An in depth guide to Soil Stabilisation
30 November 2015
Soil Stabilisation describes the method given to any changes of soil for engineering purposes via physical or chemical techniques. VHE has been using a combination of these methods in remediation works for a number of years to the benefit of projects across the United Kingdom.
Soil stabilisation is designed to improve the condition or capability of in-situ soils to make further construction operations feasible. These improvements include conditioning the consistency of the material and regulating the moisture content to aid re-compaction, along with increasing the strength to improve bearing capacity.
Traditionally, soil stabilisation techniques used products such as bitumen emulsions as a soil stabilizing binding agent for producing a road base (however, bitumen is not environmentally friendly and becomes brittle when it dries out). Portland cement has been used as an alternative to soil stabilisation although this can often be expensive and is not a very good “green” alternative. Bespoke solutions may involve some of the following materials in isolation or in combination – Pulverised Fuel Ash, Cement Fly Ash, Lime Fly Ash (separately, or with Cement or Lime), Asphalt, Bitumen, Cement Kiln Dust, Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag, Tree resin, Ionic stabilisers and Zeolites.
There are advantages and disadvantages to many of these soil stabilisers. Many of the “green” products have essentially the same formula as soap powders, merely lubricating and realigning the soil with no effective binding property. Many of the new soil stabilising approaches rely on large amounts of clay with its inherent binding properties. Bitumen, tar emulsions, asphalt, cement, lime can be used as a binding agents for producing a road base. When using such soil stabilising products issues such as safety, health and the environment must be considered.
Some of these new methods create hydrophobic surfaces which help to prevent failures from water penetration or heavy frost, important all over the world but particularly relevant to the UK climate.
VHE can offer in-house capability in lime cement and advanced stabilisation techniques which reduces the moisture content of cohesive soil and improves the load bearing capacity. Chemical encapsulation of contaminants can also be a form of stabilisation and has been used by VHE as part of a remediation solution.
If you are looking for a land remediation contractor that can provide in-house soil stabilisation services, please contact VHE on 01226 320150 or alternatively use our quick enquiry form.