Pozzolanic Additives To Control Dispersivity Of Soil
The aim of the present investigation is to improve the geotechnical properties of dispersive soil by reducing their dispersivity after elucidating the important mechanisms controlling the dispersivity of the soils. Dispersive soils have unique properties, which under certain conditions deflocculate and are rapidly eroded and carried away by water flow. These soils are found extensively in the United States, Australia, Greece, India, Latin America, South Africa and Thailand. The mechanism of dispersivity of soils is a subject matter of great interest for geotechnical engineers. In the earlier days clays were considered to be non erosive and highly resistant to water erosion. However, recently it was found that highly erosive clay soils do exist in nature. Apart from clayey soil, dispersivity is also observed in silty soils. The tendency of the clays to disperse or deflocculate depends upon the mineralogy and soil chemistry and also on the dissolved salts in the pore water and the eroding water. Such natural dispersive soils are problematic for geotechnical engineers. They are clayey soils which are highly susceptible to erosion in nature and contain a high percentage of exchangeable sodium ions, (Na+). It is considered that the soil dispersivity is mainly due to the presence of exchangeable sodium present in the structure. When dispersive clay soil is immersed in water, the clay fraction behaves like single-grained particles; that is, the clay particles have a minimum of electrochemical attraction and fail to closely adhere to, or bond with, other soil particles. This implies that the attractive forces are less than the repulsive forces thus leading to deflocculation (in saturated condition).This weakens the aggregates in the soil causing structural collapse. Such erosion may start in a drying crack, settlement crack, hydraulic fracture crack, or other channel of high permeability in a soil mass. Total failure of slopes in natural deposits is initiated by dispersion of clay particles along cracks, fissures and root holes, accelerated by seepage water. For dispersive clay soils to erode, a concentrated leakage channel such as a crack (even a very small crack) must exist through an earth embankment. Erosion of the walls of the channel then occurs along the entire length at the same time. Many slope and earth dam failures have occurred due to the presence of dispersive soils. Unlike erosion in cohesionless soils, erosion in dispersive clay is not a result of seepage through the pores of clay mass. However, the role of type of clay and its Cation exchange capacity in the dispersion of soil is not well understood. Data on the presence, properties, and tests for identification of dispersive clays is scarce. Hence, an attempt is made, in this thesis, to develop reliable methods to identify these soils and understand the extent of their dispersivity as well as to develop methods to control their dispersivity. The present study deals with the characterization of a local dispersive soil collected from southern part of Karnataka State. This study has focused on comprehensive tests to assess the dispersivity of the soils by different methods and to methods to improve geotechnical properties by reducing the dispersivity of the soil. An attempt is made to reduce the dispersivity of soil by using calcium based stabilizers such as lime, cement and fly ash. The mechanism of improvement in reducing the dispersivity of the soil with calcium based stabilizers has been studied. One of the important mechanism by which the dispersivity of the soil is reduced is by inducing cementation of soil particles. The differences in effectiveness of different additives are due to their differences in abilities to produce cementitious compounds. Although all the additives increased the strength of the soil and reduced the dispersivity of the soil, cement was found to significantly reduce the dispersivity of the soil, compared to the other two additives lime and fly ash. Cement is more effective as sufficient cementitious compounds are produced on hydration without depending on their formation. A detailed review of literature on all aspects connected with the present study is given in Chapter 2. A comprehensive description of dispersive soils present worldwide has been brought out in this section. Based on this survey, the scope of the present investigation has been elaborated at the end of the chapter. To understand the reasons for dispersivity of the soil and to estimate its degree of dispersivity, it is essential to assess standard methods to characterize the soil. Chapter 3 presents a summary of material properties and testing programs. The results of geotechnical characterization of the soil, the index properties of the soilspecific gravity, sieve analysis, Atterberg’s limits are discussed in Chapter 4. The physico chemical characteristics play an important role in determining the amount of dispersivity of the soil. Dispersive soils have two main characteristics which define its dispersivity chemically. These are Sodium Adsorption Ratio (S.A.R) and Exchangeable Sodium Percentage (E.S.P). The two characteristics are determined from the Cation exchange capacity of the soil. Exchangeable Sodium Percentage is defined as the concentration of sodium ions present in the soil with respect to the Cat ion exchange capacity of the soil. And Sodium Adsorption Ratio is used to quantify the free salts present in the pore water. Since Atterberg’s limits and grain size analysis do not help in identifying dispersive soils or in quantifying its dispersivity, two other tests- Emerson Crumb test and double hydrometer test were carried out on the soil. Emerson crumb test is a simple way for identification of dispersive soils. In this test, a crumb of soil measuring about 1mm diameter is immersed in a beaker containing distilled water and the subsequent reaction is observed for 5 minutes. It is solely based on direct qualitative observations. Depending on the degree of turbidity of the cloud formed in the beaker, the soil is classified in one of the four levels of dispersion in accordance with ASTM-D6572. Since this test is mainly a qualitative test and does not help in quantifying the dispersivity, it cannot be depended upon completely in identifying a dispersive soil. Another test double hydrometer test, which helps in quantifying the dispersivity of the soil, was also conducted on the soil. This test involves in conducting the particle size distribution using the standard hydrometer test in which the soil specimen was dispersed in distilled water with a chemical dispersant. A parallel hydrometer test was conducted on another soil specimen, but without a chemical dispersant. The dispersing agent used for the experiment was sodium hexametaphosphate. The percent dispersion is the ratio of the dry mass of particles smaller than 0.005 mm diameter of the test without dispersing agent to the test with dispersing agent expressed as a percentage. The double hydrometer test was carried out according to Double Hydrometer Test (ASTM D4221). Apart from the conventional tests, attempts are made to consider shrinkage limit test and unconfined compression test to determine the dispersivity of the soil. For this purpose, the shrinkage limit of the soil was determined with and without dispersing agent. The initial shrinkage limit of the untreated soil reduced on treating it with dispersing agent, thus indicating that the soil had further dispersed on addition of dispersing agent. In order to carry out the unconfined compression strength, the maximum dry density and optimum moisture content was determined through the compaction test. The soil was then treated with dispersing agent and compacted at the optimum moisture content. The soil exhibited high degree of dispersion through the strength test. Hence it is necessary to stabilize the soil with additives. Detailed experimental program has been drawn to find methods to improve the geotechnical properties and to reduce the dispersivity of the soil. Chapter 5 presents the investigations carried out on the dispersive soil with lime. The importance of lime stabilization and the mechanism of lime stabilization have been discussed initially. Commercially obtained hydrated lime was used in the present study. The soil was treated with three different percentages of lime 3, 5 and 8. The curing period was varied from one day to twenty eight days. The effect of addition of lime on various properties of the soil such as pH, Atterberg’s limits, compaction test and unconfined compression test is elaborated in chapter 5. The pH of the soil was maximum on addition of 3% lime. On further addition, the pH decreased and remained constant. The liquid limit of the soil increased on adding 3% lime and decreased with further lime content. The compaction test conducted on the soil showed an increase in maximum dry density of the soil and reduction in optimum moisture content with 3% lime content. On further increase in the lime content, the soil showed a decrease in the maximum dry density and increase in optimum moisture content. The unconfined compressive strength of the soil also increased on increasing lime content upto 5%. The variation in strength of the soil with respect to curing period was also compared. Optimum lime content arrived at based on the above conducted tests was 3%. The effect of lime in reducing the dispersivity of the soil through shrinkage limit test and unconfined compression test is also presented in this chapter. Details of the efforts made on the soil with fly ash are presented in Chapter 6.The fly ash used for stabilization of Suddha soil was of Class F type. This type of fly ash contains low reactive silica and lime. The effect of varying fly ash content on the properties of Suddha soil by varying the percentage of fly ash from 3 to 10 percentages is discussed in this chapter. The tests conducted on fly ash treated Suddha soil were pH test, compaction test, Atterberg’s limits and unconfined compression test with varying curing period. The fly ash treated Suddha soil was cured from one day to twenty eight days for the unconfined compressive strength analysis. The pH of the soil system increased with increasing percentage of fly ash. The increase in liquid limit was marginal on addition of fly ash. The maximum dry density of fly ash treated Suddha soil decreased continuously and the optimum moisture content of the treated soil increased with increasing fly ash content. The unconfined compressive strength of Suddha soil increased with increase in fly ash content upto 8% and then decreased for fly ash content of 10%. For all the percentages of fly ash added, the strength of the soil increased with increase in the curing period. The effect of fly ash in reducing the dispersivity of the soil was carried out using shrinkage limit and unconfined compression test. It was seen that on increasing the fly ash content, the soil treated with dispersing agent showed an increase in the shrinkage limit. Also, the same trend was observed for the unconfined compression strength to determine dispersivity. Optimum fly ash was determined as 8% with the help of all the tests conducted on the soil. Since the improvement in the properties of the soil with lime and fly ash was not very high, Cement was also considered as another additive used for stabilization of Suddha soil. It is known that soil with lesser amount of clay content will respond well with cement. The effect of cement addition on various properties of Suddha soil has been brought out in Chapter 7. It was found that addition of cement had positive effects on all the properties of Suddha soil. The pH of the soil increased for all the percentages of cement addition. The liquid limit of the soil increased on increasing the cement content. The shrinkage limit also showed a similar trend. The optimum moisture content of the soil decreased on increasing the cement content for Suddha soil and the maximum dry density increased for cement treated Suddha soil. The soil showed the maximum dry density at 8% cement content. The unconfined compression strength conducted on cement treated Suddha soil increased significantly for higher cement contents and also with curing period. Suddha soil when treated with 8% cement content exhibited maximum strength in comparison to other percentages. Also, the effect of cement in reducing the dispersivity of the soil was carried out using shrinkage limit and unconfined compression test. The shrinkage limit of the soil increased for all percentages of cement content, even in the presence of dispersing agent. Through the unconfined compression strength for dispersivity, it could be seen that 8% cement treated Suddha soil had the least dispersion. Optimum cement content was derived as 8% with the help of the tests conducted on the soil. A comparison of effect of all the additives on the strength of the soil as well as effect of the additives in reducing the dispersivity of the soil is discussed in Chapter 8. The effect of additives on the shrinkage limit of the soil with and without dispersing agent has been compared. The variation in shrinkage limit of the soil when treated with the additives was due to the different mechanisms involved in reducing the dispersivity by each additive. The effect on the unconfined compression strength of the soil treated with the additives with and without dispersing agent is also brought out in this chapter. It was noted that the dispersion exhibited through shrinkage limit test was lesser as compared to the percentage dispersivity exhibited through unconfined compression test. Hence it could be said that dispersion of the soil is due to loss of cohesion than volume change behavior. Also, the unconfined compression strength of the soils with respect to curing period is compared. The percentage dispersivity calculated through these tests is summarized and compared. With the help of this it could be said that to control the dispersivity of the soil, it is necessary to enhance the strength of the soil. The general summary and major conclusions drawn from the thesis are presented in Chapter 9.
- Civil Engineering (CiE)