Soil stabilization is a process that improves the stability and durability of the soil through controlled compaction, proportioning, and additives so that it can bear the weight of a structure. In this case, it can provide a strong foundation to the asphalt once the paving is done.
Soil stabilization is critical in areas where the soil has a low mineral composition and will be paved into highways, freeways, or other pavement surfaces that bear the weight of heavy-duty vehicles and constant traffic.
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There is no fixed process or timeline for soil stabilization. Soil composition, time at hand, budget, machinery, and several other factors all affect the soil stabilization process.
Thus, adding additives to the soil directly to change the soil composition based on an assumption is a significant risk. This is because if you are unable to achieve the desired result, then the investment for both your soil stabilization and paving projects will be wasted as your pavement will have a short life span.
The soil needs to be properly tested and prepared before additives are introduced to the mix. Here’s what you need to do.
Durability, permeability, strength, and compressibility are some factors that are of chief importance when it comes to road stabilization. Yet, to bring them up to the desired level, the first step is to test the kind of soil we have.
No two soil compositions are alike; even soils on the same site that are a few meters apart can vary greatly.
There is no single stabilization approach. The assumption would be risking the whole project. So representative soil samples are taken from different areas on the site and are tested by a geotechnical engineer to determine their environmental and engineering properties.
Based on the results, a particular additive is chosen for curating the soil sample, which is then retested. The second testing results determine whether the additive is the right choice to reach the desired results.
Preparing the Soil
The soil can be prepared for the coming steps ex-situ and in-situ stabilization. In-situ stabilization means stabilizing the soil at the original site, while ex-situ stabilization requires the earth to be removed and transported to a treatment site. Most contractors prefer in-situ stabilization because it saves time and cost.
Now let’s come down to how the soil is prepared. The existing soil is pulverized into suitable particle sizes with the help of a rotary stabilizer/reclaimer, in an off-site plant like a pugmill or crusher, or using traditional road construction equipment.
During this step, aggregates and additional base materials are added to the soil if required.
However, for the reaction to occur when the additives are mixed in, the soil’s moisture level needs to be at the optimum level. So, dry soils are dampened, and soil with high water content is dried through water drainage or other chemical or mechanical processes.