The role of soil stabilisation in mitigating the impact of climate change in transport infrastructure with reference to wetting processes

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Applied Sciences (Switzerland)


Cost efficient and robust transport systems are of critical importance to future economic prosperity as well as for the society’s social and environmental well-being. However, current performance shortcomings in the transport infrastructure formations induced by extreme climatic events cause excessive maintenance requirements with increased costs and disruptions to commuters and loss of productivity in the freight services. This is particularly important in locations where soils are sensitive to moisture changes caused by extreme climatic events. In this paper the role of soil stabilisation in halting volumetric deformation and associated reduction in shear strength derived from the wetting processes (e.g., rainfall periods) is examined for an expansive soil. Two stabilizers commonly used in road construction are examined, i.e., hydrated lime and Portland cement. An additional non-traditional stabiliser composed of a blend of ground granulated blast furnace slag and hydrated lime is also considered. A series of one-dimensional swelling and direct shear box tests were conducted adopting vertical stresses relevant for pavements and simulate wetting process that can take place after a period of rainfall. Results indicate that while all stabilizers contribute to a reduction of swelling and smaller losses in shear strength upon wetting, the blend of blast furnace slag and hydrated lime is the most favourable in terms of carbon footprint.

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