Portland Cement Treatments in Locations with Poor Embankment Material

Cement treatment is one way to improve the strength and stability of embankment materials when high-quality aggregate is not available. Concerns with using cement treated fine-grained soils are potential frost susceptibility and subsequent thaw weakening. Previous research on this topic suggests that cement treatments of 3% to 4% are generally sufficient to mitigate frost heave and improve post-heave bearing capacity; however, the literature contains variable results, and recommends testing the effects of cement treatment on individual soils. We conducted frost heave and unconfined compressive strength tests for Alaska Highway embankment material passing the No. 4 sieve at 1%, 2%, 3%, 4%, and 5% Portland Type I cement treatment levels. Each sample was subjected to five freeze-thaw cycles. The untreated soil demonstrated a medium to high frost susceptibility rating, and test results indicated that the addition of cement at any treatment level reduced frost heave and improved bearing capacity. Cement treatments of 2% or greater effectively mitigated the soil’s frost susceptibility as evidenced by: 1) negligible frost heave; 2) minimal reduction in post-heave compressive strength; 3) insignificant changes in moisture content post-heave suggesting no measurable frost heave damage; and 4) deformation patterns indicative of an undisrupted/unbroken cementitious matrix


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  • Status: Completed
  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities

    2301 Peger Road
    Fairbanks, AK  United States  99701
  • Project Managers:

    Waldo, Dave

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Alaska Fairbanks

    College of Engineering & Mines
    P.O. Box 755960
    Fairbanks, AK  United States  99775-5960
  • Start Date: 20190601
  • Expected Completion Date: 20201201
  • Actual Completion Date: 20201231
  • Source Data: https://dot.alaska.gov/stwddes/research/assets/pdf/4000-151.pdf

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01724797
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Dec 9 2019 5:43PM