Soil Stabilization Method

Soil Stabilization Methods: Enhancing the Strength of Your Soil

What Is Soil Stabilization?

Soil stabilization is a method of improving soil properties by adding and mixing other materials to it. Soil stabilization is a method of enhancing the shear strength parameters of soil and thus increasing the bearing capacity of the soil.

 It is generally required when the soil under the foundation for construction is not suitable to carry the structural load.

Soil stabilization methods are a remedial measure that reduces soil permeability and compressibility of the soil mass in earth structures and increases its shear strength and which helps in reducing the settlement of structures.

The soil stabilization methods involve the use of stabilizing agents in weak soils to improve their geotechnical properties such as compressibility, strength, permeability, and durability

In road construction work, soil and gravel are used as the main ingredients in pavement layers. For that, it required proper tensile stresses and strain spectrum, and the soil used for constructing pavement should have a special specification.

By using soil stabilization unbound soil materials can be stabilized with cementitious materials (cement, lime, fly ash, bitumen, or a combination of these).

The stabilized soil mass has higher strength, lower permeability, and lower compressibility than the native soil. Soil stabilization can be done in two ways,

1) In situ stabilization and

2) Ex – situ stabilization.

Note that, the stabilization method is not a magic tool by which every soil property can be improved for the better. The amount of additives and mix proportion depends on which soil properties have to be modified.

The major and important properties that every engineer wants to improve our volume are stability, strength, compressibility, permeability, and durability.

11 Types of Soil Stabilization Methods

1. Mechanical Soil Stabilization Method

The mechanical Soil Stabilization Method is the method of improving soil properties by changing its gradation.

This method of soil stabilization methods includes compaction and densification of soil matter by application of mechanical energy using various sorts of rollers, rammers, vibration techniques, and sometimes blasting.

The stability of the soil generally depends on the inherent properties of the soil material. In this method, two or more natural soils are mixed together which is superior to any of its components.

Mechanical stabilization of soils is done by mixing or blending soils of two or more gradations to obtain a material meeting the required specification.

2. Lime Soil Stabilization Method

Lime stabilization is one of the cheapest soil stabilization methods.

The soil stabilization method in which lime is added to the soil to improve its properties is known as lime stabilization.

There are different types of lime used like hydrated high calcium lime, monohydrated dolomite lime, calcite quick lime, and dolomite lime.

The amount of lime generally added in most soil stabilizers is in the range of 5% to 10%.

Lime  Soil Stabilization Method
Soil Stabilization Methods: Enhancing the Strength of Your Soil 10

Lime Soil stabilization method improvement properties show by increase in strength brought by cation exchange capacity rather than the cementing effect brought by the pozzolanic reaction.

Lime stabilization is also indicated by the pozzolanic reaction in which pozzolana materials react with lime in presence of water to produce cementitious compounds. The effect created is indicated by either quicklime, CaO, or hydrated lime, Ca(OH)2.

The lime stabilizations method is most widely utilized in geotechnical and environmental applications.

It has some important applications like an encapsulation of contaminants, highway, slope stabilization, rendering of backfill, and foundation improvement.

However, any existence of sulfur and organic materials may inhibit the lime stabilization process. Sulphate (e.g. gypsum) generally reacts with lime and swell, which may have an effect on soil strength.

Read More: Specific Gravity of Soil Test with Sample Report

3. Cement Soil Stabilization Method

Soil cement stabilization, in which soil particles are bonded together by the cement hydration process grows into crystals that can interlock with one another giving a high compressive strength.

To achieve a hard and strong bond between soil particles cement particles need to coat most of the material particles.

Cement Soil Stabilization
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To assure good contact between cement and soil particles for proper bond and efficient soil stabilization, cement particles must be well mixed with certain particle size particles of soil. Soil cement is generally known as a highly compact mixture of soil, cement, and water.

Soil–cement bond material is hard and durable material as the cement hydrates and develops strength.

Cement stabilization is mostly employed when the compaction process is continuing. When cement is added to the soil it fills the void between the soil particles, and the void ratio of soil is reduced.

As cement and soil particles are mixed well water is added to the soil, and cement reacts with water and goes hard. So, the unit weight of the soil is increased.

As cement in the soil gets harder the shear strength and bearing capacity are also increased. Cement in stabilized soil decreases the liquid limit and increases the plasticity index and workability of clayey soils.

It is fact that Cement chemical reactions are not dependent on soil minerals, and the key role is its reaction with water that may be available in any soil. This is the primary reason that cement is mostly used to stabilize soil of any type.

4. Chemical Soil Stabilization Method

Chemical stabilization of soil is a method of modifying the physical synthetic around and within clay particles in which the earth obliges less water to fulfill the static imbalance.

Chemical Soil Stabilization
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Calcium chloride generally has the property of hygroscopic and deliquescent and is used as a water-retentive additive in mechanically stabilized soil bases and surfacing.

This process lower vapor pressure, surface tension increases, and the rate of evaporation decreases.

It also lowers the freezing point of water and which helps in the reduction of frost heave action. It lowers the electric double layer, the salt reduces the water pick up and thus the loss of strength of fine-grained soils. Calcium chloride generally acts as a soil flocculent and facilitates compaction.

Frequent application of calcium chloride may result in loss of chemicals by leaching action. For making effective application of salt, the relative humidity of the atmosphere should be above 30%.

Sodium chloride is also can be used for this same purpose with a stabilizing action similar to that of calcium chloride.

Sodium silicate is also yet another compound that is used in combination with other chemicals such as calcium chloride, alkyl chlorosilanes, silicones, polymers, chrome lignin, amines, etc.

5. Fly ash Soil Stabilization Method

Fly ash stabilization is nowadays becoming more popular due to its wide availability. Fly ash stabilization is an inexpensive method and takes less time than any other method.

Fly ash wide history in the past and present as an engineering material and has been trustfully employed in geotechnical applications.

Fly ash Soil Stabilization
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Fly ash is a by-product or waste product for coal-based power generation plants. Fly ash has little or fewer cementation properties compared to lime and cement.

It is known as secondary binders; because these binders cannot produce the desired effect on their own.

However, in the presence of primary binders, it can react chemically to form a cementation compound that contributes to the improved strength of soft soil.

However, soil fly ash stabilization has below stabilization;

(a) Soil stabilized by this method has low moisture content; therefore, dewatering may be required.

(b) In this method soil and fly ash cured below zero and then soaked in water are highly susceptible to slaking and strength loss.

(c) Fly ash may add expansive minerals to the soil-fly ash mixture, which reduces the long-term strength and durability.

6. Rice Husk ash Soil Stabilization Method

Solid waste disposal by landfilling can be reduced by reusing such waste which is having desirable properties such that it can be utilized for various geotechnical applications viz. land reclamation, construction of embankment, etc.

There is various methods used to improve the soil properties by stabilization that includes densification (such as shallow compaction, dynamic deep compaction, pre-loading), drainage, inclusions (such as geo-synthetics and stone columns), and stabilizations.

Rice Husk ash Soil Stabilization
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The Rice Husk Ash is of suitable material that appears to be an inert material with the silica in the crystalline form suggested by the structure of the particles, but it also may react with lime to form calcium silicates.

Risk husk is similar reactive to fly ash, which is more finely divided. So Rice Husk Ash can be used for soil stabilization method would give great results.

7. Bituminous Stabilization

The bituminous soil stabilization method is the method in which a suitable amount of bituminous material is added and mixed in soil or aggregate material to produce a stable base or wearing surface.

Bituminous materials in the soil increase the cohesion and load-bearing capacity of the soil and render it resistant to the action of water.

Bituminous Stabilization
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Bitumen stabilization of soil is generally done by using asphalt cement, asphalt cutback, or asphalt emulsions.

The types of bitumen to be used for stabilization are generally dependent on the type of soil to be stabilized, the method of construction, and weather conditions. Tar binders in frost must be avoided because of their high-temperature maximum susceptibility.

Asphalts and tars are mostly used in pavement construction as bituminous materials. Bituminous materials when added to soil improve soil cohesion and reduced water absorption.

8. Thermal Stabilization

Thermal change in soil properties can significantly improve the properties of the soil. Thermal stabilization is done by both cooling and heating of soil.

Heating: when soil is heated, its water content is decreasing. This change will decrease electric repulsion between clay particles and the strength of the soil is increased.

Freezing: cooling of any soil is generally resulting in a small amount of loss of strength due to an increase in interparticle repulsion. However, in case, if the soil is cooled to the freezing point the pore water freezes, and the soil, is stabilized.

9. Electrical Stabilization

Electrical stabilization is generally done by using one of the known methods as electro-osmosis. When direct current is passed through clayey soil, pore water is transferred toward the negative electrode (cathode).

 This change is generally happening due to the presence of positive ions (cations) that are present in the water towards the cathode.

Due to the removal of water, the strength of the soil is considerably increased. Electro-osmosis is one of the costly methods of soil stabilization methods mainly used for the drainage of cohesive soils. Incidentally, this method also improves the properties of soil.

10. Stabilization by Geo-textile and Fabrics

Geotextiles are made from porous synthetic materials such as polyethylene, polyester, nylons, and polyvinyl chloride.

There is a different variety of geotextiles available like woven, non-woven, and grid. Geotextile materials generally have high strength.

Soil Stabilization by Geotextile and Fabrics
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When geotextile is properly combined and embedded in the soil it will contribute to its stability. This type of soil stabilization method is generally used for the construction of unpaved roads over soft soils.

Reinforcing the soil with geotextile materials or metallic strips and providing an anchor or tie back to restrain a facing skin element.

Past research has shown that the load-bearing and strength of subgrades and base course of soil materials can be improved through the addition of no biodegradable reinforcing materials, such as fibers, geotextiles, geo-grids, and geo-composites.

These materials can improve the quality and durability of future highways and may reduce the cost of construction.

At present, lots of research and studies are going on these materials based on tests conducted in the laboratory that are only partially complete. Detailed study and practical research are essential for the future use of geotextile materials.

11. Recycled and Waste Products

There are lots of waste materials in the world and proper disposal of such waste materials as crushed old asphalt pavement, copper and zinc slag, paper mill sludge, and rubber tire chips are essential to developing proper and effective soil stabilization methods.

There is a service need to recycle hazardous materials, it will be necessary to develop a realistic, economical, and effective means of assessing the risk of pollution posed by these materials through leachates and emissions.


In conclusion, the soil stabilization methods offer effective solution for enhancing strength of soil and stability in construction projects, through biological techniques, soil properties, chemical properties and mechanical properties can be improved a solid foundation for development of infrastructure.

This method reduces environmental impacts, promote sustainable construction practices, mitigation erosion and thorough soil testing and analysis.

Implementation of soil stabilization methods ensure the longevity and success of construction projects by enhancing soil strength and minimizing the need for excessive excavation or soil replacement.


What is soil stabilization?

Soil stabilization refers to the process of improving the physical properties of soil to enhance its strength, durability, and load-bearing capacity. It involves various techniques and methods to make the soil suitable for construction and prevent issues such as settling, erosion, or failure.

Why is soil stabilization important in construction?

Soil stabilization is important in construction because it helps ensure the stability and integrity of structures built on weak or unstable soils. It increases the bearing capacity of the soil, reduces settlement, improves slope stability, and minimizes the risk of structural failure.

What are the benefits of soil stabilization?

Soil stabilization offers several benefits, such as:
Increased strength and load-bearing capacity of the soil.
Improved slope stability and reduced risk of landslides.
Minimized settlement and improved foundation performance.
Prevention of soil erosion and sediment control.
Reduced long-term maintenance and repair costs.
Enhanced durability and longevity of structures.

How long does soil stabilization last?

The longevity of soil stabilization depends on various factors, including the specific stabilization method used, soil conditions, and the design and construction quality of the project. When implemented correctly, soil stabilization can provide long-term benefits and maintain its effectiveness for many years.

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