Lime stabilisation for earthworks: a UK perspective
journal contributionposted on 06.05.2016, 13:17 by Paul Beetham, Tom Dijkstra, Neil Dixon, Paul Fleming, Robert Hutchison, John Bateman
Lime stabilisation is a versatile technique applied during earthworks operations. Modern soil recycling units are much more efficient at pulverising fill material and intermixing the added binder/water than machinery available 20 years ago. While supplier innovation adds flexibility to the site working method, specifications have not been sufficiently updated to permit optimal application. This review paper details the physico-chemical changes instigated through the lime–clay soil reaction, updating previous reviews. It aims to assist scientific debate, current practitioners and future specification changes. For example, the application of the minimum 24 h mellowing periods (mandatory to UK specifications) with high reactivity, quicklime powders is concluded to cause increased air voids in the compacted fill. Increased air voids are associated with reduced long-term strength and potential volume change from water ingress, which is of particular concern for sulfate swelling. Shorter mellowing periods and/or use of hydrated lime may lesson this issue; however, a ‘one size fits all’ approach is discouraged in preference to site-specific methodologies refined to suit the fill material and project requirements. The discussion also summarises working methods which may lower the risk of sulfate swell and defines areas requiring further practical research.
This work forms part of a research programme undertaken at the CICE, Loughborough University, in association with Opus International and the Independent Stabilisation Company, and is supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (Grant number EP/G037272/1). T.D. publishes with the permission of the Executive Director of BGS (NERC).
- Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering