime to
provide a strong base.

Almost all types of soils can be stabilized with cement except highly organic soils, very heavy
(very high plasticity) clays, and poorly reacting sandy soils. Figure 1-2 presents a gradation
triangle for selecting the Group Area to be used in Table 1-1 to select the appropriate stabilizer
for a certain soil.

LEGEND
–.– BOUNDARIES BETWEEN MAJOR SOIL GROUPS

––– BOUNDARIES WITHIN A MAJOR SOIL GROUP


SIEVE)

1B
1A

AREA
AREA
200

AREA 1C
SIEVE AND RETAINED ON NO.
SAND

SANDS
PERCENT BY WEIGHT,
4
NO.

L
VE
2A

RA
(MATERIAL PASSING

G E)
HT EV
AREA

G SI
EI
W .4
BY NO
N
NT O
2B

E D
RC NE
AREA

I
PE TA
RE
AL AREA 2C
ERI
AT
(M
AREA 3

GRAVELS FINE GRAINED SOILS

PERCENT BY WEIGHT, FINES

(MATERIAL PASSING NO. 200 SIEVE)

Figure 1-2 Gradation triangle for aid in selecting a stabilizer (After Dept. of the Army, 1983).

2
Table 1-1
Guide for Selecting a Stabilizer
(After Department of the Army, 1983).

Group Soil Recommended Restriction on LL Remarks


Area Classification Stabilizer and PI of Soil1
1A SW or SP Portland Cement
Lime-Cement-Fly Ash PI not to exceed 25
1B SW-SM, SP-SM Portland Cement PI not to exceed 30
SW-SC, or SP-SC Lime PI not less than 12
Lime-Cement-Fly Ash PI not to exceed 25
1C SM, SC, or SM-SC Portland Cement See Note 2
Lime PI not to less than 12
Lime-Cement-Fly Ash PI not to exceed 25
2A GW or GP Portland Cement PI not to exceed 30 P4 at least 45%
Lime-Cement-Fly Ash PI not to exceed 25
2B GW-GM, GP-GM Portland Cement PI not to exceed 30 P4 at least 45%
GW-GC, or GP-GC Lime PI not less than 12
Lime-Cement-Fly Ash PI not to exceed 25
2C GM,GC, or GM-GC Portland Cement See note 2 P4 at least 45%
Lime PI note less than 12
Lime-Cement-Fly Ash PI not to exceed 25
3 CH,CL,MH, ML Portland Cement LL < 40; PI < 20 No organic or
OH,OL, or ML-CL Lime PI not less than 12 strongly acid soils

Note 1: Corresponds to MIL-STD-619B. Restriction on LL and PI is in accordance with Method 103 in MIL-STD-621A.
Note 2: PI is less than or equal to 20+ [(50 - P200)/4].

Removal and replacement of poor quality subgrade with better quality material results in a
thicker pavement section capable of lowering the bearing pressure on the in situ soils to an
acceptable level. Partial or complete removal minimizes any potential freeze/thaw,
shrink/swell, or seasonal softening problems associated with the poor quality subgrade.
Pavement thickening achieves the same reduction in bearing pressures on a poor quality
subgrade, but does not effect freeze/thaw, shrink/swell, or seasonal softening of the subgrade.

Mechanical stabilization with TENSAR Geogrids provides the combined effects of (i) increasing
the allowable bearing capacity of the subgrade that can be mobilized and (ii) reinforcing the
subbase, or base course, to lower bearing pressures on the subgrade. Mechanical stabilization
does not effect the other engineering properties of the subgrade soils.

This TTN was prepared to familiarize engineers with design, construction, performance, and
economics of these various methods of subgrade improvement. It will, thereby, provide a
basis for comparative evaluation and selection of the method best suited to a specific project.

3
2.0 DEFINITIONS

Referring to Figure 2-1, the following general terminology is typically used in the pavement
and stabilization industries. Terminology specific to the particular stabilization method is
included in the subsequent chapters which discuss each method. The subgrade refers to the in
situ soils on which the stresses from the overlying roadway will be distributed. The subbase or
subbase course and the base or base course materials are stress distributing layer components of a
pavement structure. The subbase and base materials must be able to provide for drainage in
the pavement structure.

Figure 2.1 Pavement Structure Terminology (After Yoder and Witczak)

The Pavement Structure consists of a relatively thin wearing surface constructed over a base
course and a subbase course, which rests upon an in situ subgrade. The wearing surface is
primarily asphalt concrete. The properties of all of the pavement structure layers are
considered in the design of the flexible pavement system. In a flexible pavement structure, the
layer moduli of elasticity decrease with depth to reduce stresses and deflection in the
subgrade (Yoder and Witczak, 1975).

Subgrade Stabilization includes chemically or mechanically stabilizing or improving fine-


grained in-place subgrade soils or borrow materials, such as hydraulic fills or other poor
quality clay and silty materials, which are used as subbases or bases, (National Lime
Association, 1995). In this TTN, mechanical stabilization refers to the use of TENSAR biaxial
geogrid to increase the effective bearing capacity of soft subgrades soils while reinforcing the
overlying subbase or base course. Mechanical stabilization by addition of inert materials such
as surge stone is not included herein.

4
Subbase stabilization consists of upgrading the strength and consistency properties of
aggregates with plastic fines, dirty gravels, limestone, caliche, and other base materials
containing excess amounts of P40 material. (National Lime Association) This type of
stabilization is not addressed in this technical note.

Base course reinforcement is an open polymer grid material placed near the center of the base
course or at the subbase-base interface. Base course reinforcement is applicable to subgrades
with a CBR (California Bearing Ratio) greater than or equal to 3. Potential benefits of base
course reinforcement include: reduced surface rutting due to lateral movement of the base
course aggregate; increased performance periods; decreased life-cycle costs; reduced mainte-
nance; and a reduced base course thickness.

Soil Modification refers to the chemical stabilization process that results in improvements in
some properties of the soil for improved constructability, but does not provide the designer
with a significant increase in soil strength and durability. Modified soils are not considered in
the structural design of pavement structures.

Additives refer to manufactured commercial products that, when added to the soil in proper
quantities and thoroughly mixed, will improve the quality of the soil layer. Examples of
admixtures include Portland cement, lime, fly ash, bitumen, and any combination of the
cement, lime, and fly ash materials.

A roadway section consists of a complete pavement system, including its associated base course,
subbase course, subgrade, and required system drainage components.

A pavement system consists of one or more layers of flexible asphalts together with their
associated seal, tack and prime coats.

P4 is the percentage of a soil sample passing the No. 4 sieve in a mechanical analysis of the
soil sample. It represents the percentage, by weight, of silt and clay size particles in the soil.

P40 is the percentage of a soil sample passing the No. 40 sieve in a mechanical analysis of the
soil sample. It represents the percentage, by weight, of silt and clay size particles in the soil.

P200 is the percentage of a soil sample passing the No. 200 sieve in a mechanical analysis of
the soil sample. It represents the percentage, by weight, of silt and clay size particles in the
soil.

The plasticity index (PI) of a soil is the difference between the liquid limit (LL) and the plastic
limit (PL) of the soil.

5
3.0 REVIEW OF CONVENTIONAL PAVEMENT DESIGN METHODS
AND AFFECT OF SOIL PARAMETERS ON THE PERFORMANCE
OF THE PAVEMENT STRUCTURE

Review of Conventional Pavement Design Methods

There are several methods that can be used to design the thickness of a roadway subbase or a
working platform which must support construction vehicles. The two methods used in this
TTN and summarized below are presented in detail in TTN:BR5 on subgrade improvement
design and TTN:BR96 on flexible pavement design.

The TTN:BR5 method is applicable for the design of granular subbases and construction
working platforms built over soft soils. This method is based on distribution of vehicle tire
or track pressures through a geogrid reinforced layer such that the pressure at the top of
subgrade is less than the allowable bearing pressure of the subgrade soil. Vertical pressures
are assumed to be distributed through the subbase according to the Boussinesq theory as
illustrated is in Figure 3-1. For wheel loads, the maximum vertical pressure at the top of the
subgrade is estimated as:

q = p {1 - [1 / (1 + (r/z)2 )]3/2 } Equation 3.1

where r = (P / ¹ p)0.5 = apparent radius of tire contact area,


p = tire inflation pressure for single or dual wheels,
P = wheel load,
z = depth below surface.

Wheel
Load
2R

z q1

q2

Figure 3-1 Distribution of vertical stress with depth according to the Boussinesq theory.

6
Rodin (1965) analyzed the failure mechanisms of fine grained soils under wheel loads. He
noted that rutting due to local shear failure of soft soils occurred where the vertical pressure
exceeded the local ultimate bearing capacity as given by:

qu = 3.1cu Equation 3.2

where cu = undrained shear strength of the subgrade soil.

Using the ultimate bearing capacity, qu, the Boussinesq equation is solved for the minimum
thickness, or depth, of the subbase, z, that is required so as not to exceed qu. Examples using
this design procedure are included in Chapter 9.

The AASHTO flexible pavement design approach outlined in TTN:BR96 can also be used
to determine the required thickness of a subbase. The AASHTO design procedure considers
the pavement structure as a number of layers characterized by individual layer coefficients
which are based on the resilient modulus of each layer material. The ÒstrengthÓ of any layer
is taken as the product of its layer coefficient and layer thickness. The strength of the
pavement structure, termed the Structural Number, (SN), is taken as the sum of the strengths
of individual layers,

SN = a1d1 + a2d2m2 + a3d3m3 Equation 3.3

where, ai = layer coefficients for asphalt, base and subbase,


di = the thickness of each layer (inches),
mi = a drainage modifier.

Table 3-1 gives the layer coefficients developed from the AASHO Road Test conducted in the
late 1950s. The SN is a function of the of traffic volume, pavement serviceability, subgrade
resilient modulus, statistical variability, and the designerÕs confidence level. This is reviewed
in TTN:BR96. The AASHTO approach was developed for design of ÒpermanentÓ pavement
structures having much higher performance requirements than those for temporary
construction vehicles. It is not as well suited to the design of subbases or working platforms
as the TTN:BR5 approach. It is, however, used by some designers who are familiar with
conventional layer design methods. The SN3 required for construction traffic is estimated,
the drainage modifier, m3, is taken as 1.0, and the subbase thickness is calculated,

d3 = SN3 / a3

This layer approach is commonly used to compare equivalent structural layers using different
materials. For example, a 10 inch thick soil cement base course having a layer coefficient of
0.17 is approximately equivalent to a 12 inch thick graded aggregate base course having a
layer coefficient of 0.14. Each layer has a Structural Number, SN3, of 1.7.

7
A reasonable design approach for soft subgrade conditions is to use TTN:BR5 to determine the
required subbase thickness, d3, for construction traffic and then include that thickness in the
AASHTO layer equation to calculate the thicknesses of the other pavement layers required for
post construction traffic.

Table 3-1. Structural Layer Coefficients proposed by


AASHO Committee on Design, 1961.
Pavement Component Layer Coefficient

Surface course
Roadmix (low stability) 0.20
Plantmix (high stability) 0.44
Sand asphalt 0.40
Base course
Sandy gravel 0.07
Crushed stone 0.14
Cement treated
7-day Compressive Strength
650 psi or more 0.23
400 to 650 psi 0.20
400 psi or less 0.15

Lime treated 0.15 to 0.30

Subbase course
Sandy gravel 0.11
Sand or sandy clay 0.05 to 0.10

8
Affect of Soil Parameters on the Performance of the Pavement Structure

Several aspects of basic soil mechanics influence the performance of the subgrade and
therefore the entire pavement structure. These are summarized in Table 3-2 for a conventional
flexible pavement structure. The impacts of subgrade stabilization on these issues are
discussed in subsequent chapters.

Table 3-2. Soil Parameters Affecting the Performance of a Flexible Pavement Structure

Parameter Discussion

Compaction Compaction increases density with a consequent lower in-service


moisture content, even in the event of subsequent saturation.
The result is an increase in strength. See Figures 3-2 and 3-3.

Strength, Moisture- Soaked CBR vs. moisture content curve will have a shape similar to
Density, and CBR moisture-density curve. A higher density results in a higher CBR,
which is a measure of strength. See Figures 3-2 and 3-3.

Shrink/Swell Subgrade soils with a high PI have a high potential for volume change,
as presented in Figure 3-4. An increase in moisture results in swelling
and consequent heaving of the pavement structure. A loss of moisture
can result in shrinkage. Shrinkage cracking of the subgrade, can result
in reflection cracking in flexible pavements and can create a pathway
for moisture to enter into the subgrade.

Drainage Improper drainage can allow an increase in moisture content. Results


are loss of subgrade strength, heaving of subgrade soils, and more
severe frost action.

Frost Action Includes frost heave and loss of subgrade support during frost melt.

Seasonal Wetting Seasonal wetting leads to softening of the subgrade and loss of
and Softening subgrade support and consequent rutting and other pavement distress.
Freezing temperatures can worsen this problem.

Contamination Improper gradation differences between base course and subgrade can
of Aggregate result in migration of fines and contamination of base course material
with subgrade material. This impedes drainage, reduces the strength of
the base course and the subgrade, and results in rutting and other
pavement distress.

9
Figure 3.2 Density and CBR for a typical silty clay (after TRB, 1987).
100% modified AASHTO

Figure 3.3 Variation of CBR with density for a CH soil and a CL soil (after TRB, 1987).

10
Range

Percent Swell = (0.00216) PI2.44

Figure 3.4 Plasticity index can be used to predict swelling (Seed, et al., 1962).

11
4.0 LIME STABILIZATION

Introduction

Lime stabilization has been applied to all types of roads, from secondary city streets to
Interstate Highways. Off-highway uses include airport runways, temporary construction
roads, parking lots, railroad beds, irrigation canals, levees, and earth dams. Lime stabilization
involves the use of burned lime products, quicklime, hydrated lime (oxides and hydroxides,
respectively) or lime by-byproducts (Codel). It does not include limestone (carbonates), such as
pulverized limestone, which reacts mechanically, but is largely inert chemically.

Lime is a strong alkaline base which reacts chemically with clays, causing a base exchange.
Calcium ions displace sodium and hydrogen cations and combine with available silica and
alumina in the soil to form complex silicates and aluminates, which are cementing materials.
Either high calcium lime or dolomitic lime can be used. Lime is most effective in stabilizing
plastic, clayey soils, ranging from clay-gravels, gravels with a high fines content, and caliche,
to fine grained soils, ranging from clays or silty clays with plasticity indices (PIs) from 10 to
greater than 50. Lime reacts with some silts. Lime should not be used alone with sandy soils
unless a pozzolan, such as fly ash, is used to react with the lime.

The principal changes to a soil stabilized with lime include: reduction in plasticity index (PI)
and volume change; flocculation of clay particles, making the soil more friable and allowing
the clay clods to readily disintegrate; increase in optimum moisture content, permitting
compaction under wetter conditions and allowing the soils to dry out more rapidly; increase
in strength and stability through a cementing action; and resistance to water absorption and
capillary rise. These physical and chemical changes result in a more moisture-resistant barrier
and a stronger all-weather working platform for construction of the overlying pavement.

Determination of the amount of lime to be used must be based on laboratory testing and
must account for likely variations in field mixed distribution and in situ soil variations.
The principal tests used are particle size gradation, plasticity index, and some type of strength
test, such as unconfined compression. A good testing program to determine ideal lime percentages
for treatment and physical parameters for quality control during construction is critical.

Standard stabilization construction procedures include:


(i) scarifying,
(ii) lime spreading,
(iii) mixing and pulverizing,
(iv) compaction,
(v) curing, and
(vi) testing.
Heavy clays may require a two-stage mixing process where the lime and water mellow the
clay (break down the clay clods) between mixing stages.

12
Objectives

There are two major objectives of the lime stabilization process with respect to the
improvement of highly plastic clay subgrade soils: improve workability and increase strength.
The first objective is attained by decreasing the plasticity index (PI) and volume change
(shrink/swell) characteristics of the subgrade soil. This objective is usually attained as an
immediate result of cation exchange and flocculation (discussed in more detail later in this
section). Reduced soil plasticity results in immediate improvements in workability, uncured
strength, and load deformation properties result. Workability improvements result from the
flocculation of the clay particles, which make the soil more friable. An increase in optimum
moisture content permits compaction of wetter soils. The increase in uncured strength results
from a cementing action at the microparticle level in the clay minerals.

The second objective is to increase the strength of the subgrade soils over the long term. This
objective is usually attained as the result of a lime-soil pozzolanic reaction which may occur to
form various cementing agents. Cementing agents, when formed, increase the strength and
durability of the soil-lime mixture in its compacted state. As opposed to the immediacy of the
improvements in plasticity discussed for the first objective of the lime stabilization process,
the pozzolanic reactions and the related ultimate cured strength developments are time and
temperature dependent.

Terminology

Lime. Lime stabilization requires the use of lime in the form of quicklime or hydrated lime.
Agricultural lime or other forms of calcium carbonate, or carbonated lime, will not provide the
necessary reactions to improve subgrade soils mixed with lime. For the purposes of this TTN,
the use of the term lime refers to quicklime or hydrated lime.

Quicklime. Quicklime is calcium oxide, designated in its chemical form as CaO. Quicklime is
produced by calcining or burning high quality limestone at high temperatures. Calcining
volatilizes nearly half the weight of the limestone into carbon dioxide. In words and in
chemical form, this reaction, which is reversible, is denoted as:

Limestone + Heat ---> High Calcium Quicklime + Carbon Dioxide


CaCO3 + (~1315 degrees C) ---> CaO + CO2

A quicklime slurry is a homogeneous blend of finely divided quicklime particles suspended in


water. An exothermic reaction occurs that produces hydrated lime in a slurry form.

Codel. A by-product in the production of lime. It contains a smaller fraction of hydrated lime
than the standard hydrated lime, but it still produces a pozzolanic reaction when mixed with
soil.

13
Hydrated Lime. Hydrated lime is calcium hydroxide, designated in chemical form as Ca(OH)2.
Hydrated lime is produced by reacting quicklime with sufficient water to form a white
powder. This process is referred to as slaking. In words and in chemical form, this reaction
is denoted as:

High Calcium Quicklime + Water ---> Hydrated Lime + Heat


CaO + H2O ---> Ca(OH)2 + Heat

Hydrated lime is the form of lime used in the majority of lime stabilization work. Quicklime
represents approximately 10 percent of the lime used in the lime stabilization process. Other
forms of lime sometimes used in lime stabilization work are dehydrated dolomitic lime,
monohydrated dolomitic lime, and dolomitic quicklime.

Lime Modification. Lime modification improves the workability and constructability of


subgrade soils and base and subbase aggregates through the addition of small quantities of
lime. Lime modification is used to aid in compaction of the subgrade soils by drying out wet
areas, to bridge a spongy subsoil area, to provide a working base for subsequent work, and to
condition the soil. Lime modification results in less durable materials than those which are
fully stabilized with lime. Typically, 1 to 3 percent lime is used for lime modification. No
structural credit is given to a lime modified soil in the design of the pavement structure.

Non- Reactive Soils. A soil that does not react with lime. A number of soil constituents that
block the reaction have been encountered, including iron oxides, sulfates, and acidic soils.
Some soils also gain swelling potential open mixing with lime and must be identified before
selecting lime stabilization.

Mechanism of Lime Stabilization

Lime, in the form of quicklime or hydrated lime, is a strong alkaline base which reacts
chemically with clays, causing a base exchange, with calcium ions displacing sodium and
hydrogen cations. This portion of the chemical reaction results in an immediate reduction in
the plastic limit of the soil. Other principal changes to a soil occurring as a result of the lime
stabilization chemical reactions include reduction in the volume change characteristics of the
soil, flocculation of clay particles, and increase in optimum moisture content, thereby
permitting compaction under wetter conditions.

Handy (1994) contributes the rapid change in plasticity, to a strong reaction between the OH-
from the lime and the H+ from within the clay mineral structure to form water. The negativity
of the clay particles is increased. Free Ca++ ions satisfy this increased negative charge, thereby
strengthening the electrostatic forces of flocculation. This phenomena is illustrated in Figure
4-1. Other calcium salts such as gypsum or calcium chloride are not effective, because these
compounds lack OH- ions and, therefore, they do not increase the pH-dependent charge of the
clay.

14
(a) Parallel arrangement of clay particles with
hydrated water layers.

(b) Edge-to-face attraction induced by thin


water layer which allows attractive forces
to dominate.

Figure 4-1 The reason for the textural change is due to the phenomenon of cation exchange
followed by flocculation and agglomeration of the clay particles. Figure 4-1(a) illustrates low
strength clays where particles are separated by large water layers. The addition of calcium in the
form of lime shrinks the water layer, Figure 4-1(b), allowing the plate-like particles to flocculate.

Handy (1994) also indicates that after the lime requirement of a clay has been satisfied at a
percent lime referred to as the lime retention point, excess lime becomes available for pozzolanic
reactions with the available silica and alumina in the clay. During the pozzolanic reactions,
the clay mineral slowly dissolves and reforms as complex hydrated silicates and aluminates,
which are cementing materials. This reaction results in an increase in the strength and
stability of the soil lime through the cementing action, and a resistance to water absorption
and capillary rise. A resistance to capillary rise and water absorption reduces the frost heave
potential of soils.

Soil Mineralogy provides the basis for understanding the basic mechanisms of chemical
stabilization, especially lime stabilization. Soil mineralogy is beyond the scope of this
document. Fundamentals of the Stabilization of Soil With Lime (Little, 1987) is an excellent
reference on the topic.

15
Engineering Properties and Characteristics of Soil-Lime Mixtures: Laboratory Results

General

The addition of lime to a fine-grained soil results in an immediate improvement in plasticity,


workability, and volume change characteristics. Some soils may also exhibit improvements in
strength, modulus, fatigue, and durability characteristics after being stabilized with lime.
These characteristics categories can be further broken down to include the more familiar
properties of Atterberg limits, maximum dry density, optimum moisture content,
shrink/swell, unconfined compressive strength, CBR, and freeze-thaw. Properties measured
in the laboratory using soil-lime mixtures prepared in the laboratory may vary significantly
with properties measured on soil-lime mixtures prepared in the field. These differences
depend upon soil type, construction method, quality of construction, and curing conditions.
The reader needs to recognize and consider the inherent variations in soil-lime mixtures.

Typical relationships for these engineering properties and characteristics for soil-lime mixtures
are presented in Figures 4-2 through 4-8. These figures are results from laboratory work.
Moving from the laboratory to a construction site, one should expect a higher level of
variation in the engineering properties as a result of the less controllable construction process
as compared to carefully controlled laboratory conditions. Additional variations with mix and
cure times may also be introduced. As shown in Figure 4-9, the variations in engineering
properties are a result of variations in the environment, changes in the mixture components,
changes in construction techniques, among others.

16
Figure 4-2 Different percentages of lime are required to reduce plasticity to desired levels for
different soils. This reaction is immediate and does not require long curing times.
(After Holtz, 1969).

Figure 4-3 The shift in maximum density and optimum moisture content is evidence of the
physical changes that occur (immediately) during lime treatment (After Terrel, et al., 1979).

17
■ Porterville Clay
◆ Houston Black Clay
▲ Pierre, SD Shale
❑ Fort Thompson, SD Clay

Percent Swell= 0.00216 (PI)2.44

Figure 4-4 Swell potential can be reduced by lime treatment. Plasticity index can be used to
predict swelling (Seed, et al., 1962).

Figure 4-5 Although accelerated curing procedures can be used to approximate long-term
strength gain, soil-lime pozzolanic reactions occur over time. The long term beneficial poz-
zolanic effects may be accounted for in design (after Little, 1995).

18
Figure 4-6 As the strength of a soil-lime mixture increases with curing time, the stiffness of the
mixture also increases, as measured by a reduction in percent strain during the unconfined
compression test (after Sudath and Thompson, 1975).

19
Figure 4-7 Lime treatment provides immediate strength gain as illustrated by these CBR
moisture content relationships for natural soils and soils treated with 3 and 5 percent lime
(CL soils, AASHTO T-99 compaction) (After Thompson, 1970).

20 20
Figure 4-8 If adequate lime is available, pozzolanic reactions will continue to occur under
favorable conditions (After Thompson and Dempsey, 1969).

Figure 4-9 Seasonal variability of resilient modulus of a fine-grained cohesive soil


(after Little, 1995).

21
Soil-Lime Mixture Design

General

The soil-lime mixture design process is used to establish an appropriate lime content for
construction. The design lime content is based on an analysis of the effect of a range of lime
percentages on engineering properties such as Atterberg limits, swell potential, and the
strength of soil-lime mixtures, as presented in Figures 4-2 through 4-8. Mixture design criteria
are used as guidelines to establish an acceptable soil-lime mixture quality. Several soil-lime
mixture design procedures have been developed and are discussed in this section.

Mixture Design Criteria

Mixture design criteria are used to evaluate a soil-lime mixture. Criteria vary with
stabilization objectives and anticipated field conditions, such as environmental factors, wheel
loading considerations, and design life. Mixture design criteria must be based on careful
consideration of the specific conditions anticipated for the stabilization project.

Mixture design criteria are classified into two broad categories. The first category includes
stabilization objectives of reduction in PI, improved workability, immediate strength increase,
and reduced swell potential. The mixture design criteria for this category would include,
among others: no further decrease in PI with an increase in percent lime added to the natural
soil, an acceptable PI reduction for the stabilization objective and an acceptable reduction in
swell potential.

The second mixture design criteria category concerns strength improvements associated with
the pozzolanic reactions which occur between the lime and the soil. The mixture design
criteria for this category typically specify that the cured soil-lime mixture meet some
minimum specified strength requirement and that the design lime content is the percent lime
which produces the maximum strength for the given curing conditions. Current minimum
strength criteria are commonly expressed in terms of unconfined compressive strength.

Mixture design criteria should be validated using actual field experience. Mixture design
criteria are generally developed for use with a particular mixture design procedure and
geographic/geologic location. The mixture design criteria developed for one geographic/
geologic location can not be applied to other geographic/geologic locations without due
consideration of all aspects of the particular stabilization problem.

22
Mixture Design Procedures

Design lime contents are usually based on an analysis of the effect of varying lime percentages
on selected engineering properties of the soil lime mixture. Usually, the basic components of a
mixture design procedure are: a method for preparing the soil lime mixture; a procedure for
preparing and curing specimens; testing procedures for evaluating a selected property or
properties of the cured soil lime mixture; and appropriate criteria for establishing the design
lime content.

All of the mixture design procedures do not result in the same design lime content. Different
design lime contents may be established for the same soil depending on the objectives of the
lime treatment and the mixture design procedures utilized. A brief summary of several
mixture design procedures is presented in Table 4-1. The Eades and Grim, Thompson, and
Texas mixture design procedures are illustrated in Figures 4-11, 4-12, and 4-13, respectively.

Table 4-1 Summary of Soil-Lime Mixture Design Procedures


and Mixture Design Criteria.

Mixture Design Summary of Method Mixture Design Criteria


Procedure

Eades and Grim Based on pH. Design lime content is lime required to insure a pH of 12.
(Figure 4-11)

Thompson Based on Unconfined Increase in UCS of soil-lime mixture over natural soil
(Figure 4-12) Compressive Strength (UCS). after 48 hour cure at 120 degrees F must be at least 50 psi.

California California Test 373. Based on Highest UCS at optimum moisture content
UCS and optimum moisture using 4-inch diameter by 4-inch high samples.
content.

Illinois Based on UCS, optimum A lime reactive soil is one that achieves a 50 psi increase in
moisture content, and UCS in 48 hours at 120 degrees F. Design lime content is %
maximum dry density. above which there is no added strength gain.

Oklahoma Eades and Grim Design lime content is lime required to insure a pH of 12.

South Dakota South Dakota Test SD-107, CBR of soil-lime is 3-4 times CBR of natural materials.
which is similar to AASHTO Maximum 0.5 percent vertical expansion after 30
T-193. Based on 96-hour soaked freeze-thaw cycles. UCS after 30 freeze-thaw cycles is at
CBR and freeze-thaw cycling. least 75 percent of initial UCS.

Texas Based on AASHTO T-220: UCS > 100 psi (bases).


(Figure 4-13) PI, UCS, and P40. UCS > 50 psi (subbases).

Virginia Based on UCS. Design lime content based on cost effectiveness and
benefit derived.

23
Figure 4-10 The Eades and Grim pH test is an excellent indicator of optimum lime content
and should be used as part of a complete mixture design procedure to insure optimization
of pozzolanic reactivity (after Little, 1995).

24
Figure 4-10 The Thompson Mixture Design flow chart is based on soil-lime reactivity
(After Little et al., 1987).

25
4.25%

Percent Hydrated Lime


Based on dry weight of soil
Enter P.I. at top
Read amount for 100% soil
binder from curves
Follow curved line down to %
soil binder to be anticipated

Agg Soils At intersection of this line read


% lime from curves modified for
aggregate at top
Example: for P.I. - 39
& 55% - No. 40
% lime + 4.25%

Figure 4-12 The Texas Department of Transportation selects optimum lime content for strength
testing based on the soil index properties of soil binder (minus No. 40 sieve size) and PI.

Thickness Design Procedures

The structural capacity of lime treated subgrades may be considered in the design of the
overlying pavement section. There are several design procedures available. The two methods
reviewed here use the principals and methods presented in TTN:BR5 for subgrade improvement
design and TTN:BR96 for flexible pavement design that were introduced in the Chapter 3.

To use the TTN:BR5 method for the design of lime treated subbases and construction of
working platforms over soft soils, the lime treated subgrade soil is converted to an equivalent
thickness of granular material. The Caltrans Highway Design Manual uses the following
equation,

Gf = 0.9 + (UU / 1000) Equation 4.1

where, Gf = gravel factor


UU = unconfined compressive strength (psi)

26
The equivalent thickness of the lime treated subgrade soil is then included as part of, or in
lieu of, the required thickness of granular base or subbase material. For example, assume a
design calls for a granular subbase thickness of 17 inches over an untreated subgrade. If 8
inches of the subgrade would instead be lime treated and if the lime treated soil would
develop an undrained compressive strength of 300 psi, the Gravel Factor would be 1.20. The
lime treated layer would be equivalent to 1.2 x 8 = 9.6 inches of granular subbase. Thus, the
required thickness of granular subbase would be reduced by 9.6 inches to 7.4 inches. The
total thickness of combined granular subbase and lime treated subbase would be 7.4 plus 8.0
inches, or 15.4 inches, verses the 17 inches of granular material needed if the subgrade would
not be treated.
Coefficient, a2

Figure 4-13 Structural layer coefficient, a2, was determined by Thompson as a function of
compressive strength for lime stabilized layers (after Thompson, 1970).

To use the AASHTO method for estimating the effect of the lime treated subgrade layer on the
traffic capacity of either the subbase or the final pavement section, a layer coefficient must be
quantified. From Figure 4-13, for a compressive strength of 300 psi, the layer coefficient
would be about 0.15. Assuming a layer coefficient of the granular subbase material to be 0.11,
the SN of the final pavement will be

SN = a1d1 + a2d2 + (0.11 x 7.4) + (0.15 x 8).

For the required SN, the equation is solved for the thicknesses of asphalt, d1, and aggregate
base course, d2. Typically, a1 is 0.40 to 0.44 and a2 is 0.12 to 0.14.

27
Construction of Lime Stabilized Courses

Lime Treatment Processes

There are three basic lime treatment processes: in-place mixing, plant mixing, and pressure
injection. These processes are summarized in Table 4-2.

Table 4-2 Summary of Lime Treatment Processes.


Process Description of Lime Treatment Process

In-Place Mixing Lime is mixed with existing material at the site, mixed with borrow offsite and then
transported to the site, or mixed with borrow hauled to the site.

Major differences in this procedure is the number of applications of lime and whether
or not a mellowing period is used between applications.

Mellowing allows the soil to breakdown and ameliorate.


A mellowing period may be 1 to 7 days long.

Single deep lift process can be used.

Plant Mixing Soil to be stabilized is hauled to a central mixing plant where it is mixed with lime & water.

Plant mixing is designed to uniformly mix the soil, lime, and water.

Pressure Injection Lime slurry is injected into soils to depths of 7 to 10 feet on 5 foot centers.

Goal is to place horizontal seams of lime slurry at 8 to 12 inch intervals.

Top 6 to 12 inches is stabilized using conventional stabilization methods.

Regardless of the lime treatment process used, the following basic steps are involved in a
general lime stabilization construction procedure: soil preparation, lime spreading, mixing and
watering, compaction, finishing, and curing. This generic procedure is followed regardless of
the reason lime stabilization is being used. The construction procedures are summarized in
Table 4-3, including commonly used methods for each procedural step, timing requirements,
and quality assurance issues.

28
Table 4-3 Summary of Soil-Lime Construction Procedures and Quality Assurance Issues.

Procedure Step Typical Methods Used Timing Requirements Quality Assurance

Soil Preparation Blading or Ripping and Final grade must -----


Scarifying account for fluffing.

Lime Spreading Dry Hydrated Lime; Dry ----- ASTM D 3155-73.


Quicklime; Hydrated Lime
Slurry; Quicklime Slurry

Pulverization One Stage Mixing: blade 24 to 72 hour moist Determine percent passing
and Mixing and/or rotary mixing. curing period and 1-inch and No. 4 sieves using
Two Stage Mixing: Disc rolling required after dry sieving. Check for
harrows and grader scarifiers preliminary mixing. agglomerated soil-lime mixture
for preliminary mixing; blade which can be easily broken down
and rotary mixing for final and pass the No. 4 sieve. Check
mixing or remixing. mixing efficiency - ratio of field
mixed strength to laboratory
mixed strength.

Water Application Blade Mixing: Added to soil ----- Nuclear density gage and oven
using water trucks. drying. Nuclear density gauge
Rotary Mixing: Water is must be periodically calibrated
sprayed into rotary mixing for the soil-lime mixture.
chamber.

Compaction and Sheepsfoot Òwalks outÓ ----- 95% AASHTO T-99; 98%
Finishing followed by multiple wheel AASHTO T-99; 95% AASHTO
rubber tire roller. Finish with T-180; Nuclear Density Gage;
a flat steel roller. Sand Cone; Balloon

Curing Moist Curing: Water 3 to 7 day Temperatures greater than 40


Asphalt Membrane Curing: curing period. to 50 F with moisture contents
0.10 to 0.25 gallons/SY cutback near optimum. Asphalt
asphalt - preferred method. membrane applied within one
day after final rolling.

29
Special Considerations

All engineered systems require proper design and proper construction procedures and
materials for reliable performance. Lime stabilization has been used in the United States for
over 50 years for mitigating various soil and aggregate problems. This long-term experience
has aided in developing standard procedures which are structured to minimize design and
construction problems. Some of the more important areas where careful design and field
construction of soil-lime mixtures should be emphasized are summarized in Table 4-4.

Table 4-4 Special Considerations For Lime Stabilization.


Topic Consideration

Field Variability Need to monitor all aspects of soil-lime construction to assure desired quality
of construction is secured and that an acceptable level of uniformity is achieved.

Weather Limitations Lime should not be applied to the soil unless the temperature is at least 40û F
in the shade and rising.

Lime should not be applied to soils that are frozen or contain frost.

Lime treated areas should be protected against the detrimental effects of


freezing if the air temperature falls below 35û F in the shade.

Amount of Lime Generalizations, design rules-of-thumb, and guesses as to the amount of lime
to be used should never be allowed.

The amount of lime is generally determined by conducting the traditional


design mixture procedures discussed earlier to determine the optimum
amount of lime for each soil to be encountered on the project.

Amount of Water Initial moisture content of the soil should be raised to 1 to 2 percent above
optimum because processing and curing of the soil-lime mixture will bring the
moisture content back to optimum.

If quicklime is used, the initial moisture content should be raised to 3


to 4 percent above optimum.

Compaction Fluffing can result in low densities and a grade that is too high.

Curing Asphalt emulsion is preferred over water.

Non-Reactive Soils Adequate field and laboratory testing of the site soils is essential if the lime
stabilization project is in an area having soils with high sulfate, iron oxide content
or high acidity.

Environmental Implications of Lime Stabilization

There are two major environmental implications associated with the use of lime for stabilizing
soils. The first is that the fine, light lime dust is easily blown about by wind. It can then be
inhaled by people and animals or can pollute nearby streams and property. Although
inhalation of small quantities of lime dust is not hazardous to personal health and safety, the
general public may perceive it to be. Airborne lime particles can be a serious concern on some
projects. The second is related to the personal health and safety of those working directly with
30
the lime and those in the immediate area of the construction operations. Hydrated lime, is not
dangerous to work with providing a few simple precautions are exercised. It is prudent to
prevent hydrated lime from coming into contact with workersÕ skin. Usually danger from
severe burns is remote, but prolonged contact of hydrated lime with perspiring workersÕ skin
where the skin is also chafed by tight clothing has produced bad burns. Some people with
particularly sensitive skin have developed forms of skin irritation through prolonged contact.
There is usually no urgency in removing hydrated lime from the skin, but it should be flushed
off with water as soon as is convenient. Quicklime, however, is considerably more dangerous
to use than hydrated lime. While both types of lime are strongly alkaline, quicklime is much
more caustic than hydrated lime. Quicklime can produce severe burns quickly when in
contact with moist skin. Quicklime should be washed off or at least brushed off immediately
after contact with the skin. Hot and humid weather conditions tend to heighten the caustic
effect of hydrated lime on a workerÕs skin. Generally, the workers most vulnerable to lime
burns who should rigorously practice the precautions listed above are those handling the
bagged lime on the roadway and those operating the bulk spreader trucks. Greater care
should be exercised in bagged lime applications than for bulk lime applications. Since the
greatest danger is to the eyes, all workers emptying bags of lime must be equipped with close
fitting goggles. If a worker in a bending position should drop an open bag of lime on the
ground, the impact can cause a dense cloud of lime dust to rise directly into the face of the
worker. If his eyes are not protected by goggles, loss of sight may result from lime burns in
the eyes.

Lime Safety Precautions

If the safety precautions presented in Table 4-5 are implemented, there is minimal possibility
of burns or skin irritation to the workers. Contractors should train workers on these lime
safety precautions.

Table 4-5 Lime Stabilization Safety Precautions.

Safety Precaution Discussion

Clothing Long-sleeved shirt, high-top laced boots, trouser legs tied over boots, hat,
gauntlet gloves, no binding clothing.

Protective Cream Protects exposed skin and can be removed with soap and water.

Eye Protection Close fitting goggles for workers emptying bags of lime.

Mouth/Nose Protection Light-weight particulate filter mask.

After Work Bathe or shower to remove protective cream and lime.

First Aid Most serious problems are burns of eyes and skin. Immediately flush eyes
with generous amounts of water. Wash skin burns thoroughly and apply a
standard burn ointment.

31
5.0 CEMENT STABILIZATION

Introduction

Portland cement stabilization is commonly referred to as soil cement. Soil cement is a mixture
of Portland cement, water and soil compacted to a high density. When cured, the soil cement
mixture becomes a hard, rigid base material. A flexible or rigid pavement surface is placed on
top of the soil cement to complete the pavement structure. Soil cement is sometimes referred
to as cement treated subgrade or cement stabilized base, and other similar terms, where the
different terms indicate ÒdegreesÓ of cement content and final compressive strengths.

Portland cement is one of the older materials used for stabilization. Cement stabilization
differs somewhat from other forms of chemical stabilization. The cement hardens the soil
material and structural strength is primarily obtained from the cementing action rather than
from internal friction, cohesion, chemical ion exchange and/or waterproofing of the materials.

Soil cement is used as a base course, a subbase course and a subgrade treatment for flexible
and rigid pavements. Other uses include slope protection for dams and embankments, liners
for channels and reservoirs, and mass soil cement placements for dikes and foundation
stabilization. Almost all types of soils can be used for cement stabilization except highly
organic soils and heavy clay soils. The four fundamental control factors for the design and
construction of soil cement are moisture content, curing procedure and duration, compaction,
and cement content. These factors are determined before construction by laboratory testing of
representative soil samples using ASTM and AASHTO standard testing procedures. Other
test methods developed for local climactic and soil conditions have proven satisfactory in
some cases.

Soil cement construction follows a prescribed procedure. The objective of the construction
procedure is to mix pulverized soil with the correct amount of Portland cement and enough
water to permit maximum compaction. The construction procedure entails spreading the
prescribed amount of Portland cement, mixing of the soil and cement with sufficient water to
bring the soil cement mixture to the optimum moisture content, compacting of the soil cement,
finishing the soil cement mixture to grade and curing.

Objectives

The objectives for cement stabilization of soils are, generally similar to the objectives discussed
for lime stabilization of soils. The first objective is to improve the engineering characteristics
of the subgrade soils, including reduction of the PI of the soil, strength increase, reducing
volume change characteristics (shrink/swell), and reducing permeabilities. This is attained
primarily through hydration of the cement added to the soil. In addition to the cementing
reaction, the surface chemistry of any clay particles is improved by the cation exchange
phenomenon. Cement stabilization is generally considered to be too expensive for workability
improvement alone.

32
The second objective is to increase the strength of the soil cement mixture over the long term.
This objective is attained through continued hydration of the cement with time. A minor
strength increase may be attributed to any pozzolanic materials used in the soil cement mixture.

Terminology

The use of cement stabilization is over 65 years old. The methods and materials are as proven
and well established. This section presents some of the terminology used in the cement
stabilization industry.

Soil cement is a mixture of pulverized soil material and measured amounts of Portland cement
and water, compacted to a high density. Soil cement is produced by blending, compacting,
and curing a mixture of soil/aggregate, Portland cement, possibly admixtures such as
pozzolans, and water to form a hardened material with specific engineering properties. The
soil/aggregate particles are bonded by cement paste, but unlike concrete, the individual
soil/aggregate particles are not completely coated with cement paste. Other terms such as
cement treated base, cement stabilized soil, and cement stabilized aggregate are sometimes used. Soil
cement does not include fluid or plastic soil cement, known as Controlled Low Strength
Materials, which have a mortar-like consistency at the time of mixing and placing, or roller
compacted concrete, which is a no-slump concrete compacted by a vibratory roller.

Cement content is the amount of Portland cement in a soil cement mixture expressed as a
percentage on a weight or volume basis. The cement content by weight, Cw, is based on the
oven dry weight of the soil. The required cement content by weight can be converted to the
equivalent cement content by bulk volume based on a 94 pound U.S. bag of cement, which
has a loose volume of approximately one cubic foot

Soil Materials. Since soil cement obtains its stability primarily by the hydration of cement
and not by cohesion and internal friction of the materials, practically all soil materials and
combinations of materials can be hardened with Portland cement. Some exceptions include
organic soils, highly plastic clays, and poorly reacting sandy soils. Tests such as ASTM D 4318
are available to identify these problem materials.

Granular soils are preferred for soil cement. Granular soils pulverize and mix more easily
than fine-grained soils and result in more economical soil cement mix because they require the
least amount of cement. Typically, soils containing between 5 and 35 percent fines passing a
No. 200 sieve produce the most economical soil cement mix. Some soils having higher fines
content have been successfully and economically stabilized with cement. Soils containing
more than 2 percent organic material are usually considered unacceptable for stabilization.
Types of soils typically used include silty sand, processed crushed or uncrushed sand and
gravel, and crushed stone. The aggregate gradation requirements are not as restrictive as for
conventional concrete. Normally, the maximum nominal size aggregate used in soil cement is
limited to 2 inches with at least 55 percent passing the No. 4 sieve.

33
Fine-grained soils generally require more cement for satisfactory hardening. Fine grained
clays are usually more difficult to pulverize for proper mixing. Nodules of clay and silt
intermixed with granular soil, do not break down during normal mixing operations if the PI is
greater than 8. These nodules, which tend to wash out of the soil structure, may be detrimental
to performance of the soil cement mixture. The presence of fines is not always detrimental,
and some nonplastic fines can be beneficial. In uniformly graded sands and gravels, nonplas-
tic fines, including fly ash, cement kiln dust, and aggregate screenings, serve to fill the voids
in the soil structure and help reduce the amount of cement required for the soil cement mix-
ture. The general suitability of soil materials for soil cement applications can be judged,
before the soil materials are tested, on the basis of the gradation of the soil and the position of
the stabilized soil in the pavement profile.

Gradation. Is the particle size distribution of soil materials. On the basis of gradation, soil
materials for soil cement can be divided into several broad groups, as presented in Table 5-1.

Table 5-1 Gradations of Soil Materials Used For Cement Stabilization

Soil Material General Example Materials Discussion


Description Gradation

Well graded sand 10 to 35 percent Glacial and water These materials are readily pulverized,
and gravel non-plastic fines. deposited sands and easily mixed, and constructed under a
55 percent P4 gravels; crusher run wide range of conditions.
limestone; caliche;
37 percent P10 limerock.

Coarsely graded 55 percent P4 Crushed stone and May require addition of non-plastic
gravel base course fines or a higher cement content. Mix
design must be based on a combination
of compressive strength and AASHTO
freeze-thaw and wet-dry tests.

Sandy materials Minimal P200 Beach, glacial, and Slightly higher cement content is
with low P200 windblown sands required. Construction equipment may
have difficulty in obtaining traction.
Require special procedures during final
compaction and finishing.

Silty and clayey High P200 Silts and clays High clay content soils are hard to
soils pulverize. Higher silt and clay contents
require higher cement contents.
Construction is weather dependent.

Old roadway Old gravel and Materials are friable, mix easily, and
materials stone roads require a minimum cement content.

Borrow Materials Optimal soil- Optimal soil- Used where in situ soils have a very
cement cement materials high clay content.
gradations

34
Soil Profile. A soil profile is a vertical cross section of the surface of the earth that exposes the
different soil horizons or layers. Each soil horizon is generally of a different gradation, plasticity,
texture, structure, color and depositional origin. Color indicates the chemical makeup of the
soil. In some instances, gradation of the soil is secondary to chemical makeup with respect to
the reaction of the soil with Portland cement. For instance, a red soil indicates the presence of
iron and generally reacts exceptionally well with Portland cement. Conversely, a black farm-
land soil may react rather poorly with cement because of the presence of organic material. In
some locations in the northern glaciated areas and in the eastern and southeastern coastal
plains, there are some sandy soils that require exceptionally high cement factors. Two
alternative corrective measures have been used: replacing or blanketing the poorly reacting
sand with a normally reacting soil; or adding a small percentage of calcium chloride, a friable
clayey soil, or a calcareous material such as limerock or limestone screenings to the sandy soil.
Sodium chloride, sea water, and other chemicals have also been effective.

Soils formed from similar parent material and under similar conditions of climate, topography,
drainage, and vegetation are similar and have similar soil profiles. These soils have been
identified according to soils series by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources
Conservation Service. Many areas have been surveyed and mapped according to this
classification system. The maps and accompanying reports are a valuable aid in soil survey
work. Studies have shown that soils of the same soil series and horizon and of similar
texture, wherever they are found, will require the same amount of cement.

Cement. For most soil cement applications, Type I or Type II Portland cement conforming to
ASTM C150 is used. Cement content requirements vary depending on the desired properties
of the soil cement mixture and the soil type. Generally, as the clay content of the soil increases,
the quantity of cement required increases.

Admixtures. Pozzolans such as fly ash have been used where the advantages of storing and
handling an extra material outweigh the disadvantages, such as when a locally available source
of fly ash is available. Pozzolans used as a cementing agent should conform to ASTM C 618.
The quantity of cement and pozzolanic materials should be determined through a laboratory
testing program which uses the specific cement type, pozzolanic material, and soil materials.

For highly plastic clay soils, hydrated lime or quicklime may be used as a pretreatment
admixture to reduce the plasticity of the soil and to make the soil more friable and easier to
pulverize prior to mixing the soil with cement. This is essentially a lime modification process.
Chemical admixtures are rarely used in soil cement applications.

Water. Water is necessary in soil cement to help obtain maximum compaction and for
hydration of the Portland cement. Moisture contents of soil cement usually range from 10 to
13 percent by weight of the oven dry soil cement. Water should be potable water or other
relatively clean water, free from harmful amounts of alkalis, acids, or organic matter. Seawater
has been used satisfactorily. The presence of chlorides in seawater may increase early
strengths of soil cement.

Cement Modified Soil. A cement modified soil is analogous to a lime modified soil. A cement

35
modified soil is a soil material that has been treated with a relatively small proportion of
cement as compared to the amount of cement required to produce hardened soil cement. The
objective of the cement treatment in a cement modified soil is to amend undesirable properties
of problem soils or other substandard soil materials so that they are suitable for use in
construction. With the small quantities of cement generally used in cement modified soils,
the cement modified soil becomes caked or slightly hardened. The plasticity characteristics, as
measured by the PI of the soil, are reduced. A reduction in the amount of silt and clay size
particles is noted; in essence, the gradation of the soil changes. The cement modified soil
continues to function as a soil, although an improved one. Cement modification increases CBR
and shear strength of a soil and decreases its volume-change properties. The degree of
improvement depends on the quantity of cement used and the type of soil. By varying the
amounts of cement used, it is possible to produce cement modified soils with a wide range of
engineering properties.

Cement modified soils are usually classified into two groups according to the predominant
grain size, as presented in Table 5-2.

Table 5-2 Classification of Cement Modified Soils.

Cement Modified Soil Classification Description

Cement modified silty-clay Greater than 35 percent P200

Cement modified granular soil Less than 35 percent P200

36
Mechanism of Cement Stabilization

The improvement of the engineering properties of soil cement is often attributed solely to the
hydration of the Portland cement added to the soil material to be stabilized. This concept
assumes that the soil is inert, similar to an aggregate in Portland cement concrete. In reality,
the soil is not inert and certain physico-chemical reactions take place between the cement,
water, and soil. The four mechanisms contributing to the cement stabilization of soil materials
are summarized in Table 5-3.

Table 5-3 Mechanisms Contributing To Cement Stabilization of Soil Materials.

Cement Stabilization Description Importance


Mechanism

Hydration of Cement Strong linkages develop between the soil particles. Highest

Continuous skeleton of hard, strong material forms


and encloses a matrix of unaltered soil,
strengthening the treated material and filling some
of the voids.

Permeability and shrink/swell tendencies reduced,


Resistance to changes in moisture content increased.

Cation Exchange Cation exchange alters electric charge, reducing High


plasticity and resulting in flocculation and
aggregation of soil particles.

Carbonation Lime generated during hydration of cement reacts Minor


with carbon dioxide in air to form cementing agents.

Pozzolanic Reactions Free lime liberated during hydration and from silica Minor
or alumina from clay particles react in the presence
of moisture to form cementing agents.

37
Engineering Properties and Characteristics of Soil-Cement Mixtures: Laboratory Results

General

During construction, soil cement is compacted to a high density. As the cement hydrates, the
soil cement mixture hardens in this dense state and becomes a slab-like structural material.
Soil cement can bridge over small, local weak subgrade areas and does not consolidate under
traffic. If the appropriate freeze-thaw and wet-dry soil cement design criteria have been
satisfied, the soil cement will not rut or shove during spring thaws and will be minimally
affected by water or, freezing and thawing.

Since soil cement is a structural material, it possess engineering properties and characteristics
such as maximum dry density, optimum moisture content, shrink/swell, unconfined
compressive strength, CBR, and freeze-thaw resistance. The magnitude of these properties
and characteristics is dependent on several primary factors, including: type and proportion
of soil, cement, and water, the degree of compaction, the uniformity of mixing, the curing
conditions, and age of the compacted mixture. Because of these factors, a wide range of
values for specific engineering properties and characteristics may exist. The reader needs
to recognize and consider these inherent variations in soil-cement mixtures.

Unconfined compressive strength is the most widely referenced engineering property of soil
cement. Unconfined compressive strength is typically measured using ASTM D 1633. The
unconfined compressive strength is an indicator of the degree of reaction of the soil-cement-
water mixture and of the rate of hardening. The unconfined compressive strength serves as a
criterion for determining the minimum cement content requirements for proportioning soil
cement mixtures. Factors which can affect the unconfined compressive strength of soil-cement
mixtures include moisture density, cement content, soil type and gradation, curing conditions
and duration, compaction and compactive effort, length of mixing, degree of pulverization,
cement type, repeated loads, and shrinkage.

Typical ranges of 7- and 28-day unconfined compressive strengths for soaked soil-cement
mixture specimens are presented in Table 5-4. Soaking specimens prior to testing is recom-
mended since most soil cement mixtures may become permanently or intermittently saturated
during the service life of the soil cement, and since soil cement mixtures exhibit a lower un-
confined compressive strengths under saturated conditions. The data in Table 5-4 are grouped
under broad textural soil groups; these textural groups include the range of soil types normally
used in soil cement construction. The range of values presented in Table 5-4 are representative
of the majority of soils normally used in the United States for soil-cement construction.

Table 5-4 Ranges of unconfined compressive strengths of soil-cement


(after ACI 230.1R-90).

Soil Type 7-Day Soaked 28-Day Soaked


Compressive Strength, psi Compressive Strength, psi

Sandy and gravelly soils 300-600 400-1000

Silty soils 250-500 300-900

Clayey soils 200-400 250-600

38
Figures 5-1 and 5-2 present typical relationships for two important engineering properties of soil-
cement mixtures. These figures report on results from laboratory work. Variation in engineering
properties is higher in the field than under carefully controlled laboratory conditions.

An additional variation with construction time may also be introduced. The variations in
engineering properties and characteristics are a result of variations introduced by the
environment, changes in the mixture components, and/or variation of the construction technique,
among others. The following discussion of soil-cement mixture designs will summarize the
mixture design methods which determine an optimum cement percentage to be added to the soil.
This percentage is customarily increased to compensate for the expected variations.

20
Plasticity index

15
A-7-6(14) clay

10

0
1 3 5 7 9
Cement content, percent

Figure 5-1 Plasticity vs. cement content for an A-7-6(14) clay (after PCA, 1995).

Figure 5-2 Unconfined compressive strength vs. cement content (after PCA, 1995).
39
Soil Cement Mixture Design Procedures

General. There is essentially one general soil cement mixture design procedure used to
proportion the soil cement mixture, that being the method developed by the Portland Cement
Association (PCA). However, several agencies such as the United States Army Corps of
Engineers (USACE) and the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), and local entities,
have developed specific soil-cement mixture design criteria to apply to the results of the general
soil cement mixture design procedure. These criteria state maximum allowable weight losses
after freeze-thaw testing and minimum unconfined compressive strengths for soil cement
mixtures. This section will discuss the PCA method, in general, and the specific ASTM testing
procedures used to determine the engineering properties of the soil cement mixtures for
different cement percentages added to the soil. The soil cement mixture design criteria are
then discussed.

The composition of the soil materials used for soil cement applications varies considerably.
This affects the degree to which the soil materials react when combined with Portland cement
and water. The way the soil materials react with the cement is determined by laboratory tests
made on mixtures of cement with the soil materials. The amount of laboratory testing
required to determine the amount of cement to use depends on many factors, including the
constructing agency policy, the number of soil types encountered, and the size of the project.
Figure 5-3 presents a flow chart describing the soil-cement laboratory testing methods. These
factors are summarized in Table 5-5. The three fundamental requirements for soil cement and
the detailed test methods used to determine these three control factors are summarized in
Table 5-6.

Figure 5-3 Flow chart for soil-cement laboratory testing methods (after PCA, 1995).

40
Table 5-5 Summary of Laboratory Testing Required for Various Project Types.

Project Type PCA Method or Method Variation Discussion

Major Projects PCA Method using a complete series Assumes sufficient geotechnical
of detailed tests; or PCA Method based and materials laboratories are
on soils series; or for sandy soils, PCA available locally.
Short-Cut Test Method.

Small Projects PCA Rapid Test Method or PCA Geotechnical and materials
Method based on soils series. laboratories are limited.

Emergency PCA Rapid Test Method or PCA Detailed testing is not feasible or
Construction Method based on soils series. practical; geotechnical and materials
laboratories not available.

Local Special series of test methods and


Conditions criteria based on local experience.

Table 5-6 Fundamental Requirements and Detailed Test Methods for Soil-Cement.

Test Requirements Methods

1. How much Portland cement is needed Methods of Test for Moisture-Density


to adequately harden the soil? Relations of Soil-Cement Mixtures, ASTM
Designation: D 558; ASSHTO Designation:
T-134.

2. How much water should be added to Methods of Wetting and Drying Test of
the cement and soil materials mixture? Compacted Soil-Cement Mixtures , ASTM
Designation: D 559; AASHTO Designation:
T-135.

3. To what density must the soil cement Methods of Freezing and Thawing Test
be compacted? of Compacted Soil-Cement Mixtures, ASTM
Designation: D 560; AASHTO Designation:
T-136.

The complete series of detailed tests are very effective for soil cement mixture design.
However, they take considerable time to obtain the control factors required for construction.
For this reason, the special short-cut procedure was developed for determining cement factors
for sandy soils.

41
The PCA soil cement mixture design procedure using a complete series of detailed tests is
summarized in Table 5-7 with details in Table 5-8. The requirements for the simpler variations
of the PCA method are summarized in Table 5-9.

Table 5-7 Summary of PCA mixture design procedure:


Complete Series of Detailed Tests.

Procedural Step AASHTO Standard Method ASTM Standard Method

Choose initial Based on M 145-49. Estimated initial Based on USCS. Estimated initial cement
cement content. cement contents are listed in Table 5-8. contents are listed in Table 5-8.

Perform moisture- T-134 D 558


density tests

Verify the initial Table 5-8. Other references available Table 5-8
cement content for B and C horizons.

Mold and test wet-dry Wet-dry: T-135 Wet-dry: D 559


and freeze-thaw
specimens Freeze-thaw: T-136 Freeze-thaw: D 560

Table 5-8 Typical cement requirements for various soil groups (after ACI 230.1R-90).
AASHTO soil ASTM soil Typical range of Typical cement Typical cement
classification classification cement, percent content for contents for
by weight moisture-density durability tests,
test, percent by percent by
weight weight

A-1-a GW, GP, GM, 3-5 5 3-5-7


SW, SP, SM

A-1-b GM, GP, SM, SP 5-8 6 4-6-8

A-2 GM, GC, SM, SC 5-9 7 5-7-9

A-3 SP 7-11 9 7-9-11

A-4 CL, ML 7-12 10 8-10-12

A-5 ML, MH, CH 8-13 10 8-10-12

A-6 CL, CH 9-15 12 10-12-14

A-7 MH, CH 10-16 13 11-13-15

42
Table 5-9 Summary of Requirements for Simpler Variations of the PCA Method.

PCA Method Variation Basic Tests Required Discussion

Short-Cut Procedure for Grain-size analysis; moisture-density; Provides a safe cement factor as
Sandy Soils 7-day unconfined compression to the minimum cement factor.

Rapid Test Method Moisture-density; "pick" and Provides a safe cement factor.
"click" tests

Tests on Soil Identified Grain size analysis; physical- Need for conducting testing can be
by Soils Series test-constants; soils series sharply reduced or eliminated for
large areas.

Soil Cement Mixture Design Criteria

Various soil cement mixture design criteria are used by different organizations to determine
acceptable soil cement mix proportions. The PCA soil cement mixture design criteria for
durability are summarized in Table 5-10. Cement contents sufficient to prevent weight losses
greater than the values in Table 5-10 after 12 cycles of wetting-drying-brushing or freezing-
thawing-brushing are considered adequate to produce a durable soil cement mixture.

Table 5-10 PCA Criteria for Soil-Cement as Indicated by Durability Tests.

AASHTO USCS Maximum allowable


soil soil weight loss,
classification classification percent

A-1-a GW, GP, GM, SW, SP, SM 14

A-1-b GM, GP, SM, SP 14

A-2 GM, GC, SM, SC 14*

A-3 SP 14

A-4 CL, ML 10

A-5 ML, MH, CH 10

A-6 CL, CH 7

A-7 OH, MH, CH 7

*10 percent is the maximum allowable weight loss for A-2-6 and A-2-7 soils.
Additional criteria:
1. Maximum volume changes during durability test should be less than 2 percent of the initial volume.
2. Maximum water content during the test should be less than the quantity required to saturate the sample at the
time of molding.
3. Compressive strength should increase with age of specimen.

43
USACE follows Technical Manual TM 5-822-4, ÒSoil Stabilization for Pavement" (1983). The
durability and strength requirements for cement stabilization are presented in Table 5-11 and
Table 5-12, respectively. USACE requires that both criteria be met before a cement stabilized
layer can be used to reduce the required surface thickness in the design of a pavement system.
USACE frequently increases the cement content by 1 or 2 percent to account for field
variations.

Table 5-11 USACE Durability Requirements.


Type of soil stabilized Maximum allowable weight loss after 12 wet-dry
(as determined by MIL-STD-619B or freeze-thaw cycles,
and MIL-STD-621A, USACE) percent of initial specimen weight

Granular, PI < 10 11

Granular, PI > 10 8

Silt 8

Clays 6

Table 5-12 USACE Minimum Unconfined Compressive Strength Criteria.


Stabilized soil layer Minimum unconfined compressive strength
at 7 days, psi

Base course 750

Subbase course, select material, or subgrade 250

The USBR typically uses soil cement as slope protection on dams. Although this is not a
pavement system application, the dam face is exposed to similar environmental conditions.
The USBR design criteria for soil cement allow maximum losses during the freeze-thaw
and wet-dry durability tests of 8 and 6 percent, respectively. These criteria were developed
specifically for soil cement slope protection using soil cement derived from silty sands. In
addition, the USBR requires a minimum unconfined compressive strength of 600 psi at 7
days and 875 psi at 28 days. To allow for variations in the field, the USBR has a standard
practice of adding 2 percentage points to the minimum cement content that meets all of the
design criteria.

44
Thickness Design of Cement Treated Subgrades

The structural capacity of cement treated subgrades is largely dependent upon the hydration
of the Portland cement and density of the treated soil. Since the strength gain is time
dependent and because compaction of thin lifts of treated soil overlying soft soil is difficult
to impossible, the structural capacity of cement treated layers is frequently ignored. If it is to
be considered, the designer should specify minimum curing periods before opening to
construction traffic and the placement of base and pavement layers. Construction equipment
and procedures used for the those layers should also be closely controlled to prevent the
cement treated layer from being irreversibly damaged.

If the structural capacity of cement treated subgrades is to be considered in the design of


overlying temporary construction road or the final pavement section, the methods presented
in TTN:BR5 for subgrade improvement design and TTN:BR96 for flexible pavement design
can be used.

For the subbase design, the structural capacity of the treated subgrade can be accounted for
using the layer approach. The layer coefficient is a function of the compressive strength.
The compressive strength is best determined by laboratory testing. Alternatively it may be
estimated based on soil type and cement content from Table 5-4 or Figure 5-2. Table 5-13 lists
layer coefficients based on compressive strength ranges that are used by several state highway
agencies. The equivalent thickness of subbase gravel is estimated using the ratio of layer
coefficients. That thickness is subtracted from the subbase thickness determined using the
TTN:BR5 procedure for an untreated subgrade to arrive at the reduced subbase thickness
requirement.

(d3)sb = (d3)br5 - [(a4)ct/ (a3)] (d4)ct Equation 5.1

Since the combined thickness of the cement treated layer and granular subbase is required to
support construction traffic, placement of the granular material must be done with great care
and only after the specified curing period. Also, since the TTN:BR5 procedure anticipates
significant surface rutting, it may be prudent to thicken the granular material somewhat.

45
Table 5-13 Examples of AASHTO Layer Coefficients Used by Various State DOTs.
State Layer Compressive strength requirement
coefficient ai

Alabama 0.23 650 psi minimum


0.20 400-650 psi
0.15 Less than 400 psi

Arizona 0.28 For cement-treated base with minimum 800 psi (plant mixed)
0.23 For cement-treated subgrade with 800 psi minimum (mixed-in-place).

Delaware 0.20

Florida 0.20 500 psi (plant mixed)


0.15 300 psi (mixed-in-place)

Georgia 0.20 350 psi

Louisiana 0.23 Shell and sand with 650 psi minimum


0.18 400 psi minimum
0.15 200 psi minimum

Montana 0.20 400 psi

New Mexico 0.23 650 psi minimum


0.17 400-650 psi minimum
0.12 Less than 400 psi

Pennsylvania 0.30 650 psi (plant mixed)


0.20 650 psi (mixed-in-place)

Wisconsin 0.23 650 psi minimum


0.20 400-650 psi minimum
0.15 Less than 400 psi

Thickness Design of Soil Cement Base Courses

Soil cement base courses placed on competent subgrades or subbases can be designed with
AASHTO or other flexible pavement design methods. Typical layer coefficients are given in
Table 5-13.

Construction of Soil Cement Mixtures

The objective of soil cement construction is to obtain a thoroughly mixed, adequately compacted,
and cured material. Construction methods follow a definite procedure consisting of initial
preparation of the subgrade materials, processing of the soil cement mixture, compaction of the
soil cement mixture, finishing the soil cement mixture layer, and curing. Unlike the lime
stabilization construction procedure, most soil cement is constructed from materials that require
little or no preliminary pulverizing. If pulverization is required, it is usually done the day before
the actual processing. Soil cement processing operations are continuous and must be complet-
ed the same working day. The construction steps are summarized in Table 5-14, including
commonly used methods for each procedural step, timing required, and quality assurance
requirements for each step of the soil-cement construction procedure.
46
Table 5-14 Summary of In-Place Mixing of Soil-Cement
Construction Procedures and Quality Assurance Issues.

Procedural Step Typical Methods Used Timing Quality


Requirements Assurance

Soil Preparation Traditional subgrade preparation methods. ASTM D 558


Moisture content is important. or D 1557.

Cement Bulk distribution using a mechanical spreader. Weigh cement


Application Hand-placement of bags for smaller projects. falling on 1 SY
of surface.

Pulverization Transverse single-shaft mixers for clays. Windrow-


and Mixing type pugmill mixers for low plasticity granular soils.
Agricultural-type equipment can result in poor
mixing. Mixing of cement and soil is a dry process.

Water Water added to dry soil-cement mixture through


Application spray nozzles in mixing equipment.

Placing and Strikeoff attached to the mixing equipment


Spreading spreads soil-cement. Layer thickness is 25 to 50
percent thicker than desired layer thickness.

Compaction Sheepsfoot followed by multiple-wheeled roller Completed ASTM D 558


for clays. Vibratory steel-wheel or heavy rubber- within 2 or D 1557.
tired rollers for granular soils. 6 to 9-inch lifts. hours of
95 to 98 percent maximum density. initial mixing.

Finishing Scarification followed by final surface compaction


using steel-wheeled or heavy rubber-tired roller.

Curing and Water sprinkling or bituminous coating at a rate 3 to 7 day


Protection of 0.15 to 0.30 gal/SY. Equipment is prohibited curing period.
during the curing phase.

47
6.0 Fly Ash Stabilization

Introduction

Fly ash is a pozzolan. Fly ash has been successfully used with granular and fine-grained
materials to improve soil characteristics, providing adequate support for pavements and
improving working conditions where undesirable soils are encountered. Stabilization of soils
with fly ash alone has been limited in the U.S. Fly ash and other ash, such as bottom ash and
boiler slag, have been widely used in applications with cement, lime, and/or bituminous
materials. Lime-fly ash uses are the same as those discussed for lime stabilization and cement
stabilization.

The quality and reactivity of fly ashes varies with source. Fly ashes from bituminous coals
found in the Appalachian region do not behave as true pozzolans, with little or no cementing
property except when a source of lime is added. Fly ashes produced from burning coal from
the mid-continent have natural setting properties because of the lime naturally available in
these ashes. Fly ashes produced from the subbituminous and lignite coals from the northern
and western plains states have a high natural lime content and may be highly cementitious,
even without addition of lime. However, it should be noted that the use of these fly ashes have
caused pavement distress when mixed with high sulfate soils due to increased swelling.

The factors that most readily influence the quality and reactivity of fly ashes are, the source of
coal, the degree of pulverization of the coal, the efficiency of the burning operation, and the
collection and storage methods of the ash. ASTM classifies fly ashes as either Type C or Type
F (ASTM Designation C 618). The basic difference is the percent lime in the ash.

A successful lime- or lime-cement-fly ash (LCF) base or subbase is reflected in the magnitude
of deflections in the final product, the unconfined compressive strength, shear strength, and
bearing strength. Durability is often measured in terms of weight loss, strength reduction,
absorption, or softening. Construction procedures are similar to those discussed for lime
stabilization and cement stabilization.

Lime-Fly Ash Stabilization

Reaction Mechanism. Despite the fact that some ashes possess high lime contents, the lime
content reported for the ash is not all ÒavailableÓ lime. The majority of this lime is chemically
combined with other compounds such as silica or alumina. As such, this lime is not free to
react with the soil as lime would. Fly ashes with high lime contents and acceptable high
pozzolan contents exhibit strong pozzolanic reactions. In fact, the reaction often occurs very
rapidly. This fact, coupled with the fact that the lime is already fused or combined with the
pozzolan is the reason all the lime in the fly ash may not be available for the soil-lime cation
exchange and pozzolanic reactions which result in soil property changes. Even if the fly ash
is reactive (Type C), the addition of lime will usually enhance strength gain. Fly ash is typical-
ly added to lime stabilization projects at locations where soils are non-reactive, provided
increased swelling does not occur.

48
The factors that influence the extent and rate of the reaction of the lime and fly ash include
quantity of free lime added, amount of silica and alumina in the fly ash, presence of carbon
and deleterious compounds in the ash, fineness of the ash, presence of adequate moisture for
reaction, compacted density of the pavement layer, and temperature and age of the pavement
layer. Procedures for evaluating the suitability of the fly ash for use in lime-fly ash mixtures
are given in ASTM C 593.

Suitable Soils and Aggregates, Mixture Design Procedure, and Mixture Design Criteria. Most granular
soil can be suitably stabilized with lime-fly ash. The general mixture design procedure for lime-fly
ash stabilization is to add the amount of fly ash which will fill the voids of the mixture and
provide the maximum density mixture. The next step is to add sufficient hydrated lime to
maximize the pozzolanic reaction between the lime and the fly ash pozzolans.

ASTM C-593 provides two mixture design criteria for judging the acceptability of lime-fly ash
mixtures. The mixture must have a minimum unconfined compressive strength of 400 psi
following vacuum saturation or a maximum of 14 percent weight loss following 12 cycles of
freeze-thaw. Either criterion may be used to evaluate the acceptability of the mixture.

For more plastic clays, the approach may be to add sufficient lime initially to the soil to reduce
plasticity and improve workability and then to add sufficient fly ash to the modified mixture
to support the pozzolanic strength gain. This is a rational approach when a plastic clay is to
be stabilized and lime alone will not provide the necessary pozzolanic strength gain.

Engineering Properties. The engineering properties of lime-fly ash mixtures vary considerably.
The unconfined compressive strengths can be substantially higher than those of plastic clays
stabilized with lime only. The strength depends on those factors listed previously which
influence the degree and rate of the lime-fly ash reactions. In addition to these factors is the
effect of the gradation and nature of the soil or aggregate being stabilized. Figure 6-1 presents
the factors influencing the quality of a lime-fly ash-soil mixture.

etc.

Figure 6-1 Factors influencing the quality of a lime-fly ash-soil mixture. (After, ARBA, 1976)
49
Construction. Mix-in-place techniques are generally more economical than a central mixing
plant, but the quality of the lime-fly ash mixture is better when a pug mill is used because of
control factors. Ash or lime-fly ash stabilized soils should be sealed with a wearing course
such as a hot-mix application or a chip-and-seal coating.

Lime-Cement-Fly Ash Stabilization

General. Stabilization of coarse-grained soils having little or no fines can often be accom-
plished using a LCF combination. As discussed for lime-fly ash mixtures; fly ash, lime, and
water form a cemented mass with high unconfined compressive strength. Lime and fly ash
can often be used successfully in stabilizing granular materials having few fines since the fly
ash provides an agent with which lime can react. In addition to lime and fly ash, a small
amount of Portland cement is also added to accelerate and increase strength gain.

Suitable Materials. Types of materials suitable for the LCF stabilization are coarse-grained soils
having no more than 12 percent of the material passing the No. 200 sieve. In addition, the PI
of the minus 40 fraction should not exceed 25.

LCF Content. ASTM C 593 should be used for determining the mix proportions of the LCF
except, that in addition to lime and fly ash as indicated in the procedure, about 1 percent
Portland cement should also be added for strength. Minimum unconfined compressive
strengths are the same as in Table 5-12. If test specimens do not meet strength requirements,
cement is added in increments of 0.5 percent until strengths are adequate. The total quantity
of additives should not exceed 15 percent by weight. In frost areas, the LCF mixture should
meet the weight loss criteria specified for cement-stabilized soils. ASTM D 560 should be
followed except that the specimens should be compacted in a 6-inch diameter mold in five
layers with a 10-pound hammer having an 18-inch drop.

50
7.0 Subgrade Removal and Replacement

Introduction

A common approach taken where soft subgrade soils are encountered is to remove and
replace the in situ soils with stronger, usually granular, materials. This method can be practical
and economical where soft deposits are shallow and are located above groundwater levels.
Where deposits are deep, water tables are high, surfaces are too soft to support conventional
excavation equipment, or fill or disposal are expensive, complete removal can be impractical.
Partial removal and replacement may be feasible and can allow for the addition of a subbase
layer to the standard pavement structure. The subbase serves to distribute construction loads
to the remaining soft subgrade soil. The subbase may also serve as part of the final pavement
structure. Complete excavation and replacement typically reduces but does not eliminate
embankment settlement because of compression of the replacement material under its own
weight. Well compacted fills compress between 2-6 percent of their initial thickness under
their own weight. use of cohesive soils as replacement soils should be avoided in favor of
well-graded sand-gravel mixtures to reduce this settlement.

Thickness Design

Where soft soils can be completely removed and replaced, the fill is placed on competent
subgrade material, compacted to specified density, and conventional flexible design methods
are used. Where soft soils are not completely removed, the initial lifts of replacement fill
may have to be designed for construction traffic using the Boussinesq pressure distribution
procedure. This procedure is reviewed in Chapter 3. Equation 3.2, and is used to estimate
the ultimate bearing capacity of the soft subgrade.

qu = 3.1cu (Equation 3.2)

Equation 3.1 is then rewritten to calculate the minimum thickness of subbase based on the
wheel load, tire pressure, and ultimate bearing capacity.
r
zu = Equation 7.1
[(1 / (1 - qu/p)2/3) -1]1/2

The final pavement design can be completed using the AASHTO layer procedure. The
subbase is accounted for as a separate layer in the pavement structure. Example designs are
presented in Chapter 9.

51
8.0 Geogrid Reinforced Subbase over Unstable Subgrade

Tensar biaxial geogrids can be used to reinforce subbase and aggregate base courses. Their use
can result in thinner layers, faster construction, better compaction and increased capacity of
the initial subbase or the final pavement.

Thickness Design

For subbases constructed on soft subgrades, the geogrid stiffens the subbase, thereby enabling
the layer to distribute the construction traffic wheel and track loads over a larger area of the
subgrade. At the same time, the geogrid prevents local shear failure in the subgrade soil. As
is explained in TTN:BR5, the net effect of the geogrid is to change the mode of shear failure
in the subgrade from a local bearing failure to general bearing failure, where the local bearing
capacity is given by Eq. 3.2 as:

qu = 3.1cu (Equation 3.2)

and the general bearing capacity is taken as

qr = 6.2cu Equation 8.1

The Boussinesq Equation, (Eq. 3.1), is then rewritten to calculate the minimum subbase
thickness based on the wheel load, tire pressure, and reinforced ultimate bearing capacity.

zr = r Equation 8.2
[(1 / (1 - qr/p)2/3) -1]1/2

As for the conventional, unreinforced case, the final pavement design can be completed using
the AASHTO layer procedure. The reinforced subbase is accounted for as a separate layer in
the pavement structure. Example designs are presented in Chapter 9.

Comparison of zr and zu for similar wheel loads and tire pressures show that subbase
thicknesses can be reduced by 30% to 50% by using geogrid reinforcement. The example in
Chapter 9 shows a 35% improvement. The Figures 2 through 7 in TTN:BR5 give comparisons
for six types of construction vehicles for a range of subgrade CBR values. Economic savings
in imported granular subbase fill and subgrade undercut and disposal can be very significant.
The relative ease of construction over the ÒsnowshoeÓ provided by the stiff grid can greatly
speed construction of a subbase or working platform.

52
For base course reinforcement, the biaxial geogrids is placed under or within the aggregate
base layer. Here the function of the reinforcement is to confine the particles of aggregate
and prevent their movement laterally under cyclic traffic loads. The individually small
movements of aggregate away from the wheel path in a non-geogrid reinforced base course
can accumulate and result in surface rutting and cracking of the asphalt. As discussed in
TTN:BR96, the addition of TENSAR BR1, (BX1100), delays such rutting by a factor of two
to three. TENSAR BR2, (BX1200), can delay it by factors of four to ten. The benefit of the
improved performance are increased pavement life with lower maintenance and rehabilitation
costs, or reduced base course or asphalt thickness and initial construction cost. Examples are
presented in TTN:BR96. It should be noted that base course reinforcement is not related or
limited to roads over soft soils. It has been found to be effective where used over strong
subgrades having CBR values of 8 and more.

53
9.0 Example Designs and Cost Estimates

Design Examples

The following examples illustrate the application of the design procedures introduced in the
preceding chapters. They are intended to demonstrate how a granular subbase can be
designed for a soft subgrade condition in order for it to carry construction traffic prior to
placement of the base and asphalt pavement. They further show how the strength of a
TENSAR geogrid reinforced subbase or a chemically treated subgrade soil can be combined
with the strengths of the base and pavement layers in the final pavement structure. The
sections are designed to be structurally equivalent. The Structural Number, SN, used in the
examples would have been determined using an AASHTO or similar flexible pavement design
procedure (which is not be included here).

Problem:
Design flexible pavement structures having a required SN of 4.50.
Evaluate four design options:
A. Granular subbase and base course on untreated subgrade,
L. Granular subbase and base course on 6Ó Lime Treated subgrade,
C. Granular subbase and base course on 6Ó Cement Treated subgrade,
T. Geogrid reinforced granular subbase and base course on untreated subgrade.

Given Conditions:
Subgrade soil: Beaumont Clay, (see Fig 4-5) CBR = 1.0%
Lime treatment (from lab tests) = 8 % (by wt. of lime)
Cement treatment (lab tests) = 12 % (by wt. of cement)
Layer Coefficients: Asphalt a1 = 0.44
Dense graded aggregate base a2 = 0.14
Granular subbase a3 = 0.12
Cement Treated Subgrade a4 = f (7 day UU)
Lime Treated Subgrade a4 = f (7 day UU)
Construction Trucks: 18 kip dual tire tandem axle P = 9000 #
Tire inflation pressure p = 80 psi

54
Design A: Granular subbase and base course on untreated subgrade;

General Procedure: I. Design the subbase for construction traffic load, see TTN:BR5.
II. Design base and asphalt using subbase capacity, see TTN:BR96.

Step 1) Calculate the available bearing capacity of the subgrade, Eq. 3.2

qu = 3.1cu ~ 4 x CBR
where cu =

qu = 3.1 x (4 x 1) = 12.4 psi

Step 2) Calculate the apparent radius of tire contact area, Eq. 3.1

r = ( P / ¹ p)1/2

r = (9,000 / 80 ¹ ) 1/2 = 5.98 inches

Step 3) Calculate the depth of subbase required to reduce the pressure to


the strength of the subgrade using Boussinesq equation, Eq. 3.1,
rewritten to solve for depth
r
z3 =
[(1 / (1 - q/p)2/3) -1]1/2

z3 = 5.98
[(1 / (1 - 12.1/80)2/3) -1]1/2

z3 = 17.55Ó use 17.5 inches of subbase for construction

Step 4) Determine base and asphalt thickness to achieve SN = 4.5, Eq. 3.3

SN = a1d1 + a2d2m2 + a3d3m3

4.50 = 0.44d1 + 0.14d2 + (0.12)(17.5)

Try d1 = 2.5Ó and d2 = 10Ó

SN = (0.44)(2.5) + (0.14)(10) + 2.10 = 4.60 > 4.5 OK

DESIGN A: Use 2.5Ó asphalt over 10Ó graded aggregate base


over 17.5Ó granular subbase.
Note: In practice, the subbase would be rounded up to 18Ó but for
the comparisons here, thicknesses are rounded to 1/2Ó.

55
Design L: Granular subbase and base course on 6Ó Lime Treated subgrade;

General Procedure: I. Design granular subbase for construction traffic, see TTN:BR5.
II. Convert 6Ó lime treated layer to equivalent gravel thickness.
III. Calculate the reduced thickness of granular subgrade.
IV. Design base and asphalt using subbase capacity, see TTN:BR96.

Step 1) From Design A, (d3)br5 = 17.5Ó for a granular subbase on an


untreated subgrade;

Step 2) Assume that the properties of the treated clay subgrade is represented by
the material in Figure 4-6. The 7-day compressive strength is about 150
psi and the 28-day strength is about 250 psi.
The gravel factors from Eq. 4.1 are,

(Gf)7-day = 0.9 + (150/1000) = 1.05 and

(Gf)28-day = 0.9 + (250/1000) = 1.15

The gravel equivalent thicknesses are

(d4)lt 7-day = 1.05 x 6Ó = 6.30Ó and

(d4)lt 28-day = 1.15 x 6Ó = 6.90Ó

Step 3) The required granular subbase thickness is calculated using the 7-day or
less strength to avoid excessive delays waiting for curing.

(d3)sb = 17.5 - 6.3 = 11.2Ó Use 11.5Ó

Step 4) The final pavement section design can take advantage of the 20-day
strength gain of the lime treated layer.

4.50 = 0.44d1 + 0.14d2 + (0.12)(11.5) + (0.12)(6.9)

Try d1 = 2.5Ó and d2 = 9Ó

SN = (0.44)(2.5)+(0.14)(9) + 1.38 + 0.83

SN = 4.57 > 4.5 OK

DESIGN L: Use 2.5Ó asphalt over 9Ó graded aggregate base


over 11.5Ó granular subbase on 6Ó of 8% lime treated subgrade.

56
Design C: Granular subbase and base course on 6Ó Cement Treated subgrade,

General Procedure: I. Design granular subbase for construction traffic, see TTN:BR5.
II. Estimate the layer coefficient of the 6Ó cement treated layer.
III. Calculate the reduced thickness of granular subgrade.
IV. Design base and asphalt using subbase capacity, see TTN:BR96.

Step 1) From Design A, (d3) BR5 = 17.5Ó for a granular subbase on an


untreated subgrade .

Step 2) From Figure 5-2, for fine grained soils the 28 day strength , fc
ranges from 40 to 80 times the cement content. Using an average,

(fc) 28 day = 60 C = 60 x 12% = 720 psi

For a cement treated subgrade that will be subjected to construction


traffic, a 7 day or less strength may be more appropriate.
From Table 5-4, for a clayey soil it is estimated that

(fc) 7 day = 300 psi

From Table 5-13, several State DOTs would use a layer coefficient

(ai) ct = 0.15

Step 3) The 6Ó of cement treated subbase is equivalent to

(a4 / a3) (d4)ct = (0.15 / 0.12) (6Ó) = 7.5Ó of subbase

Step 4) From Eq. 5.1, the granular subbase thickness can be reduced to

(d3)sb = (d3)br5 - [(a4)ct / (a3)] (d4)ct

(di) sb = 17.5 - 7.5 = 10.0Ó

Step 4) The final pavement section design can take advantage of the strength gain
of the cement treated layer.

4.50 = 0.44d1 + 0.14d2 + (0.12)(10.0) + (0.15)(6.0)

Try d1 = 2.5Ó and d2 = 10Ó

SN = (0.44)(2.5)+(0.14)(10) + 1.20 + 0.90 = 4.60 > 4.5 OK

DESIGN C: Use 2.5Ó asphalt over 10Ó graded aggregate base over 10Ó
granular subbase on 6Ó of 12% cement treated subgrade.

57
Design T: Tensar reinforced granular subbase and base course on untreated subgrade.

General Procedure: I. Design granular subbase for construction traffic, see TTN:BR5.
II. Design equivalent Tensar reinforced subbase, see TTN:BR5.
III. Design base and asphalt using subbase capacity, see TTN:BR96.

Step 1) Use the procedure for DESIGN A to develop the unreinforced


section required:
From Design A, (d3)sb = 17.5Ó for a granular subbase on an untreated subgrade.

Step 2) Calculate the available bearing capacity of the subgrade for a


TENSAR BR1 (BX1100) reinforced subbase, Eq. 8.1.

qr = 6.2 cu where cu = 4 x CBR

qr = 6.2 x (4 x 1) = 24.8 psi

Step 3) Calculate the apparent radius of tire contact area, Eq. 3.1.

r = ( P / ¹ p)1/2

r = (9,000 /80 ¹) 1/2 = 5.98 inches

Step 4) Calculate the depth of TENSAR reinforced subbase required to reduce the
pressure to the strength of the subgrade using Boussinesq equation, Eq. 3.1.
r
z3 =
[(1 / (1 - qr/p)2/3) -1]1/2

z3 = 5.98
[(1 / (1 - 24.8 / 80) 2/3) -1]1/2
z3 = 11.3Ó use 11.5 inches subbase depth for construction

Step 5) Determine base and asphalt thickness to achieve SN = 4.5, Eq. 3.3

SN = a1d1 + a2d2 + a3d3

Because 11.5 inches of reinforced subbase is equivalent to 17.5 inches of


unreinforced subbase, 17. 5 is used with layer coefficient a3.

4.50 = 0.44d1 + 0.14d2 + (0.12)(17.5)

Try d1 = 2.5Ó and d2 = 10Ó

SN = (0.44)(2.5) + (0.14)(10) + 2.10 = 4.60 > 4.50 OK

DESIGN T: Use 2.5Ó asphalt over 10Ó graded aggregate base over
11.5Ó of TENSAR BR1 reinforced granular subbase.

58
Stabilization Economic Analyses

The in-place costs for lime and cement stabilization depend on the chemical content and their
local availability, treatment depth, soils types being treated, mixing and placement methods
and equipment, site location, site conditions, weather, environmental concerns, and cure time
requirements. The unit costs presented in Table 9-1 have been taken from various sources:
DOT bid tabs, designers and estimator's experience, R. S. Means, and dealer surveys. The
listed States are for DOTs, other public works agencies, estimating guides and large
developers. The R. S. Means data include smaller projects. The costs have been normalized to
dollars per square yard per inch to help account for the different treatment depths.

Table 9-1 Typical Chemical Stabilization Costs

State or Region Lime Treatment Cement Treatment Treatment


$/sq yd/in $/sq yd/in

California 0.25 .33 18Ó max. layer, 5% lime - ? cement


Florida 0.65 - 0.70 8Ó - 12Ó layers, 4% - 5% cement
Georgia 0.30 6Ó layer ??% lime
Illinois 0.20 - 0.23 12Ó layer, 5% +/- lime
North Carolina 0.48 8Ó layer, 2.5% lime
Texas 0.44 - 0.50 6Ó - 24Ó layers, 6% lime
Virginia 0.56 6Ó layer, 12% lime

National Average 0.80 6Ó layer, 2% lime


Contractor Costs 0.41 12Ó layer, 2% lime
1998 R.S. Means 0.93 6Ó layer, 6% lime
for Site Work and 0.74 12Ó layer, 6% lime
Landscaping 0.87 6Ó layer, 4% cement
0.56 12Ó layer, 4% cement
1.13 6Ó layer, 12% cement
0.83 12Ó layer, 12% cement

These costs do not necessarily include costs associated with such things as cure time, weather
effects, quality control testing and environmental protection.

59
Economic Analyses Examples

Problem:

Estimate the in-place costs for the four design options:


A. Granular subbase and base course on untreated subgrade,
L. Granular subbase and base course on 6Ó Lime Treated subgrade,
C. Granular subbase and base course on 6Ó Cement Treated subgrade,
T. Tensar reinforced granular subbase and base course on untreated subgrade.

Givens: Installed Unit Costs including material, labor and equipment as follows:

Asphalt Concrete $2.00 / sq yd / inch


Crushed Stone Graded Aggregate Base $0.85 / sq yd / inch
Granular Subbase $0.70 / sq yd / inch
Lime Treated Subgrade, 8%, 6Ó $0.45 / sq yd / inch
Cement Treated Subgrade, 12%, 6Ó $0.85 / sq yd / inch
TENSAR BR1 (BX1100) $1.50 / sq yd including overlaps

Table 9-2 Estimated Pavement Costs per Square Yard for Example Designs
Design Design A Design L Design C Design T

Pavement 2.5ÓAC / 10Ó GAB 2.5ÓAC / 9Ó GAB 2.5ÓAC / 10Ó GAB 2.5ÓAC / 10Ó GAB

Section 17.5Ó GSB 11.5Ó GSB/6Ó LTS 10Ó GSB/6Ó CTS 11.5Ó GSB / BR1

Asphalt $5.00 $5.00 $5.00 $5.00

GAB $8.50 $7.65 $8.50 $8.50

Subbase $12.25 $8.05 $7.00 $8.05

Lime T S $2.70

Cement T S $5.10

Tensar BR1 $1.50

Total Unit Cost $25.75 $23.40 $25.60 $23.05

$/12Õ Lane Mile


Cost / Lane Mile $181,280 $164,736 $180,224 $162,272

The above estimates do not include possible project costs of delays due to site access, weather,
cure time, quality control, or environmental protection. Such related costs could be important
and completely change the relative costs of these four structurally equivalent designs. The cost
of undercutting, or additional filling, required to achieve the final pavement surface grade can
also be a very important item. It is not included in these examples but should be included in
any evaluation of subgrade stabilization alternates.

60
10.0 Summary

This technical note has presented the reader with information regarding : (i) chemical
stabilization of subgrades for flexible pavement systems, in the form of lime stabilization and
cement stabilization; (ii) mechanical stabilization of subgrades and flexible pavement systems,
in the form of geogrid reinforcement; and (iii) the traditional method of subgrade removal and
replacement of soft subgrade materials. The information presented is summarized in the form
of a comparison of the stabilization methods with respect to applicability, design, construction,
economics, and performance in Tables 10-1 through 10-4.

Table 10-1 Applicability: Comparison of Subgrade Stabilization Options


Lime Stabilization Cement Stabilization Subgrade Removal Subgrade Improvement w/
and Replacement TENSAR Geogrid

Most effective on plastic, Granular soils are preferred; All soils not classified Applicable to all subgrade
clayey soils with PIs from however, all soils can be as hazardous or con- and subbase soil types.
10 to 50. Sandy soils used except organic soils, taminated.
require use of fly ash highly plastic clays, and
additive. poorly reacting sandy soils.

Potential for deterioration Potential for deterioration Requires a strong sub- Geotextile filter may be
by freeze-thaw cycling, by freeze-thaw cycling, grade to support con- required for use with non-
seasonal wetting, and seasonal wetting, and struction equipment; cohesive silt subgrades and
frost heave, as presented frost heave, may limit otherwise low ground high water table.
in Figures 4-8 may limit geographic use. pressure equipment is
geographic use. required - if operable.

Cement treated subgrades Presence of utilities in Applicable to soils w/ CBR


and subbases are subject to pavement corridor may less than 5. For CBR greater
tensile cracking. Cracking eliminate this option than 5, geogrid may be
results in pathways for based upon schedule used to reinforce the base
concentrated water flow or economics. course.
into the soil subgrade.

Low permeability pro- Low permeability prohibits Requires use of Has no effect on the
hibits drainage of base drainage of base course pervious materials permeability of subgrade
course materials, materials potentially that may lead to soils. Allows vertical
potentially creating a creating a bathtub effect in bathub effect moisture movement.
bathtub effect in the the pavement system.
pavement system.

Low permeability reduces Low permeability reduces Has no effect on perm-


the infiltration of water the infiltration of water into eability. Allows lateral
into the soils underlying the soils underlying the drainage.
the stabilized layer. stabilized layer.

Reduced shrink/swell Reduced shrink/swell Shrink / swell or freeze/ Stiffens base to bridge over
and freeze/thaw and freeze/thaw thaw susceptible seasonally soft soils.
susceptibility. susceptibility. subgrade soil is removed.

Increase shear strength, Increases shear strength, Replaces weak soil with Increases effective bearing
CBR, bearing capacity, CBR, bearing capacity, imported base course pressure of subgrade soil.
pavement layer coefficient. pavement layer coefficient. material. Increases layer coefficient.

61
Table 10-2 Design: Comparison of Subgrade Stabilization Options.
Lime Stabilization Cement Stabilization Subgrade Removal Subgrade Improvement w/
and Replacement TENSAR Geogrid

Laboratory testing Laboratory testing Traditional bearing capacity Traditional bearing capacity
required to determine required to determine analysis is used. analysis accounting for
design % lime required. design % cement required. geogrid effect on ultimate
bearing capacity.

1-2 % additional lime 1-2 % additional cement Estimate of subgrade soil Design relies on a highly
is added to the design is added to the design shear strength is required. uniform, factory manu-
lime content to account cement content to account Variability a function of factured product.
for field variability. for field variability. thoroughness of field
investigation, geologic
anomalies, etc.

Laboratory testing con- Laboratory testing consists Routine laboratory and Design properties are known
sists of simple tests, of simple tests, but the field testing. with high confidence.
but the total testing total testing time can be
time can be consid- considerable.
erable.

Short-cut and rapid test Failure is likely if loadings No field variability in


methods can minimize or subgrade shear strengths design properties of
testing costs and time; this are under estimated. reinforcement.
results in a more con-
servative cement content,
which increases costs.

Used to remove frost Filtration design must be


susceptible soils, resulting checked to determine need
in over-designed base for separation geotextile in
thicknesses that drain addition to geogrid
well provided subdrains reinforcement.
are used.

62
Table 10-3 Construction: Comparison of Subgrade Stabilization Options.
Lime Stabilization Cement Stabilization Subgrade Removal Subgrade Improvement w/
and Replacement TENSAR Geogrid

Uniform lime Uniform cement Product uniformity is factory


application rate application rate controlled.
required. required.

Uniform mixing Uniform mixing Construction disturbance Geogrid supports construction


required. required. may further weaken the equipment and reduces soil
subgrade soils. disturbance.

Uniform compaction Uniform compaction Soil strength may decrease Geogrid enables more uniform
required. required. with depth if high ground- compaction of lower lifts.
water is present.

Moisture content must Moisture content must Construction of upper


be controlled near be controlled near pavement layers can proceed
optimum. optimum. immediately.

Construction should be Construction, other than Additional time required Geogrid materials are locally
completed in 1 day pulverization, should be for overexcavation. available. Placement is fast,
operation. completed in 1 day even over very soft sub-
operation. grade soils.

Some soils require a Compaction should be Equipment is difficult or Geogrid materials provide
1-3 day mellow period completed with 2 hours impossible to operate on faster or easier compaction
followed by rolling and of initial mixing. soft soils. of base course material.
and remixing.

Experienced contractor Experienced contractor Experienced contractor is Experienced contractor is


required. required. not required. not required.

Equipment is difficult Equipment is difficult Equipment is difficult Snowshoe effect allows for
or impossible to oper- or impossible to oper- or impossible to oper- equipment operation on very
ate on soft soils. ate on soft soils. ate on soft soils. soft soils.

Specialized equipment Specialized equipment Low ground pressure Specialized equipment is


required. required. equipment may be required. not required.

Temperature must Temperature must exceed No temperature Geogrid may be placed at


exceed 40 degrees F. 40 degrees F. requirement. any temperature.

Significant inspection Significant inspection and Undercut inspection difficult Easy to inspect for coverage
and QC is required. QC is required. where water table is high. and overlaps.

3-7 day curing period 1-3 day curing period is No curing required. Construction equipment can
is required. required. be operated immediately
after placement for use as
haul roads, etc.

Curing practices and Curing practices and No curing required. No curing required.
materials, i.e., sealing, materials, i.e., sealing
required. required.

Construction pro- Construction procedures Construction procedures Construction procedures


cedures are well proven. are well proven. are well proven. are well proven.

63
Table 10-4 Economics: Comparison of Subgrade Stabilization Options.
Lime Stabilization Cement Stabilization Subgrade Removal Subgrade Improvement w/
and Replacement TENSAR Geogrid

Performs well in non- Performs well in non- Hauling and disposal costs Performs well in freezing
freezing areas. freezing areas. of undercut materials and non-freezing areas. No
increase costs of this option. hauling and disposal costs.

Special environmental Special environmental Significant increase in No special environmental


controls required. controls required. granular base material controls required.
Personal safety controls required.
required.

Freeze-thaw and Tensile cracking of cement No deterioration over time. No deterioration over time.
seasonal wetting can treated materials may lead
lead to deterioration to accelerated deterioration
with time. Pavement may
develop reflective cracks.

64
11.0 References

American Road Builders Association, ÒMaterials for Stabilization, Education and Information
GuideÓ, Publication HC-100A, 1976

Bureau of Reclamation, ÒLime Stabilization on Friant-Kern CanalÓ, December 1976.

California Department of Transportation, "Design of the Pavement Structural Section",


Highway Design Manual, Chapter 608, 1990.

Department of the Army, ÒSoil Stabilization for PavementsÓ, April 1983.

Gerrity, D.M., Metcalf, J.B., and Seals, R.K., ÒEstimating the Design Life of a Prototype
Cement-Stabilized Phosphogypsum PavementÓ, Transportation Research Record 1440,
National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1994.

Gray, D.H., Tons, E., and Thiruvengadam, T.T., ÒPerformance Evaluation of a Cement-
Stabilized Fly Ash BaseÓ, Transportation Research Record 1440, National Academy Press,
Washington, D.C., 1994.

Guram, D., Marienfeld, M., and Hayes, C., "Evaluation of Nonwoven Geotextile Versus Lime-
Treated Subgrade in Atoka County, Oklahoma", Transportation Research Record 1439,
National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1994.

Hall, M., ÒCement-Stabilized Open-Graded Base Strength Testing and Field Performance
Versus Cement ContentÓ, Transportation Research Record 1440, National Academy Press,
Washington, D.C., 1994.

Handy, R.L., "Feasibility of Drilled Lime Stabilization for the Oxbow, ND Landslide", U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, 1994.

Holtz, W.G., "Volume Change in Expansive Clay Soils and Control by Lime Treatment",
Second International Research and Engineering Conference on Expansive Clay Soils, Texas
A&M University, College Station, Texas, 1969.

Hopkins, T. C., Hunsucker, D.Q., and Beckham, T., ÒSelection of Design Strengths of Untreated
Soil Subgrades and Subgrades Treated with Cement and Hydrated LimeÓ, Transportation
Research Record 1440, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1994.

Hopkins, T. C., Hunsucker, D.Q., and Beckham, T., ÒLong-Term Performance of Flexible
Pavements Located on Cement-Treated SoilsÓ, Transportation Research Record 1440, National
Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1994.

Howard, D. D., ÒEvaluation of An Accelerated Curing Procedure for Stabilization of Kaolinite


With LimeÓ, Department of the Army, May 1966.

65
Howley, J. and Wohlers, C., ÒUpgrading Unpaved Roads: Road Base Stabilization Using Lime
and Fly AshÓ, Upper Plains States Innovation Group, National Science Foundation, Division
of Intergovernmental Programs, Grant ISP-8007661, U.S. Department of Transportation,
September 1981.

Ksaibati, K., and Conklin, T.L., ÒField Performance Evaluation of Cement-Treated Bases With
and Without Fly AshÓ, Transportation Research Record 1440, National Academy Press,
Washington, D.C., 1994.

Little, D. N., Stabilization of Pavement Subgrades & Base Courses with Lime, National Lime
Association, Kendall/Hunt, Dubuque, IA, 1995.

Little, D. N., ÒFundamentals of the Stabilization of Soil With LimeÓ, National Lime
Association Bulletin 332, National Lime Association, Arlington, Virginia, 1987.

R.S. Means Company, Inc., Site Work and Landscape Cost Data, 14th Annual Edition, 1996.

Pendola, H. J., Kennedy, T.W. and Hudson, W.R., ÒEvaluation of Factors Affecting the Tensile
Properties of Cement-Treated MaterialsÓ, Austin, Texas, September 1969.

Portland Cement Association, ÒCement Treated Subbases for Concrete PavementsÓ, Bulletin
D125, 1967.

Rodin, S., "Ability of a Clay Fill to Support Construction Plant", Journal of Terramechanics, Vol
2, No. 4, 1965.

Rogers, C.D.F., and Lee, S.J., ÒDrained Shear Strength of Lime-Clay MixesÓ, Transportation
Research Record 1440, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1994.

Seed, H.B., Woodward, R.J., and Landgren, R., "Prediction of Swelling Potential for
Compacted Clays", Journal of Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, ASCE, Vol 88, No.
SM-7, 1962.

Suddath, L.P., and Thompson, M.R., "Load Deflection Behavior of Lime Stabilization Layers",
Technical Report M-11B, Construction Research Laboratory, Champaign, Illinois, 1975.

Terrel, R.L., Epps, J.A., Barenberg, E.J., Mitchell, J.K., and Thompson, M.R., "Soil Stabilization
in Pavement Structures - A User's Manual, Volume 1 - Pavement Design and Construction
Considerations", FHWA-IP-80-2, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, D.C., 1979.

Thompson, M. R., ÒHigh-Strength Stabilized Base Thickness Design ProcedureÓ,


Transportation Research Record 1440, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1994.

Thompson, M.R., "Soil Stabilization for Pavement Systems - State of the Art Technical Report",
Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, Champaign, Illinois, 1970.

66
Thompson, M.R., ÒEngineering Properties of Lime-Soil MixturesÓ, University of Illinois,
Urbana, Illinois, February, 1967.

Thompson, M.R., and Dempsey, B.J., "Autogenous Healing of Lime Soil Mixture", Highway
Research Board No. 263, 1969.

Transportation Research Board, Committee on Lime and Lime-Fly Ash Stabilization, ÒLime
Stabilization: Reactions, Properties, Design, and ConstructionÓ, National Research Council,
Washington, D.C., 1987.

TTN:BR5, "Design Guidelines for Subgrade Improvement Under Dynamic Loading with TEN-
SAR Geogrids", The Tensar Corporation, Morrow, GA, 1998.

TTN:BR96, "Design Guideline for Flexible Pavements with TENSAR Geogrid Reinforced Base
Layers", The Tensar Corporation, Morrow, GA, 1996.

Yoder, E.J., and Witczak, M.W., Principles of Pavement Design, John Wiley & Sons, New York,
New York, 1975.

67