A Study of Innovative Alkali-Activated Binders for Soil Stabilisation in the Context of Engineering Sustainability and Circular Economy

Journal article


Mavroulidou, M., Gray, C. and Gunn, M. (2021). A Study of Innovative Alkali-Activated Binders for Soil Stabilisation in the Context of Engineering Sustainability and Circular Economy. Circular Economy and Sustainability. https://doi.org/10.1007/s43615-021-00112-2
AuthorsMavroulidou, M., Gray, C. and Gunn, M.
Abstract

In the context of sustainability in the civil engineering industry, chemical ground improvement is becoming increasingly used, as a generally more sustainable alternative to replacing and landfilling unsuitable for construction ground. However, traditional soil
stabilisers such as Portland cement or lime are not environmentally impact-free; international research effort is thus focusing on the development of innovative cementing agents.
This paper presents results from a feasibility study on the development of suitable alkali-activated slag cements for the stabilisation of two soils. A number of alkali-activators were considered, comprising potassium hydroxide, a range of alkali salts, as well as a
material retrieved from waste (Paper Sludge Ash, PSA) which contains free lime.
Indicative results of an extensive parametric study in terms of unconfined compressive strength (UCS) are shown, followed by results of ongoing oedometer tests to determine soil compressibility and some preliminary tests on selected soil/binder mixes to observe the durability to wetting-drying cycles. Overall, all alkali-activated cement mixes increased the UCS and stiffness of the soil. Carbonates and Na 2 SiO 3 used on their own gave lower strength increases. The highest strengths were achieved from AAC with KOH and Ca(OH) 2 from PSA, which showed similar strength gain. The latter material has shown consistently a lot of promise in terms of strength, stiffness and volumetric stability of the soil as well as treatment durability. Ongoing research focuses on further mix optimisation and a comprehensive mechanical and durability property testing supported by material
analysis (mineralogical, chemical and microstructural) to gain a better understanding of
the complex mechanisms involved.

KeywordsAlkali-activated cements; . Soil stabilisation; . Paper sludge ash; . Ground granulated blast furnace slag
Year2021
JournalCircular Economy and Sustainability
PublisherSpringer
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s43615-021-00112-2
Web address (URL)https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s43615-021-00112-2
Publication dates
Online09 Sep 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted24 Aug 2021
Deposited17 Sep 2021
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