Improving mechanical behaviour of collapsible soils by grouting active clay nanoparticles

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ALI SEIPHOORI , Mostafa Zamanian


The primary geotechnical concern of collapsible soils such as loess is their hydromechanical instability. During (re)wetting, metastable aggregates disintegrate leading soil to collapse under the applied load or self-weight. In situ chemical stabilisation, such as grouting, is a favoured option to improve the mechanical behaviour of soils; however, the low permeability of loess limits the application of permeation grouting in such deposits. Here a new approach is presented based on the injection of dilute suspensions of montmorillonite clay nanoparticles to improve mechanical behaviour of a low permeable loess. In addition to clay, the grouting behaviour of an ordinary cement material was also evaluated as a typically favoured soil stabiliser. Reconstituted specimens were also prepared by mixing dry clay or cement particles with soil at similar contents and curing time to allow a comparison with the grouting method. Results revealed that clay suspensions feature a high-mobility in the soil medium as well as a remarkable performance in reducing the collapse potential due to: (1) clay effective particle size (~ 0.25 um) that facilitates its mobility in soil, and (2) formation of strong, capillary-driven solid bridges that reinforce the interparticle bonds during post grouting evaporation. These results encourage the application of clay nanoparticles over cements for a sustainable, economical and eco-friendly grouting approach to improve the mechanical behaviour of low permeable collapsible soils.



Engineering, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Collapsible soils; Soil improvement; Clay nanoparticles; Grouting; Solid bridges


Published: 2020-10-27 09:42

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