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Effects of alkaline-activated fly ash and Portland cement on soft soil stabilisation

Lookup NU author(s): Nuno Cristelo, Professor Stephanie Glendinning


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This paper studies the effects of sodium-based alkaline activators and class F fly ash on soil stabilisation. Using the unconfined compressive strength test (UCS), the effectiveness of this binder is compared with that of a common cement-based binder. Influence of the activator/ash ratio, sodium oxide/ash ratio and sodium hydroxide concentration was also analysed. Sodium hydroxide concentrations of 10, 12.5 and 15 molal were used for the alkaline-activated specimens (AA), with activator/ash ratios between 1 and 2.5 and ash percentages of 20, 30 and 40 %, relatively to the total solids (soil + ash). UCS was determined at curing periods of 7, 28, 90 and 365 days, and the most effective mixtures were analysed for mineralogy with XRD. The results showed a clear increase in strength with decreasing activator/ash ratio (up to a maximum of 43.4 MPa), which is a positive result since the activator is the most expensive component in the mixture. Finally, UCS results of the cement and AA samples, at 28 days curing, were very similar. However, AA results proved to be just between 20 and 40 % of the maximum UCS obtained at 1 year curing, while cement results at 28 days are expected to be between 80 and 90 % of its maximum.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cristelo N, Glendinning S, Fernandes L, Pinto AT

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Acta Geotechnica

Year: 2013

Volume: 8

Issue: 4

Pages: 395-405

Print publication date: 01/08/2013

ISSN (print): 1861-1125



DOI: 10.1007/s11440-012-0200-9


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