Compaction characteristics and strength of BC soil reinforced with untreated and treated coir fibers

  • C. JairajEmail author
  • M. T. Prathap Kumar
  • M. E. Raghunandan
Technical Note


Black cotton soils, because of its high swelling and shrinkage characteristics, have been a challenge to geotechnical engineers. Use of natural reinforcing materials in soil such as jute and coir has the advantage that they are available at low cost. Among the natural reinforcing fibers in soil, coir has the greatest tensile strength and retains its property even in wet conditions and has been used in many non-critical civil engineering applications. In the present study, compaction characteristics of black cotton soil (BC soil) admixed at different percentage of untreated and treated coir fibers were used with optimum lime content and without lime content. Alkali-treated and epoxy resin-coated and stone dust-sprinkled coir fibers have been comparatively assessed in terms of compaction characteristics and strength of fiber-reinforced BC soil. The present study indicated that the maximum dry density decreases with increase in percentage of coir fibers for both black cotton soils with and without optimum lime content. Marginal variation in maximum dry density (MDD) when fiber content is varied from 0 to 0.5% occurs and beyond 0.5% fiber content significant reduction in MDD occurs. Increasing fiber content increases the corresponding optimum moisture content (OMC) indicating addition of fiber increases water absorption by coir fibers causing an increase in OMC. However, the alkali treatment of coir fiber causes a significant reduction in water absorption leading to significant improvement in compaction characteristics and strength of BC soil.


Compaction Black cotton soil Alkali treatment Coir fiber Maximum dry density 



Black cotton soil


Maximum dry density


Optimum moisture content


Untreated coir fiber


Treated coir fiber


Alkali-treated coir fiber


Optimum lime content


Sodium hydroxide






Scanning electron microscopy


Unconfined compressive strength


X-ray diffraction



The first and second authors express sincere thanks to Karnataka Coir Board Industry. Gubbi, Tumkur District, for having supplied coir fibers used in the present experimental study. Sincere acknowledgement to Department of Civil Engineering, Monash University, Malaysia, for having permitted and carried out XRD and SEM studies of untreated and treated coir fibers and fiber-reinforced BC soil samples. Sincere thanks also to CIVIL AID Techno clinic, Bengaluru and Central Silk Technological Research Institute, Central Silk Board, Government of India, Bengaluru—for having carried out Mechanical properties and Chemical Composition of coir fibers used in the present study.


  1. 1.
    Shivakumar Babu GL, Vasudevan AK, Sayida MK (2008) Use of coir fibers for improving the engineering properties of expansive soils. J Nat Fibers 5(1):61–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ramesh HN, Manoj K, Maratha HV (2010) Compaction and strength behaviour of lime-coir fiber treated black cotton soil. Int J Geomech Eng 2:19–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fatahi B, Fatahi B, Le T, Khabbaz H (2013) Small-strain properties of soft clay treated with fibre and cement. Geosynth Int 20:286–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Maher MH, Ho YC (1994) Mechanical properties of kaolinite/fiber soil composite. J Geotech Eng 120(8):1381–1393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Holtz WG, Gibbs HJ (1956) Engineering properties of expansive clays. Trans Am Soc Civ Eng 121:641–677Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cai Y, Shi B, Ng CWW, Tang C (2006) Effect of polypropylene fiber and lime admixture on engineering properties of clayey soil. J Eng Geol 87(3–4):230–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Balasubramaniam AS, Bergado DT, Buensuceso BR, Yong WC (1989) Strength and deformation characteristics of lime-treated soft clays. Geotech Eng 20:49–65Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Mohamad Maher H, Gray DH (1990) Static response of sands reinforced with randomly distributed fibers. J Geotech Eng 116(11):1661–1677CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kumar A, Balajit SW, Mohan J (2006) Compressive strength of fiber reinforced highly compressible clay. J Constr Build Mater 20(10):1063–1068CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Nataraj MS, McManish KL (1997) Strength and deformation properties of soils reinforced with fibrillated fibers. J Geosynth Int 4(1):65–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gray DH, Ohashi H (1983) Mechanics of fiber reinforcement in sand. J Geotech Eng 109(3):335–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gray DH, Al-Refeai T (1986) Behaviour of fabric-versus fiber-reinforced sand. J Geotech Eng 112(8):804–820CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Consoli NC, Casagrande MDT, Coop MR (2005) Effect of fiber reinforcement on the isotropic compression behavior of sand. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 131(11):1434–1436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Dutta RK, Khatri VN, Gayathri VE (2013) Effect of treated coir fibres on the compaction and CBR behaviour of clay. Int J Geotech Environ 5(1):19–33Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Vardhan H, Bordoloi S, Garg A, Garg A, Sreedeep S (2017) Compressive strength analysis of soil reinforced with fiber extracted from water hyacinth. Eng Comput 34(2):330–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Prathap Kumar MT, Jairaj C (2014) Shear strength parameters of BC soil admixed with different length of coir fiber. Int J Eng Res Technol 3(4):18758–18778Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Abdelaziz M, Karima M (2017) Feasibility of using rubber waste fibers as reinforcements for sandy soils. Innov Infrastruct Solut 2:5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Spritzer JM, Khachan MM, Bhatia SK (2015) Influence of synthetic and natural fibres on dewatering rate and shear strength of slurries in geotextile tube applications. Int J Geosynth Ground Eng 1(3):26.1–26.14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Rajagopal K, Chandramouli S, Parayil A, Iniyan K (2014) Studies on geosynthetic-reinforced road pavement structures. Int J Geotech Eng 8(3):277–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Mizababaei M, Miraftab M, Mohamed M, McMahon P (2013) Unconfined compression strength of reinforced clays with carpet waste fibers. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 139:483–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Anggraini V, Asadi A, Farzadnia N, Jahangirian H, Huat BB (2016) Reinforcement benefits of nanomodified coir fiber in lime-treated marine clay. J Mater Civ Eng 28(6):6001–6005CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Subaida E, Chandrakaran S, Sankar N (2008) Experimental investigations on tensile and pullout behaviour of woven coir geotextiles. Geotext Geomembr 26(5):384–392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Dutta RK, Vishwas NK, Gyathir V (2012) Effect of addition of treated coir fibres on the compression behaviour of clay. J Civ Eng (IEB) 40(2):203–214Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Patel SK, Singh B (2017) Strength and deformation behavior of fiber-reinforced cohesive soil under varying moisture and compaction states. Geotech Geol Eng 35(4):1767–1781CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Anggraini V, Asadi A, Huat BB, Nahazanan H (2015) Effects of coir fibers on tensile and compressive strength of lime treated soft soil. J Meas 59:372–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Rao GV, Dutta RK, Ujwala D (2005) Strength characteristics of sand reinforced with coir fibres and coir geotextiles. Electron J Geotech Eng 10(G)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Mohanty AK, Mishra M, Drzal LT (2001) Surface modifications of natural fibers and performance of the resulting bio-composites: an overview. Compos Interfaces 8(5):313–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Prasad SV, Pavithran C, Rohatgi PK (1983) Alkali treatment of coir fibers for coir-polyester composites. J Mater Sci 18:1443–1445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Hill CAS, Khalil HPSA, Hale MD (1997) A study of the potential of acetylation to improve the properties of plant fibers. Ind Crops Prod 8:53–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Rout J, Mishra M, Tripathy SS, Nayak SK, Mohanty AK (2001) The influence of fiber treatment on the performance of coir-polyester composites. Compos Sci Technol 61(2001):1303–1310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Leão RM, Luz SM, Araujo JA, Novack K (2015) Surface treatment of coconut fiber and its application in composite materials for reinforcement of polypropylene. J Nat Fibers 12:574–586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Hauang GU (2009) Tensile behaviours of the coir fiber and related composites after NaOH treatment. J Mater Des 30:3931–3934CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Carvalho KCC, Mulinari DR, Voorwald HJC, Maria OH (2010) Chemical modification effect on the mechanical properties of hips/coconut fiber composites. Bioresources 5(2):1143–1155Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Kumar R, Sangeeta O, Aparan S (2011) Chemical modifications of natural fiber for composite material. Der Chem Sin 2(4):219–228Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Karthikeyan A, Balamurugan K (2012) Effect of alkali treatment and fiber length on impact behaviour of coir fiber reinforced epoxy composites. JSCI Ind Res 71:627–631Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Dixit S, Verma P (2012) The effect of surface modification on the water absorption behaviour of coir fibers. Adv Appl Sci Res 3(3):1463–1465Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Ramadevi P, Dhanlakshmi S, Chikkol VS, Basvaraju B (2012) Effect of alkali treatment on water absorption of single cellulosic abaca fiber. Bioresources 7(3):3515–3524Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    IS Code 2720 (Part VII-1980) Methods of test for soils: part 7 Determination of water content-dry density relation using light compaction. Indian Standard CodeGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NITTE Meenakshi Institute of TechnologyBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Ghousia College of EngineeringRamanagaraIndia
  3. 3.Department of Civil Engineering, RNS Institute of TechnologyBangaloreIndia
  4. 4.School of Engineering, Monash University MalaysiaSelangorMalaysia

Personalised recommendations