What is Soil Stabilization and the Methods Used in the Process?

Have you ever walked on a patch of land that sinks in when you take a step? I’ve done that a lot in my garden when I’ve removed plants from the soil or added new ones in its place. The ground couldn’t support my weight and buckle under the pressure. Soil Stabilization

Now imagine I tried to build something on unstable land like that? Bridges and building structures could collapse because it’s not on stable ground. This can be seriously dangerous for builders and those who plan on inhabiting the structure. 

Soil stabilization fixes this problem by adding materials into the soil to improve its structure and strength-bearing capacity. There are several soil stabilization methods builders and construction workers perform on soil that is not suitable to carry the foundation of a building. 

Essentially, the process includes adding certain stabilizing agents and materials to the soil to reduce the permeability and compressibility of the soil. There are several ways you can perform soil stabilization measures so that any buildings you plan to construct will be safe no matter what. 

Using Lime to stabilize soil

This is first on the list because it’s probably one of the cheapest, most cost-effective methods of soil stabilization. Lime is added to the soil to improve its properties so it’s fit to hold up a large structure. Hydrated lime is one of the most common lime products, but there is also monohydrated lime, quicklime, and dolomite lime. 

Using lime to stabilize soil has shown significant improvements in soil strength. It can be used to construct highways and improve the foundations of many different buildings. The one issue with lime is that it reacts to sulfates which will inhibit its soil strengthening properties. 

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Mechanical Soil Stabilization

This is a method that changes the gradation of soil to improve its stability. Think of compaction and densification of the soil through rollers, rammers, blasting, and vibrations. It’s a natural method that requires mixing multiple kinds of natural soils together until the soil meets its requirements. 

Cement

 Soil Stabilization and the Methods Used in the Process

This is a method that binds soil particles together using cement hydration. The cement hydration process grows into crystals that interlock to give the soil added strength. Cement needs to be mixed well within the soil for this method to be effective. As the cement is harder than the soil, it will give the ground more strength to hold heavy buildings and structures. 

This process will require a great deal of water since the soil and cement mixture requires water to form a chemical reaction and harden. The weight of the soil increases naturally because the cement will fill any gaps within the soil particles. For more information about cement, click here. 

Electrical stabilization

This is a method of soil stabilization that uses electro-osmosis. This is a good method to use if your soil has a lot of clay within it. A current of direct electricity moves through the soil Water is removed from the soil due to the positive and negative charges. It’s a great method to strengthen your soil quickly, but it’s one of the most expensive methods. 

Thermal stabilization

This can significantly improve your soil stability by heating and cooling the soil. In this method, the soil is heated until its water is decreased and the clay particles in the soil harden. You can also freeze the soil. Cooling it will make it lose its strength, but if you freeze it, the water in the soil will freeze and stabilize it. 

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Chemicals

This is another effective method of soil stabilization method. It modifies the physical particles in clay. Calcium chloride is used to facilitate soil compaction. It’s important not to use so much calcium chloride can affect the chemicals in the soil negatively by removing chemicals. Humidity levels should be around 30% to avoid this. You can also use sodium silicate in combination with calcium chloride. 

Copy and paste this link into a search engine to find out more about calcium chloride.  

Fly ash

This is a widely available and inexpensive method of soil stabilization. Fly ash has fewer cementations properties than lime or cement. It’s a secondary binder so it can’t stabilize soil on its own. A primary binder, such as cement or lime, can contribute to the strength of the overall soil. 

You will most likely have to dewater the soil due to its low moisture content. There are also several other outside factors such as temperature and water content that could affect the strength and long-term durability of the soil. 

Soil stabilization is important in construction. If you don’t have stable soil, you could face structural collapse and other safety concerns. There is no wrong or right method on this list to stabilize soil on your construction site. Choose one that is the most cost-effective and convenient for you.

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