Influence of Curing Temperature on Strength of Cement-treated Soil and Investigation of Optimum Mix Design for the Wet Method of Deep Mixing
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The Deep Mixing Method (DMM) is a widely used, in-situ ground improvement technique that modifies and improves the engineering properties of soil by blending the soil with a cementitious binder. Laboratory specimens were prepared to represent soil improved by the wet method of deep mixing, in which the binder is delivered in the form of a cement-water slurry. To study the influence of curing temperature on the strength of the treated soil, specimens were cured in temperature-controlled water baths for the desired curing time. After curing, unconfined compressive strength (UCS) tests were conducted on the specimens. To investigate the optimum mix design for the wet method of deep mixing, UCS tests were performed to measure the strength of cured specimens, and laboratory miniature vane shear tests were conducted on uncured specimens to measure the undrained shear strength (su), which is used to represent the consistency of the mixture right after mixing. The consistency is important for field mixing because a softer mixture is easier to mix thoroughly. Based on the UCS test results, an equation that can provide a good fit to the strength data of the cured binder-treated soil is proposed. When the curing temperature was changed during curing, the UCS of the specimen cured at a low temperature and then cured at a high temperature was greater than the UCS of the specimen cured at a high temperature first. This seems to be due to different effects of elevated curing temperatures at early and late curing times on the cement reaction rates, such that elevating the curing temperature later produces a more constant reaction rate, which contributes to the reaction efficiency. An optimum mix design that minimizes the amount of binder while satisfying both a target strength of the cured mixture and a target consistency of the uncured mixture can be established by using the fitted equations for UCS and su. The amount of binder required for the optimum mix design increases as the plasticity of the base soil increases and the water content of the base soil (wbase soil) decreases.
General Audience Abstract
The Deep Mixing Method (DMM) is a ground improvement technique widely used to improve the strength and stiffness of loose sands, soft clays, and organic soils. The DMM is useful for both inland and coastal construction. There are two types of deep mixing. The dry method of deep mixing involves adding the binder in the form of dry powder, and the wet method of deep mixing involves mixing binder-water slurry with the soil. The strength of the cured mixture is significantly influenced by the amount of added cement and water, the curing time, and the curing temperature. This research evaluates the influence of curing temperature on the strength of cured cement-treated soil mixture. Mixture proportions and curing conditions also influence the consistency of the mixture right after mixing, which is important because it affects the amount of mixing energy necessary to thoroughly mix the binder slurry with the soil. This research developed and evaluated fitting equations that correlate the cured mixture strength and the uncured mixture consistency with mixture proportions and curing conditions. These fitting equations can then be used to select an economical and practical mix design method that minimizes the amount of binder needed to achieve both the desired cured strength and uncured consistency. The amount of binder required for the optimum mix design increases as the plasticity of the base soil increases and the water content of the base soil (wbase soil) decreases.
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