Evaluation of Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly Stabilization of Cohesionless Sandy Soil for Transportation Infrastructure

The stabilization of cohesionless soils with cementitious materials is essential for local materials to be used for construction activities, due to the lack of strength of such geomaterials in their native state. Generally, such stabilization results in enhanced mechanical properties due to formation of pozzolanic compounds which may satisfy the design requirements. However, there is a high carbon-footprint when traditional stabilizers are used. During natural disasters, such as flooding and hurricanes, pavements built using cohesionless soils may undergo significant damages. Recently, researchers have started exploring other alternative form of chemical additives that will be effective in stabilization yet will have low carbon footprint with high sustainable benefits. A new class of alumino-silicate-polymers, commonly known as Geopolymers have emerged due to its eco-friendly and sustainable nature and its cementitious properties. Geopolymer has received significant attention as an alternative to Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and lime for soil stabilization, and other applications for pavements, bridges, and other transportation structures. However, most of the previous studies on using Geopolymers for soil stabilization focused on stabilization of clay-rich soils. Some preliminary results also suggest that stabilization of sandy soils with Geopolymers might even results in more durable solution when compared to clay-rich soils, or use of OPC stabilizers, due to the excellent adhesion of the Geopolymers to the send particles. However, very limited studies were reported in the literature in this area and the proposed research plan aims at evaluating the performance of Geopolymers in effectively stabilizing cohesionless soils typical for coastal region of Region 6. A collaborative research study is formulated by teams from Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Department of Material Science and Engineering in Texas A & M University, College Station to investigate the feasibility of stabilizing cohesionless soils using Geopolymers and combination of Cement and Geopolymer for transportation infrastructure in Region 6. The effects of Geopolymer, dosage rates, and curing condition on overall performance and structural and mechanical properties of Geopolymer-stabilized soils have to be studied in order to optimize the use of Geopolymer derived from local waste and natural materials for transportation infrastructure in Region 6. As part of the proposed study, shrinkage, strength and stiffness tests in the form of unconfined compressive strength and repeated load triaxial tests will be conducted to evaluate the performance of stabilized soil. Both material characterization studies related to micro to macro behavioral changes of native soils and Geopolymer-and Cement-Geopolymer-treated soils will be carried out as a part of this research. During implementation phase, sustainable, resiliency, and life cycle analysis of Geopolymer-stabilized cohesionless soils will be evaluated. The proposed research should provide major benefits in the design of resilient, and ecofriendly infrastructure in Texas and other regional states in Region 6 where cohesionless soils are in abundance. The proposed research with Geopolymers, should provide sustainable greener alternative for transportation infrastructure that will be resilient with low distress problems. Therefore, proposed collaborative study focuses on these Tran-SET’s areas: Area 4: Improving durability and extending the life of the infrastructure (Sub-area: Application of new materials and technologies); Area 5: Preserving the environment; Area 6: Preserving the existing transportation system. Two doctoral students will work with PIs (Dr. Radovic, Dr. Puppala, and Dr. Chakraborty) to execute the proposed research tasks. The expected deliverable from this project is a technical report summarizing all tasks from both institutes including necessary design guidelines of resilient Geopolymer-stabilized cohesionless soils. The team also anticipates to publish several high impact research publications including journal and conference articles. Results of this project will be also disseminated in transportation related workshops and committee talks at TRB annual meetings and presented to the potential industry partners.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $ 65000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)

    Louisiana State University
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803
  • Project Managers:

    Mousa, Momen

  • Performing Organizations:

    Texas A&M University, College Station

    Zachry Department of Civil Engineering
    3136 TAMU
    College Station, TX  United States  77843-3136
  • Principal Investigators:

    Radovic, Miladin

  • Start Date: 20200801
  • Expected Completion Date: 20220201
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01757529
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747106
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Nov 10 2020 7:54PM