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Experimental evaluation of strength and durability characteristics of geopolymer stabilised soft soil for deep mixing applications


Vast deposits of high water content soft clays pose severe problems and are not suitable for construction of engineering projects due to their inadequate bearing capacity and inherent large swelling and shrinkage ability. Deep soil mixing (DSM) is one of the widely accepted methods for improving soft soil properties like increase in bearing capacity and reduction in settlement that are of utmost importance for the construction of any structure. In this study, ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS)-based geopolymer was used to investigate its efficiency as a sustainable replacement to cement for DSM applications, thereby reducing the carbon footprint. A total of 27 GGBS-geopolymer mixes and 9 cement-treated reference mixes were cast and tested for strength and durability characteristics. The variables of the study include binder content (10, 20, and 30%), activator/binder ratio (0.5, 0.75, and 1.0), and initial soil moisture content (0.75wL, wL, 1.25wL). Different tests were conducted to explore the properties of stabilised clays, such as unconfined compressive strength, flexural strength, and durability against wetting drying cycles. To meet the requirements of DSM application, binder dosage greater than 10% and A/B ratio greater than 0.5 were recommended. With an increase in initial soil moisture content, the strength of the treated specimens under unconfined compression and flexure reduced and thus increased binder dosage helps to meet the DSM requirements for high water content soils. From the present study, it can be concluded that using slag-geopolymer binder for stabilising soft soil is an effective and sustainable alternative to cement in DSM applications.

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Correspondence to V. Bhavita Chowdary.

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Bhavita Chowdary, V., Ramanamurty, V. & Pillai, R.J. Experimental evaluation of strength and durability characteristics of geopolymer stabilised soft soil for deep mixing applications. Innov. Infrastruct. Solut. 6, 40 (2021).

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  • Deep soil mixing
  • Soft clay
  • Geopolymer
  • Strength
  • Durability