Biofuel Co-Product Uses for Pavement Geo-Materials Stabilization: Extensive Lab Characterization and Field Demonstration

The natural soil deposits do not always possess the requisite engineering properties to serve as qualified geotechnical materials for highway construction. As a result, well-established techniques of soil stabilization are often used to improve the properties of geotechnical materials through the addition of binding agents into soil (Basha et al, 2005). The soil-stabilizing additives or admixtures traditionally used include hydrated lime, Portland cement, and fly ash. The use of waste materials and by-products in various industrial applications continue to gain attention in the context of sustainable development, which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (WCED, 1987). Various industrial by-products have been applied for stabilizing the natural roadway soils (Petry and Little, 2002). The use of lignin derived from the paper industry (in the form of lignosulfonates) in sub grade soil stabilization has been studied previously (Kazan, 1955; Nicholls and Davidson, 1958; Lane et al. 1984; Palmer et al., 1995; Puppala and Hanchanloet, 1999; Tingle and Santoni, 2003). Adding lignin to clay soils increases the soil stability by causing dispersion of the clay fraction (Davidson and Handy, 1960; Gow et al., 1961). According to Gow et al. (1961), the dispersion of the clay fraction benefits stability of the soil-aggregate mix by: a) plugging voids and consequently improving water tightness and reducing frost susceptibility, b) eliminating soft spots caused by local concentrations of binder soil, c) filling voids with fines thus increasing density, and d) increasing the effective surface area of the binder fraction which results in greater contribution to strength. The lignins obtained from biofuel or ethanol production are sulfur-free lignins and there has been practically no documented study so far related to their use in highway geomaterials stabilization until recently when the Pis started exploring this novel idea (Ceylan and Gopalakrishnan, 2007). Even though sulfur-free lignins have been known for many years, the use of sulfur-free lignin has recently gained interest as a result of diversification of biomass processing schemes (Lora and Glasser, 2002). Other sulfur-free lignins include organosolv lignins and soda lignin which are not of interest within this proposed scope of research. Ongoing studies at ISU on the effectiveness of biofuel co-product (BCP) as a soil stabilizer show promising results in terms of substantially increased compressive strengths compared to those of the untreated soils (Ceylan et al., 2009; Ceylan et al., 2010; Gopalakrishnan et al., 2010). Before this technology can be implemented in practice, several issues and challenges need to be addressed combined with an enhanced understanding of how the proposed technique will work under expectedly varied field conditions, curing environments, and harsh weather conditions. This is the focus of this proposed phase II research.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • add 468


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $167,967
  • Contract Numbers:


    ISU proposal # 12143

    Addendum 468

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Iowa Department of Transportation

    800 Lincoln Way
    Ames, IA  United States  50010
  • Project Managers:

    Goetz, Vanessa

  • Performing Organizations:

    Iowa State University, Ames

    Institute for Transportation
    Ames, IA  United States  50011-8664
  • Principal Investigators:

    Kim, Sunghwan

    Gopalakrishnan, Kasthurirangan

    Ceylan, Halil

  • Start Date: 20130509
  • Expected Completion Date: 20191231
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 35137

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01561175
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Iowa Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: TR-656, ISU proposal # 12143, Addendum 468
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Apr 25 2015 1:00AM