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Pavement Construction 

on 
Expansive Soils

Gant Yasanäyake, PhD, PE
Pavement Design Engineer, Maricopa County DOT
Phoenix, Arizona

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
Topics
p

Introduction
Factors affecting soil expansion
T
Types expansive soils
i il
Expansion potential
Design considerations
Preventive measures

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
Introduction: Expansive Soils
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•Soils that has a potential for 
shrinking or swelling under 
g g Soil H
changing moisture conditions

•Deformations are significantly 
greater than elastic deformations

•Movement is usually uneven 
M t i   ll    
ΔH
•Causes extensive damage to 
g Expanded
p
structures and pavements Soil H

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
Road Damages Caused by Expansive Soil

2%

BEFORE

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
Road Damages Caused by Expansive Soil

Crack

-0.5%
4%

AFTER

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
Road Damages Caused by Expansive Soil

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
Road Damages …
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Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
Road Damages Caused by Expansive Soil
Construction
Joint
Concrete Slab Concrete Slab

Expansive Subgrade

BEFORE

Concrete Slab

Expansive Subgrade

AFTER

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
Road Damages …
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Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
What are Expansive Soils
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Kaolinite

CLAY Illite

Montmorillonite
Highly
E
Expansive
i

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
Factors Affecting Soil Volume Change
g g

Soil
Properties
Environmental
Conditions

State of
Stress

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
Clay Factors Affecting Soil Volume Change
Mineralogy
Montmorillonite gives
M t ill it   i Soil Water
High Volume Changes
Chemistry
Mg2+< Na+

Soil Suction
More water attracted 
when suction is high
Soil
Properties
Plasticity
High PI gives 
more swell

Soil Structure
dispersive clays expand
di i l d
more than
Dry Density flocculated soils 
Higher density gives 
larger swelling potential
g g

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
Factors Affecting Soil Volume Change
Initial Moisture
Co d t o
Condition
Moisture variation:
either absorb dry out

Environmental
Climate Conditions
Semi-Arid and Arid mean
more moisture fluctuations

Depth to
Groundwater Temperature
Moisture diffuses
to cooler areas

Water Sources P
Permeability
bilit
Poor drainage
Irrigation/Landscaping Fissured soil means
Removal of vegetation more swelling

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
Factors Affecting Soil Volume Change

Stress
History Depth of
Clay Layer

Loading
State of
Stress Cyclic Wetting
And Drying

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
MCDOT Roadway Design Manual
Chapter 10
Pavement Design Guide

Section 10.2.4.4 Roadbed Swelling

www.mcdot.maricopa.gov
> Manuals
> Road
R dD Design
i M Manuall
(Revised 2004)

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
MCDOT Roadway Design Manual
y g
Subgrade
S il
Soils

Plasticity Index > 15


Passing #200 > 20%

Potentially
Expansive

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
MCDOT Roadway Design Manual
y g
Table 10.2.8 – Recommended Treatment for Swelling Subgrade Soils

Expansion
Recommended Treatment
Potential

< 2% None

2-5% Stabilize in place to a depth of 6 inches

>5% Stabilize in place to a depth of 12 inches

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
How Expansive a Soil Can Be ?
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Use the swell test

Remold the sample to 95%


of maximum dry density at 2%
below optimum moisture

Set up the sample in the


apparatus, saturate, and allow
the sample to soak for 24 hrs

Expansion Potential is the


height increase expressed
as a percentage
t

This is the common practice


in Arizona

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
NRCS Expansion Potential Map

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
Map of Central Arizona  
Map of Central Arizona  ASU, 2006
ASU, 2006

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
Design Considerations
g
Lime treatment
Maricopa County
Recommends

Cement treatment

Removal and replacement


p
Alternative
Surcharge Loading recommended
by the County

Prewetting
Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
Preventive Measures

Proper
p drainage
g

Restricted irrigation / landscaping

Moisture control by horizontal


or vertical moisture barriers

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
Acknowledgements
g

Joe Phillips, PE — Senior Pavement Consultant, AMEC 

B
Bob Erdman, PE
b E d  PE —E
Engineering Branch Manager, MCDOT
gi i g B h M g  MCDOT

John Shi, PhD, PE — Materials Engineer, MCDOT

Claudia Zapata, PhD — Assistant Professor, ASU

Sa
Sandra Houston, PhD, PE
d a ousto , D, — Professor, ASU
o esso , SU

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona
Thank You!

Q
Questions
i ?

Pavements/Materials February 2
2--4, 2009
Conference ASU, Tempe, Arizona