Rapid Soil Stabilization of Soft Clay Soils for Contingency Airfields


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Virginia Tech


Since World War II, the military has sought methods for rapid stabilization of weak soils for support of its missions worldwide. Over the past 60 years, cement and lime have consistently been found to be among the most effective stabilizers for road and airfield applications, although recent developments show promise using nontraditional stabilizers. The purpose of this research is to determine the most effective stabilizers and dosage rates of stabilizers to increase the strength of soft clay soils (initial CBR = 2) within 72 hours for contingency airfields to support C-17 and C-130 aircraft traffic. Pavement design charts for various aircraft loading conditions were generated using the Pavement-Transportation Computer Assisted Structural Engineering Program, which was developed by the Engineering Research and Development Center to determine ranges of required strength and thickness for an underlying subbase layer and a top base layer, such as stabilized soil, crushed-aggregate, or aluminum matting. From laboratory studies, the required design strengths for many loading conditions were achieved by treating clay with 2%-4% pelletized quicklime for the underlying subbase layer, and treating clay with 2%-4% pelletized quicklime, 1% RSC15 fibers, and 11% Type III cement for the top base layer. While the base layer requires a minimum thickness of six inches, the required subbase layer thickness is often quite large and may be difficult to construct. However, newly developed construction equipment currently used for subgrade stabilization on civilian projects should be able to stabilize the soil down to these large required depths and make construction possible.



stabilization, cement, lime, pavement design, fibers