Enhancing of CBR Strength and Freeze–Thaw Performance of Silty Subgrade Using Three Reinforcement Categories

Ahmed Ebrahim Abu El-Maaty


Silty subgrade soil cannot satisfy the requirements of highway construction because of its low strength and durability problems. A wide range of reinforcements have been used to improve soil performance. Improving the soil properties has caused more interest in identifying new accessible resources for reinforcement. This paper investigates the effect of including different reinforcement types on reducing the rapid accumulation of pavement damage caused by freeze–thaw cycles or low strength of a silty pavement foundation. The improvement of CBR strength and freeze-thaw behavior was tested with the inclusion of three reinforcement categories: i) randomly distributed fibers (natural palm fibers and chemical polypropylene fibers), ii) chemical additives (lime and cement), and iii) waste or by-product materials (fly ash and silica fume). To represent unsaturated and saturated soil conditions for various field applications, both unsubmerged and submerged samples were investigated. Mass losses were also calculated after freezing–thawing cycles as criteria for durability behavior. The test results for the reinforced specimens were compared with unreinforced samples to clarify the effectiveness of each reinforcement type and content. Unsubmerged samples especially that reinforced with waste materials provided a significant improvement in CBR strength. For submerged conditions, the best performance was observed from the specimens treated with chemical additives. 10% of cement reinforcement and 20% of waste materials provide the highest resistance against the freeze–thaw cycles.


CBR Strength; Freeze-Thaw Behavior; Silty Subgrade; Reinforcement.


Anupam, Aditya Kumar, and Praveen Kumar. "Use of Various Agricultural and Industrial Waste Materials in Road Construction." Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 104 (2013): 264-273.

Hossain, K. M. A., M. Lachemi, and S. Easa. "Stabilized soils for construction applications incorporating natural resources of Papua New Guinea." Resources, Conservation and Recycling 51, no. 4 (2007): 711-731.

Hossain, K. M. A., and L. Mol. "Some engineering properties of stabilized clayey soils incorporating natural pozzolans and industrial wastes." Construction and Building Materials 25, no. 8 (2011): 3495-3501.

Sarbaz, Hossein, Hossein Ghiassian, and Ali Akbar Heshmati. "CBR strength of reinforced soil with natural fibres and considering environmental conditions." International Journal of Pavement Engineering 15, no. 7 (2014): 577-583.

Chegenizadeh, Amin, and H. R. Nikraz. "CBR test on reinforced clay." In The 14th Pan-American conference on soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering (PCSMGE), the 64th Canadian geotechnical conference (CGC), Oct, vol. 2. 2011.

Hohmann-Porebska, Maria. "Microfabric effects in frozen clays in relation to geotechnical parameters." Applied clay science 21, no. 1 (2002): 77-87.

Qi, Jilin, Pieter A. Vermeer, and Guodong Cheng. "A review of the influence of freeze‐thaw cycles on soil geotechnical properties." Permafrost and periglacial processes 17, no. 3 (2006): 245-252.

Qi, Jilin, Wei Ma, and Chunxia Song. "Influence of freeze–thaw on engineering properties of a silty soil." Cold regions science and technology 53, no. 3 (2008): 397-404.

ASTM D 560-03. Test methods for freezing and thawing compacted soil cement mixtures, American Society for Testing and Materials, West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, USA.

Zaimoglu, A. Sahin. "Freezing–thawing behavior of fine-grained soils reinforced with polypropylene fibers." Cold regions science and technology 60, no. 1 (2010): 63-65.

Guney, Yucel, Ahmet H. Aydilek, and M. Melih Demirkan. "Geoenvironmental behavior of foundry sand amended mixtures for highway subbases." Waste Management 26, no. 9 (2006): 932-945.

Roustaei, Mahya, Abolfazl Eslami, and Mahmoud Ghazavi. "Effects of freeze–thaw cycles on a fiber reinforced fine grained soil in relation to geotechnical parameters." Cold Regions Science and Technology 120 (2015): 127-137.

Khedari, Joseph, Borisut Suttisonk, Naris Pratinthong, and Jongjit Hirunlabh. "New lightweight composite construction materials with low thermal conductivity." Cement and Concrete Composites 23, no. 1 (2001): 65-70.

Seyed Esmaeil Mousavi and Leong Wong" Performance of Compacted and Stabilized Clay with Cement, Peat Ash and Silica Sand." Jordan Journal of Civil Engineering, Volume 9, No. 1(2015).

Mesbah, A., J. C. Morel, P. Walker, and Kh Ghavami. "Development of a direct tensile test for compacted earth blocks reinforced with natural fibers." Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering 16, no. 1 (2004): 95-98.

Bouhicha, M., F. Aouissi, and S. Kenai. "Performance of composite soil reinforced with barley straw." Cement and Concrete Composites 27, no. 5 (2005): 617-621.

Choubane B., Robert K., and Armaghani J." Full-scale laboratory evaluation of polypropylene fiber reinforcement of subgrade soils." Transportation Research Record (TRB) 01-2157, Washington D. C (2001).

Miller, Carol J., and Sami Rifai. "Fiber reinforcement for waste containment soil liners." Journal of Environmental Engineering 130, no. 8 (2004): 891-895.

Al-Rawas, Amer Ali, A. W. Hago, and Hilal Al-Sarmi. "Effect of lime, cement and Sarooj (artificial pozzolan) on the swelling potential of an expansive soil from Oman." Building and Environment 40, no. 5 (2005): 681-687.

Bahar, R., M. Benazzoug, and S. Kenai. "Performance of compacted cement-stabilised soil." Cement and concrete composites 26, no. 7 (2004): 811-820.

Zhang, Yang, Alex E. Johnson, and David J. White. "Laboratory freeze–thaw assessment of cement, fly ash, and fiber stabilized pavement foundation materials." Cold Regions Science and Technology 122 (2016): 50-57.

Mac Laren, and White M. A." Cement: Its Chemistry and Properties." Journal of Chemical Education, Vol.8 (No.6), 623(2003).

Li, Lin, Wei Shao, Yadong Li, and Bora Cetin. "Effects of Climatic Factors on Mechanical Properties of Cement and Fiber Reinforced Clays." Geotechnical and Geological Engineering 33, no. 3 (2015): 537-548.

Jafar Oujghaz, Hamid Shabanzadeh and Ghader Bagheri "Laboratory investigation on divergent fine-grained soil stabilized with sewage sludge ash and lime." Indian Journal of Fundamental and Applied Life Sciences, Vol. 5 (S4), pp. 351-361(2015).

Euro Soil Stab" Development of Design and Construction Methods to Stabilize Soft Organic Soils: Design Guide for soft soil stabilization." CT97-0351, European Commission, Industrial and Materials Technologies Programme (Rite-EuRam III) Bryssel(2002).

Chauhan, Mahipal Singh, Satyendra Mittal, and Bijayananda Mohanty. "Performance evaluation of silty sand subgrade reinforced with fly ash and fibre." Geotextiles and Geomembranes 26, no. 5 (2008): 429-435.

Sezer, Alper, Gözde İnan, H. Recep Yılmaz, and Kambiz Ramyar. "Utilization of a very high lime fly ash for improvement of Izmir clay." Building and environment 41, no. 2 (2006): 150-155.

Yi, Yaolin, Liyang Gu, and Songyu Liu. "Microstructural and mechanical properties of marine soft clay stabilized by lime-activated ground granulated blastfurnace slag." Applied Clay Science 103 (2015): 71-76.

Tastan, Erdem O., Tuncer B. Edil, Craig H. Benson, and Ahmet H. Aydilek. "Stabilization of organic soils with fly ash." Journal of geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering 137, no. 9 (2011): 819-833.

Al-Azzawi, Dr Adel A., Khalida A. Daud, and Muhammed A. Abdul Sattar. "Effect of Silica Fume Addition on the Behavior of Silty-Clayey Soils." Journal of Engineering and Development 16, no. 1 (2012).

Venu Gopal N. "Study of soil properties with silica fume as stabilizer and comparing the same with Rbi-81 and cost estimation." Post Graduate Diploma Thesis, Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum(2009).

Yusoff, Mohamed, Mohd Zuhri, Mohd Sapuan Salit, Napsiah Ismail, and Riza Wirawan. "Mechanical properties of short random oil palm fibre reinforced epoxy composites." Sains Malaysiana 39, no. 1 (2010): 87-92.

Kozlowski R. " Handbook of natural fibers: processing and applications." vol. 2. UK: Cambridge(2011).

Wei, Haibin, Yubo Jiao, and Hanbing Liu. "Effect of freeze–thaw cycles on mechanical property of silty clay modified by fly ash and crumb rubber." Cold Regions Science and Technology 116 (2015): 70-77.

Hazirbaba, Kenan, and Hamza Gullu. "California Bearing Ratio improvement and freeze–thaw performance of fine-grained soils treated with geofiber and synthetic fluid." Cold regions science and technology 63, no. 1 (2010): 50-60.

Güllü, Hamza, and Ali Khudir. "Effect of freeze–thaw cycles on unconfined compressive strength of fine-grained soil treated with jute fiber, steel fiber and lime." Cold Regions Science and Technology 106 (2014): 55-65.

Aldaood, Abdulrahman, Marwen Bouasker, and Muzahim Al-Mukhtar. "Impact of freeze–thaw cycles on mechanical behaviour of lime stabilized gypseous soils." Cold Regions Science and Technology 99 (2014): 38-45.

Hejazi, Sayyed Mahdi, Mohammad Sheikhzadeh, Sayyed Mahdi Abtahi, and Ali Zadhoush. "A simple review of soil reinforcement by using natural and synthetic fibers." Construction and building materials 30 (2012): 100-116.

Modarres, Amir, and Yaser Mohammadi Nosoudy. "Clay stabilization using coal waste and lime—Technical and environmental impacts." Applied Clay Science 116 (2015): 281-288.

Marandi, S. M., M. H. Bagheripour, R. Rahgozar, and H. Zare. "Strength and ductility of randomly distributed palm fibers reinforced silty-sand soils." American Journal of Applied Sciences 5, no. 3 (2008): 209-220.

Wang, Tian-liang, Yao-jun Liu, Han Yan, and Lei Xu. "An experimental study on the mechanical properties of silty soils under repeated freeze–thaw cycles." Cold Regions Science and Technology 112 (2015): 51-65.

Cui, Zhen-Dong, Peng-Peng He, and Wei-Hao Yang. "Mechanical properties of a silty clay subjected to freezing–thawing." Cold Regions Science and Technology 98 (2014): 26-34.

Full Text: PDF

DOI: 10.28991/cej-2016-00000014


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 Ahmed Ebrahim Abu El-Maaty

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.