A study on mitigating the effect of sulphates in lime stabilised Cochin marine clays

by Pillai,G Anitha

Institution: Cochin University of Science and Technology
Year: 2014
Keywords: calcium-based stabilizers; Ettringite formation; Atterberg limits; Sulphate quantification; Cochin marine clay
Record ID: 1189476
Full text PDF: http://dyuthi.cusat.ac.in/purl/4923


Soft clays known for their high compressibility, low stiffness and low shear strength are always associated with large settlement. In place soil treatment using calcium-based stabilizers like lime and cement is a feasible solution to readdress strength deficiencies and problematic shrink/swell behaviour of unstable subgrade soils. Out of these, lime has been proved unambiguously as the most effective and economical stabilising agent for marine clays. Lime stabilisation creates long-term chemical changes in unstable clay soils to create strong, but flexible, permanent structural layers in foundations and other pavement systems. Even though calcium-based stabilizers can improve engineering properties of soft clays, problems can arise when they are used in soils rich in sulphates. It is possible for marine clays to be enriched with sulphates, either by nature or due to the discharge of nearby industrial wastes containing sulphates. The presence of sulphates is reported to adversely affect the cation exchange and pozzolanic reactions of cement and lime treated soil systems. The anions of sulphates may combine with the available calcium and alumina, and form insoluble ettringite in the soil system. Literature on sulphate attack in lime treated marine clays reports that formation of ettringite in lime-sodium sulphate-clay system is capable of adversely affecting the engineering behavior of marine clays. Only very few studies have been conducted on soft marine clays found along the coastal belt of Kerala and that too, is limited to Cochin marine clays. The studies conducted also have the limitation that the strength behaviour of lime stabilised clay was investigated only for one year. Practically no data pertaining to long term adverse effects likely to be brought about by sulphates on the strength and compressibility characteristics of Cochin marine clays is available. The overriding goal of this investigation was thus to examine the effectiveness of lime stabilisation in Cochin marine clays under varying sulphate contents. The study aims to reveal the changes brought about by varying sulphate contents on both physical and engineering properties of these clays stabilised by lime and the results for various curing periods up to two years is presented in this thesis. Quite often the load causing an unacceptable settlement may be less than the load required to cause shear failure and therefore attempt has been made in this research to highlight sulphate induced changes in both the compressibility and strength characteristics of lime treated Cochin marine clays. The study also aimed at comparing the available IS methods for sulphate quantification and has attempted to determine the threshold level of sulphate likely make these clays vulnerable by lime stabilisation. Clays used in this study were obtained from two different sites in Kochi and contained sulphate in two different concentrations viz., 0.5% and 0.1%. Two different lime percentages were tried out, 3% and 6%. Sulphate content was varied from 1% to 4% by addition of…