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Curing conditions impact on compressive strength development in cement stabilized compacted earth


Cement is a common candidate for soil treatment when stabilization is required. Its employment in compacted earth blocks requests curing the product as efficiently as possible to obtain satisfactory performances. In this context, many practitioners’ recommendations exist. However, no studies have stated clearly optimum curing method required to achieve best possible strength for cement stabilized compacted earth. In this study, an exploratory analysis was used to assess the influence of moist curing duration on strength development in cement stabilized compacted earth. For this investigation, two natural earths stabilized with different types of cement were considered. The main differences between the chosen cements are their clinker content and strength class. The applied moist curing method consists of conditioning samples in moist environment (99.8% ± 0.2%RH) at ambient temperature (21 °C). Curing duration was varied between 0 (no curing) and 21 days. The uniaxial compressive strength was used as a practical indicator to inspect strength development in dry and wet conditions. Results demonstrate that moist curing is profitable until 7 days regardless of the formulation. In addition, results show that efficiency of cement stabilization depends on earth characteristics rather than cement composition. To discuss moist curing in more detail, accelerated curing conditions performed at 60 °C in ambient and moist environment were analyzed. In conclusion, some recommendations on the optimization of cement usage in compacted earth were provided.

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The authors would like to acknowledge technical staff in the ENTPE Stephane Cointet for his assistance in performing experimental work. The authors would like also to thank Horacio Colina and Laurent Izoret for following this work, as well as the experts from the cement companies’ members of the ATILH for the fruitful discussions around the results.


This study benefits from the financial support of the ATILH (Technical Association of the Cement Industry), via the CIFRE convention n˚ 2017/1512 of the ANRT project number 2017/1512.

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Correspondence to Noha Al Haffar.

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Appendix A

Appendix A

Average mass loss variations during curing.


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Al Haffar, N., Fabbri, A. & McGregor, F. Curing conditions impact on compressive strength development in cement stabilized compacted earth. Mater Struct 54, 103 (2021).

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  • Cement stabilization
  • Compacted earth
  • Moist curing
  • Curing duration
  • Compressive strength
  • Curing temperature