Soil Stabilization is the biological, chemical or mechanical modification of soil engineering properties. In civil engineering, soil stabilization is a technique to refine and improve the engineering properties of soils. These properties include mechanical strength, permeability, compressibility, durability and plasticity. Physical or mechanical improvement is common but some schools of thought prefer to use the term ‘stabilization’ in reference to chemical improvements in the soil properties by adding chemical admixtures.

For any construction project, whether it’s a building, a road or an airfield, the base soil acts as the foundation. Additionally, soil is one of the crucial construction raw materials. As such, the soil should possess properties that create a strong foundation.

The practice of stabilizing or modifying soils dates back to the age of the Romans. Other nations such as the United States and China among many others adopted it in the latter half of the 20thcentury.

What is the soil stabilization process?

  • Understand the material properties involved in the mixture and the intended outcome after mixing.
  • Evaluate the effects of the process on the nearby structures and surrounding conditions.
  • Consider factors such as mixing and spreading, selection of roller, compaction, layer thickness.
  • Choose the sequence of operation
  • If working with chemicals evaluate curing, environmental and climatic conditions.

What are the materials used in soil stabilization? 

The materials used in soil stabilization depend on what technique is being employed. The following list includes everything from biological, chemical and mechanical soil stabilization techniques:

  • Different grades of soil.
  • Different grades of aggregates.
  • Seedlings
  • Seeds
  • Hydromulch mixtures
  • Hydroseeding mixtures
  • Geomaterials – geogrids, geoblankets
  • Polymers -synthetic and natural
  • Synthetic resins
  • Emulsions
  • Cement
  • Lime
  • Fly ash
  • Bitumen
  • Recycled and waste products – solid municipal, mining and industrial wastes.

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