Soil Stabilization

Soil stabilization is the permanent physical and chemical alteration of soils to enhance their physical properties. Stabilization can increase the shear strength of a soil and/or control the shrink-swell properties of a soil, thus improving the load bearing capacity of a subgrade to support pavements and foundations.

Stabilization can be used to treat a wide range of subgrade materials from expansive clays to granular materials. Stabilization can be achieved with a variety of chemical additives including lime, fly ash, and portland cement, as well as by-products such as lime kiln dust (LKD). Proper design and testing is an important component of any stabilization project. This allows for the establishment of design criteria as well as the determination of the proper chemical additive and admixture rate to be used to achieve the desired engineering properties.

Another form of soil treatment closely related to soil conditioning is soil modification, sometimes referred to as “mud drying” or “soil conditioning.” Although some stabilization inherently occurs in soil modification, the distinction is that soil modification is merely a means to reduce the moisture content of a soil to expedite construction.

Benefits Include:

  • Higher strength values (CBR’s)
  • Reduction in plasticity
  • Lower permeability
  • Potential reduction of pavement thickness
  • Elimination of excavation, material, hauling and handling, and base importation
  • Improve compaction
  • Provides “all-weather” access onto and within project sites