An assessment of different alkali-activated cements as stabilizers of sulfate-bearing soils

Article


Mavroulidou, M., Gray, C., Pantoja Munoz, L. and Gunn, M. 2023. An assessment of different alkali-activated cements as stabilizers of sulfate-bearing soils. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology. 56 (2). https://doi.org/10.1144/qjegh2022-057
TypeArticle
TitleAn assessment of different alkali-activated cements as stabilizers of sulfate-bearing soils
AuthorsMavroulidou, M., Gray, C., Pantoja Munoz, L. and Gunn, M.
Abstract

The stabilization of sulfate-bearing soils with traditional calcium-based stabilizers is not recommended, as reactions between the calcium and sulfates in the presence of water could lead to soil heave. Alternative stabilization methods are therefore required, and this paper proposes innovative alkali-activated cements (AACs), whose use for soil stabilization and especially sulfate-bearing soils is little researched. To fill this knowledge gap, AAC systems with a ground granulated blast-furnace slag precursor and different alkaline activators, including commercial lime, wastepaper sludge ash (PSA), potassium hydroxide (KOH) and potassium carbonate (K 2 CO 3 ), were used to treat an artificial sulfate-bearing clay. AAC-treated clay specimens cured for 7 and 28 days, respectively, were soaked in water for 45 days; their one-dimensional swelling, unconfined compressive strength (UCS), pH and ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV) were measured and compared to those of specimens not exposed to water. Material characterization (scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), Raman spectroscopy and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR)) was performed to attest cementation and detect ettringite. In AAC systems, CaO/Ca(OH) 2 did not lead to specimen heave and damage, and developed the highest strengths. Potassium-based activators performed less well but combined PSA–K 2 CO 3 in time led to strength gain. Overall, AACs lead to greater strengths than lime only or lime and admixtures, and show promise as sulfate-bearing soil stabilizers.

KeywordsEarth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous), Geology, Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
LanguageEnglish
PublisherGeological Society of London
JournalQuarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology
ISSN1470-9236
Electronic2041-4803
Publication dates
Online05 Apr 2023
Print08 May 2023
Publication process dates
Deposited14 Apr 2023
Submitted05 Jun 2022
Accepted12 Feb 2023
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Copyright Statement

This is an author's accepted manuscript, the final published version is available the Geological Society of London’s publications website https://www.lyellcollection.org/doi/10.1144/qjegh2022-057
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by The Geological Society of London. All rights reserved. For permissions: http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/permissions. Publishing disclaimer: www.geolsoc.org.uk/pub_ethics

Web address (URL)https://www.lyellcollection.org/doi/10.1144/qjegh2022-057
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1144/qjegh2022-057
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