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Literature Review Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads


DFID Project Source References Subsector: Theme: Project Title: Project Reference: Transport T2 Design of stabilised sub-bases for heavily trafficked roads R6027, R8010

Copyright Transport Research Laboratory, UK and the Bureau of Research and Standards, Department of Public Works and Highways, Philippines. This document is an output from a co-operative research programme between the Department for International Development (DFID), of the UK and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Philippines. The project was funded from both the DFID Knowledge and Research Programme which is carried out for the benefit of developing countries, and from the resources of the Bureau of Research and Standards of DPWH. The views expressed are not necessarily those of DFID or DPWH.
The Transport Research Laboratory and TRL are trading names of TRL Limited, a member of the Transport Research Foundation Group of Companies. TRL Limited. Registered in England, Number 3142272. Registered Office: Old Wokingham Road, Crowthorne, Berkshire, RG45 6AU, United Kingdom.

The information contained herein is the property of the Transport Research Laboratory and the Department of Public Works and Highways, and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of DFID or DPWH. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the matter presented in this report is relevant, accurate and up-to-date at the time of publication, neither the Transport Research Laboratory nor the Department of Works and Highways accept liability for any error or omission.

.................................16 6.........15 6.....1.............................................1 Suitability of materials for stabilisation ..................................................................2 Pozzolanas .........................................1 Blastfurnace slag.....5...................3 Lime Stabilisation .........1 The role of a stabilised sub-base in a flexible pavement.......................... 5 3.......2 Mix design ............. 9 4 ELASTIC MODULUS........2...........14 5.................... 8 3.......................................13 5.......................................................................2................1........................................................4 Rapid setting.......................................................5 Other types of stabilisation...........................................................................10 5............2..............................................2 Durability .........................2...............................................12 5.....4 Pre-construction trials ...................15 6..................................................... 8 3..........................1...... 5 3....4 Bitumen or Tar stabilisation ....................... 6 3............1 Quantity of stabiliser ...................5..........1 Mechanical Stabilisation..16 ......................................................................... 8 3........................................1 Construction .............2.......................................Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads CONTENTS 1 INTRODUCTION .................2...........15 6..................5 Curing time ..............................................10 5.....1.....1 Post Construction ............................................... 5 3..............................3 Compaction and limited time ..............1 Soil Cement..................2 The role of a stabilised sub-base in a concrete pavement....1......................................................3 Lean concrete .5.. 6 3....................16 6....2 Cement Stabilisation ..............................................................1...............................................14 5............................. 6 3....................... 9 3.........................................................3 Non-pozzolanic chemical soil stabilisers ................ 4 3 TYPES OF STABILISATION......................................2 Mixing.........Strength.....................3 Construction equipment ...................................16 6..........2...............1.............15 6 PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH STABILISATION ....................................................................................................6 Variability..........................1 The role of the sub-base .......1............... 1 2 STABILISATION IN ROAD PAVEMENTS....... 9 5 TESTING AND MIX DESIGN ..............................16 6....................... 3 2......2 Cement Bound granular Material (CBM) .......... 7 3.......................................................................................... 2 2........................... 3 2........

......................6 The Philippines......................2....................................1....................................................19 7.................................................2 TRL ORN31 Practice .................4 Australia........4 Break-up ................................2....2 Durability ...............................................................3........................24 10 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PILOT TRIALS IN THE PHILIPPINES..............21 7......................17 7..17 6..................................................7 Testing..16 6.....................................................2 Designs for flexible pavements..................................................20 7...Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads 6..................................25 11 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT...............2 Bituminous pavements .....1 Concrete pavements ...................................................................................27 .........................................17 6..........1 UK Practice........................................................18 7...........................................................26 12 REFERENCES / BIBLIOGRAPHY....................................17 7......................21 8 PAVEMENT DESIGN FOR HEAVILY TRAFFICKED ROADS .............................................1 Carbonation.........17 7 CURRENT STABILISATION PRACTICE AROUND THE WORLD........3 USA Practice ...............2.....2........................2 Sulphate and salt damage.................................................20 7..........1............................................................16 6..................22 9 CONCLUSIONS ..19 7...................1 Austroads Pavement Design Guide.........17 7.............................................1......18 7....3............................................................. .................................................................20 7......1 Designs for concrete pavements ..........................................16 6.....................5 South Africa .....................................4................3 Cracking ....................

The report concludes that there is a role for stabilised sub-bases in the Philippines. The benefits of this form of construction are also discussed. As well as references to the literature it also contains an extensive bibliography of work on this subject. indicates when it should be used. The report notes that few of these design manuals produce savings in pavement thickness from the use of stabilised sub-bases even though they are frequently recognised to have higher strengths than unbound granular materials.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Stabilisation is the process of mixing a stabiliser. They are merely substitutes. Stabilisation technology is extremely relevant for heavily trafficked pavements where its' benefits are beginning to be appreciated. for example cement. This report discusses advantages and disadvantages of these designs. which is presently not the case in the Philippines where a granular sub-base is still specified. In these design manuals. The various pavement design manuals also showed that stabilised sub-bases are often used under concrete pavements. The use of stabilisation to improve the properties of a material is becoming more widespread due to the increased strength and load spreading ability that these materials can offer. the report outlines technical recommendations for pilot trials of stabilised subbases in the Philippines. This report describes the basic types of stabilisation. many of which include in their specifications the design of asphalt pavements with stabilised sub-bases. marginal materials after suitable stabilisation. i . with a soil or imported aggregate to produce a material whose strength is greater than that of the original unbound material. Finally. Many of the pavement design manuals from other countries were examined. Australia and South Africa. These include manuals from the UK. Their use also permits the use of lower-grade. USA. stabilised sub-bases are used with either stabilised or granular roadbases. These trials would be constructed under the auspices of the Bureau of Research and Standards of the DPWH and monitored under a DPWH/DFID jointly funded research project being undertaken by staff from BRS and TRL. and discusses the main advantages and disadvantages of its use. The role of the subbase and other pavement layers are also discussed for both flexible and rigid pavements. especially for heavily trafficked pavements where they could improve performance and hence reduce maintenance costs. An extensive literature review of international publications was carried out and this report describes some of the latest research and design methodology associated with stabilised materials used for sub-bases on heavily trafficked roads. which may reduce haulage of high quality unbound materials and depletion of resources.

The term ‘heavily trafficked roads’ varies between design standards and countries. the term is applied to roads with a design life of more than 10 million equivalent standard axles (ESA). for example 5 to 10 per cent of cement added to a clean gravel will cause it to behave more like a concrete. if not better than that of a good quality natural material. The performance should be at least equal to. In this report. There are many types of stabiliser that can be used. Figure 1 Rate of increase of strength with age for cemented material (After Croney. for example up to 2 per cent cement. 1998) 1 . each with their own advantages and disadvantages. The type and quantity of stabiliser added depends mainly on the strength and performance that needs to be achieved. This report describes the basic types of stabilisation. In addition. The term ‘stabilisation’ is the process whereby the natural strength and durability of a soil or granular material is increased by the addition of a stabilising agent. . The strength of a stabilised material will often continue to increase for a period of several years from the time it is constructed. the main advantages and disadvantages of the technique and the latest research and design methodology for such materials. The addition of even small amounts of stabiliser. as shown in Figure 1 (Croney. 1998). can modify the properties of a material.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads STABILISED SUB-BASES FOR HEAVILY TRAFFICKED ROADS 1 INTRODUCTION The main objective of stabilisation is to improve the performance of a material by increasing its strength. it may provide a greater resistance to the ingress of water. stiffness and durability. Larger amounts of stabiliser will cause a large change in the properties of that material. as an approximate guide.

the material is often described as ‘modified’ rather than ‘bound’. the success of mixing the material with the stabiliser. the stabiliser content.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads The strength of a stabilised material will depend on many factors. For stabilisation to be successful. for example if cement is used as the stabiliser then a sandy soil is much more likely to yield satisfactory results than a soft clay (Watson. reduced maintenance costs throughout the life of the pavement or an extension of the normal pavement life. For example a material for use as a base layer should only be stabilised if it could be used unstabilised for a sub-base layer. the moisture content. Netterberg (1987) reports that unless proven by experience or durability testing. From the point of view of bearing capacity. The engineer is trying to build a problem-free pavement that will last for its intended design life for the most economic price. The material to be stabilised must be tested to ensure that it is compatible with the intended stabiliser – the subject of testing will be discussed later in this report. The costs of hauling materials from further away may also increase. 2 STABILISATION IN ROAD PAVEMENTS There are many different reasons for using stabilisation. It is also recommended from experience that layers which are less than 150mm thick should not be stabilised (Lay. the degree of compaction achieved. thus compounding the problem. These include: • • • • • • the chemical composition of the material to be stabilised. One solution is to stabilise locally available materials that presently may not conform to existing specifications. The cost savings associated with stabilisation can take many forms including reduced construction costs. the best materials are those which derive their shear strength partly from friction and partly from cohesion. Ultimately the main reason for using stabilisation will usually be cost savings. 1994). ranging from lack of good quality materials to a desire to reduce aggregate usage for environmental reasons. but a limit of 80kPa (indirect tension) or 800kPa (Unconfined Compressive Strength after 7 days moist curing) for a reasonably graded material is suggested by NAASRA (1986). be capable of sustaining the applied loads without deformation) and should retain its strength and stability indefinitely. The location of suitable materials for road construction will become increasingly difficult as conventional high-quality materials are depleted in many areas.e. the material should attain the desired strength (i.” 2 . subsequent external environmental effects. Another recommendation from the same report is to “discount any increase in strength of more than 100 per cent. When small quantities of stabiliser are added. a material should not be improved too much. Not all materials can be successfully stabilised. There are no fixed criteria for these definitions. 1986/88).

In order to identify the benefits of stabilising subbases. it is necessary to examine the role of the sub-base for each pavement type. laid and compacted. It mainly acts as a structural layer helping to spread the wheel loads so that the subgrade is not overstressed. based on experience from France. 1987). 1993). then water penetration can lead to further deterioration. reflection cracking in an asphalt surface layer can be minimised by having an unbound granular roadbase. 2. It can also act as a drainage layer. This unbound roadbase provides not only a large proportion of the structural load spreading but also assists in delaying or preventing reflection cracking from the shrinkage and movement of the stabilised layer. It is reported (LCPC. This cracking is caused by changes in moisture content and temperature and cannot be avoided. 1997) that a typical mode of deterioration for this type of pavement. particularly if the underlying sub-base is not stabilised. is slight rutting attributed to the unbound granular layer and eventually fine transverse cracking which occurs after much trafficking. 3 . Stabilisation of the sub-base under a granular base. The selection of material and the design of the sub-base will depend upon the particular design function of the layer and also the expected in-situ moisture conditions (TRL. limiting the horizontal tensile strains at the bottom of the bituminous surfacing. When stabilised the sub-base provides much of the structural rigidity in the pavement. although the reasons for doing this can vary. One of the main problems with stabilised layers is that they crack to a greater or lesser degree.1 The role of the sub-base The sub-base is an important layer in both flexible and rigid pavements. It also plays a useful role as a separation layer between the base and the subgrade and provides a good working platform on which the other paving materials can be transported.1. A cement stabilised granular base directly under an asphalt surfacing will frequently result in reflection cracking as shrinkage cracks in the base propagate through the asphalt surfacing.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads Capping and sub-base layers can usually be stabilised without significant problems. The amount of cracking will depend on many factors.1 The role of a stabilised sub-base in a flexible pavement A stabilised. sub-base provides greater load spreading ability and hence reduces stresses imposed on the subgrade. and also assists during the compaction of the upper granular layers and hence increases their ability to withstand deformation. It is reported that a thickness of 125-150mm of granular cover over a stabilised sub-base is generally sufficient to substantially delay or stop reflection cracking (NAASRA. 2. however. The use of a stabilised sub-base with a granular base is often referred to as an ‘upsidedown pavement’ (Lay 1986). If cracks are left unsealed. and therefore stiffer. Stabilised sub-bases can be used for both flexible and rigid road pavements. can have many benefits without causing reflection cracking in the surface of an asphalt pavement. but generally a stronger material will produce wider cracks at a greater crack spacing than a weaker material. The granular roadbase is subjected to relatively high traffic stresses and crushed aggregate is often used to withstand attrition and to assist in achieving a high value of elastic modulus. If the sub-base is stabilised.

the national design standards specify that all rigid pavements must be constructed with a cemented 4 . For a concrete pavement with a granular sub-base. rocking or faulting. lack of bearing capacity – mainly at joints or cracks where pumping and erosion of the support can aggravate the problem. which minimises water loss from the fresh concrete and also provide a hard layer beneath the slabs to aid compaction. tensile stresses at the base of the concrete layer due to inadequate strength and/or thickness of the concrete and 2. 1978). rather than increasing the structural stability (i. including the UK. The stress generated in a concrete slab partly depends on the stiffness ratio between the slab and the underlying support. the two major modes of damage are: 1. With a granular sub-base.1. especially where the subgrade is either weak or expansive because the non-uniform support will eventually lead to the fatigue failure of the pavement. the term ‘sub-base’ refers to the layer immediately below the concrete slab. counteracting the effect of unsatisfactory subgrade support.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads 2. Stabilised sub-bases provide a uniform. resulting in slab cracking. This uniform support appears to be crucial. They can also aid construction of the concrete slabs by providing a low permeability surface. He states that the main function of the sub-base is to ensure uniform support to the concrete. the high elastic modulus of the concrete layer causes most of the traffic-induced stresses to be taken in the concrete layer in the form of bending stresses. This eventually leads to a void under the slab. The problem of ‘pumping’ mainly occurs on roads built on subgrades with a high fines content. According to O’Flaherty (1994). In a concrete road. strength) of the pavement. Use of a stabilised sub-base. can help to alleviate this second mode of damage.e. provided it has adequate strength and durability. If the subgrade could be relied upon to provide uniform support throughout the life of the pavement then a sub-base may not be required and the slab could be cast directly on the prepared in-situ soil. Use of a stabilised sub-base can frequently prevent pumping by a) stopping or reducing water penetration to underlying layers and b) ensuring that there are no free fines available immediately beneath the concrete slab. providing it is good quality and naturally uniform. In many countries. For example. It has been found that substitution of the top layer of a weak subgrade by a stronger unbound granular layer has little influence on the stresses at the bottom of the slab (TRRL. a gravel sub-base 150mm thick on a weak subgrade will only reduce the tensile stress by about 10 per cent in a thin slab and less in a thicker slab. there is a common misunderstanding about the main function of the sub-base beneath a concrete slab.2 The role of a stabilised sub-base in a concrete pavement For a concrete pavement. stable and permanent support for concrete slabs throughout their design life. fines in the subgrade or sub-base can go into suspension if water is present and this fine material can be pumped out of a joint or crack under the passage of heavy wheel loads.

this will increase to a range of approximately 2. but no chemical reaction is involved. are well understood and so they will not be discussed further in this report. It may also be necessary to add a stabilising agent to improve the final properties of the mixed material. mechanical stabilisation is usually the most cost-effective process for improving poorly-graded materials.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads sub-base of adequate stiffness. This strength increase is approximately 500 to 1000 kPa (UCS strength) for each 1 per cent of cement added (Lay 1986/88). in the presence of moisture. produces hydrated calcium aluminate and silicate gels. 1995). which is released as the cement hydrates. a material rich in fines could be added to a material deficient in fines in order to produce a material nearer to an ideal particle size distribution curve. The stiffness and strength will generally be lower than that achieved by chemical stabilisation and would often be insufficient for heavily trafficked pavements. In general. When stabilised. The proportion of material added is usually from 10 to 50 per cent. 3. it must be noted that not all of them are appropriate for all situations. Granular materials can be improved by the addition of a small proportion of Portland cement. generally less that 10 per cent. The types described below are those most frequently used. which crystallise and bond the material particles together. This will allow the level of density achieved by compaction to be increased and hence improve the stability of the material under traffic. which increases the performance of a natural material. This process is usually used to increase the strength of a poorly-graded granular material up to that of a well-graded granular material. 5 .000 to 20. The physical properties of the original material will be changed.2 Cement Stabilisation Any cement can be used for stabilisation. Most of the strength of a cement-stabilised material comes from the physical strength of the matrix of hydrated cement. The addition of cement to a material. The addition of more than 15 per cent cement usually results in conventional concrete. however. Providing suitable materials are found in the vicinity. The benefits of compaction. the strength of the material will steadily increase with a rise in the cement content. For example. but Ordinary Portland cement is the most widely used throughout the world.1 Mechanical Stabilisation The most basic form of mechanical stabilisation is compaction. Mechanical stabilisation of a material is usually achieved by adding a different material in order to improve the grading or decrease the plasticity of the original material. A chemical reaction also takes place between the material and lime. leading to a further increase in strength. The elastic modulus of an unbound natural gravel or crushed rock will be in the range 200-400 MPa. “This type of sub-base erodes less than an unbound material and is less water-susceptible should join sealants fail” (UK DOT. each having its own benefits and potential problems. however. 3 TYPES OF STABILISATION There are a number of different types of stabilisation.000 MPa. 3.

Hence either higher strengths are possible using an equal amount of cement instead of lime or the same specified strength can be achieved using a lower quantity of cement than lime.5-100 microns and a mean of 20 microns (Ingles & Metcalf. greater than about 10 MPa cube strength at 7 days.2. (Croney. It can be either mixed in-situ (usually up to 300mm layer at a time) or mixed in plant. The particle size of ordinary Portland cement is quite well defined with a range of 0. The effects of lime and cement on the 7-day strength of various soil types was presented graphically by Sherwood (1993) and Dumbleton (1962). The process works best if the natural granular material has a limited fines content. past experience and the more hazardous nature of lime. 1972) that the larger particles of cement could be replaced with smaller particles of an inert filler. This is almost always mixed in plant and the strength requirement is 5-7 MPa (7 day cube crushing strength). adding and mixing in the cement. (Lay.2.5 MPa (7 day cube crushing strength) or.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads Cement stabilised materials can be mixed in-situ or mixed at a plant and transported to site. then adding water and compacting in the usual way.3 Lean concrete This material has a higher cement content than CBM and hence looks and behaves more like a concrete than a CBM.2 Cement Bound granular Material (CBM) This can be regarded as a stronger form of soil-cement but uses a granular aggregate (crushed rock or natural gravel) rather than a soil. and it has been found that the same amount of a more finely ground cement will produce higher strengths. expensive to produce and it has been suggested (Ingles & Metcalf. Other factors include availability. 1998). The UK specification for this material gives a normal strength of 6-10 MPa or a higher strength of 10-15 MPa (7 day cube crushing strength). 3. as shown in Figure 2. The larger particles of cement never completely hydrate. Thus producing an equally effective binder. 1972). This is due to many reasons. 1986). It is usually made from batched coarse and fine crushed aggregate. 6 . the materials should generally be plant mixed (DETR. One of the main problems with stabilising a material is mixing in the cement. river gravels) can also be used. which could be cheaper than ordinary cement. The price of cement is often similar to that of quicklime or hydrated lime. Croney (1998) recommends that a minimum strength should be 2. however cement can be used on a wider range of materials and the strengthening effect of cement is much more than that of an equal amount of lime. 3. i. The use of cement as a stabiliser is more widespread than lime.g. Finely ground cements are. however. but natural washed aggregate (e.1 Soil Cement Soil cement usually contains less than 5 per cent cement.e. 1998). To achieve stronger cement bound materials. The greater bulk would aid the distribution process so that the same amount of active cement would be available throughout the material. The technique involves breaking up the soil. but the main factors are likely to be the cost and the higher strengths that are attainable using cement.2. There are three main types of cement-stabilised materials: 3. if this material is used to replace sub-base then the strength requirement should be increased to 4 MPa.

1994).e. However. The term ‘lime’ is broad and covers the following three main types: a) quicklime b) slaked or hydrated lime. therefore.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads Figure 2 Effect of lime & cement on 7-day strength of various soil types.e. Lime is produced from chalk or limestone by heating and combining with water. 3. Careful handling and protective clothing are. Attempts to use lime as a general binder in the same way as cement will not be successful (Watson. essential. i. After Sherwood (1993) and Dumbleton (1962). the invention of Portland cement in the 19th Century resulted in cement replacing lime as the main type of stabiliser. Only quicklime and hydrated lime are used as stabilisers in road construction. They are usually added in solid form but can also be mixed with water and applied as a slurry. Lime stabilisation will only be effective with materials which contain enough clay for a positive reaction to take place. calcium carbonate (CaCO3). as well as blinding. with examples of lime stabilisation being recorded in the construction of early Roman roads. i. The use of lime is still widespread particularly in certain parts of Africa and North America.3 Lime Stabilisation The stabilisation of pavement materials is not new. c) carbonate of lime. calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2) and i. calcium oxide (CaO).e. It must be noted that there is a violent reaction between quicklime and water and consequently operatives exposed to quicklime can experience severe external and internal burns. 7 .

1998).5. heavy clays. More recently the technique has regained favour and is being used in on-going road trials. generally. The bitumen merely acts as a glue to stick the material particles together and prevent the ingress of water. many parts of Australia stopped using lime stabilisation in the 1970’s due to some major problems.5 Other types of stabilisation Materials in this group do not. 8 . and so. the reported performance of the technique is often variable. In a country where bitumen is relatively expensive compared to cement and where most expertise is in cement construction. or a bitumen emulsion (bitumen particles suspended in water). It cannot be used on its own as a stabiliser but when it is ground into finer particles the product. It is reported that such small quantities usually result in a small increase in CBR strength although no significant increase in compressive or tensile strength should be expected (Paige-Green. 1985).g. preventing the rise of capillary moisture. a minimum of 3 to 5 per cent stabiliser is necessary to gain a significant increase in the compressive and tensile strength.4 Bitumen or Tar stabilisation Bitumen and tar are too viscous to use at ambient temperatures and must be made into either a cut-back bitumen (a solution of bitumen in kerosene or diesel). Killarney Road Trials and Freestone Creek to Eight Mile Intersection (Evans 1998). In fact. 3. the bituminous material acts as an impervious layer in the pavement. However. it appears more reasonable to use a cement stabiliser rather than a bitumen/tar based product. especially soil with a high clay content where its main advantage is in raising the plastic limit of the clayey soil. the bitumen is deposited on the material. 3. Evans concluded that “…it may be prudent to continue to assume that lime stabilised subgrades do not contribute greatly to pavement strengths. When the solvent evaporates or the emulsion ‘breaks’.1 Blastfurnace slag This is a by-product of the iron industry. can be used as a cement replacement. produce a significant cementing action and may need to be used in conjunction with cement or lime (O’Flaherty. known as ground granulated blastfurnace slag (ggbfs). to achieve the higher strengths necessary for heavily trafficked roads. Very rapid stabilisation of water-logged sites has been achieved with the use of quicklime. cement appears to be a more practical stabiliser.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads Hydrated lime is used extensively for the stabilisation of soil.” The strengthening effect of cement is significantly greater than the equivalent quantity of lime unless the host material contains a significant quantity of clay. 3. Paige-Green reports that typically. Although the use of lime stabilisation is widespread. There is little experience with lime stabilisation for road pavements in the UK where the process is intended primarily for treating wet. Small quantities (typically 1-3 %) are used to reduce the plasticity of the clay. with up to 85 per cent of the cement replaced with the slag. on their own. In many cases. e.

1998) There is also much discussion about whether to use dynamic or static modulus values in pavement calculations and often the average of both values is used. which produce significantly greater strengths. Croney (1998) reports that comparative studies have consistently shown the dynamic modulus to be higher than the static value. In addition to the modulus of a material. they are usually not as effective as traditional stabilisers such as cement or lime. artificial pozzolanas are products obtained from heating natural products. 1998). A relationship between dynamic modulus and compressive strength at 28 days is shown below in Figure 3. 9 . while other products such as those containing enzymes act biologically to achieve the same effect. it is also important to know its strength because a material may be very stiff. Examples of artificial pozzolanas are pulverised fuel ash (pfa) which is obtained from the burning of coal in power stations and rice husk ash (Sherwood. ionic.5.. The material must have an appropriate clay content for the stabiliser to have a beneficial effect. When correctly utilised. but not very strong and could crack or break under heavy traffic. An approximate conversion is given below (for values of Ed >5): Ed = 10 + 0. The term ‘elastic modulus’ is defined as the ratio of stress to strain and is a measure of the material’s stiffness properties. one of the most fundamental engineering properties of any material is the elastic modulus. 3. (Montgomery. 1991). sulphonated. these products can be very cost effective (Paige-Green. but due to many factors including ionic exchange. The modulus of elasticity of a cemented material can be measured by several different methods including: dynamically (Ed) using electrodynamic excitation of long beams of 150mm section or statically (Es) by loading 150mm diameter cylinders fitted with extensiometers. 4 ELASTIC MODULUS In a pavement engineering context. Products containing chemicals such as sodium chloride and ligno-sulphonates purely ‘stick’ the material or soil particles together.5.8Es (in GPa)………. oil-based products.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads 3. the absorbed water can be reduced leading to better compaction and increased strength. A cementitious reaction does not usually occur.3 Non-pozzolanic chemical soil stabilisers These chemical stabilisers mostly take the form of strongly acidic. 19930. Natural pozzolanas are mainly of volcanic origin. Although non-pozzolanic stabilisers are usually cheaper.2 Pozzolanas Pozzolanas possess little or no cementitious properties in themselves but will in certain circumstances chemically react with lime to form compounds possessing cementitious properties. (Croney.

Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads Figure 3 Relationship between dynamic modulus and compressive strength (at 28 days) for some cement treated materials (Croney. index tests are often used.1 TESTING AND MIX DESIGN Suitability of materials for stabilisation Before stabilising a material. knowledge of a material’s stiffness modulus and shear strength are required to determine an appropriate thickness for the overlying pavement layers. The test is used when lime or cement is added to a clayey soil. Such testing however may be beyond the resources of many laboratories. Ideally. 1986) and Austroads (1992). For strength gains to occur. it must be tested to ensure the compatibility and the effectiveness of the intended stabiliser. for example the shear strength will depend on factors including the effective stress which is dependant on the stress history. The Unconfined Compressive Strength test is considered a more useful guide to the elastic modulus and many correlations exist. liquid and plastic limits. especially a soil. the chemical reactions 10 . for example TRH13 (CSRA. etc. but often take the form of determining the particle size distribution. the CBR has been used but it is now often thought to be useful only for modified materials where the strength of the materials measured in the CBR test would not exceed 100 per cent. One such chemical test is for the Initial Consumption of Lime (ICL). In the move towards mechanistic design there is a driving force to use more direct measurements. perform in a more elastic. soil acidity and sulphate content. The number of factors involved in knowing these variables are high. These initial tests will vary between countries. To simplify matters. 5 5. Historically. semi-brittle manner under traffic than unbound materials. 1998) Materials cemented with pozzolanic stabilisers such as lime and cement.

1994). The test for soil acidity and sulphate content is carried out to indicate any potential problems with the hydration of the cement or possible chemical attack of the hydrated cement. additional lime will be required for the formation of cementitious compounds.075mm sieve PI <10 10< PI <20 PI >20 Yes * Yes Yes Yes * * Yes No Less than 25% passing the 0.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads require a high pH (>12. PP = Plasticity Product = PI x per cent passing the 0.075mm sieve PI <6. Instead. 7-10 per cent is assigned according to the material category (according to ASTM M145-82). 11 . then further testing is required to determine the required moisture and cement contents.075 mm sieve It should be noted that in the USA. Test specifications Maximum liquid limit (LL) Maximum Plasticity Index (PI) Maximum organic matter content Maximum total sulphate content Saturation moisture content (chalk) Grading sieve size 125 mm 90 mm 10 mm 600 um 63 um 45 20 2% 1% 20 % % passing (by mass) 100 85-100 25-100 10-100 0-10 Table 2 Guide to the type of stabilisation likely to be effective (From TRL ORN 31. an initial cement value e. Typical specifications are given in Table 1 and Table 2. PP <60 PI <10 PI >10 Yes No Yes Yes * Yes Yes Yes * Type of Stabilisation Cement Lime Lime-pozzolan Notes *indicates that the stabiliser will have marginal effectiveness PI = Plasticity Index. This will vary considerably for different soils. 1993 adapted from NAASRA. 1986) Soil properties More than 25% passing the 0. If these tests indicate that stabilisation of the material is likely to be successful. Hence. further testing is still required to establish the optimum stabiliser content for the required strength.g. Table 1 Typical specifications for cement stabilisation of a granular material to form capping in UK (Watson.4) to be maintained. which is the ICL value. grading limits are not strictly defined for sub-base materials. After sufficient lime has been added to satisfy the ICL of the soil.

by determining the optimum moisture content (OMC) that will give the maximum density. 1998). the strength of the material will steadily increase with a rise in the cement content. an extra 1 per cent of cement is proposed in TRL ORN31 (1993). 12 . Some correction factors are given in Table 3.96 1. In general. and then adding approximately one per cent to this value.96 Cylinder .200 Cylinder .5 mm x 105 mm diameter mm x 152 mm diameter The effect of cement content on strength will vary depending on the type of material to be stabilised. Specimen shape and size Cube .g.115. e. a laboratory testing programme must be carried out on the material in order to determine a) the amount of water and b) the amount of stabiliser to be added to achieve the specified strength.25 1.142 Cylinder . The amount of stabiliser needed to achieve the specified strength can then be determined using cubes made up with various cement contents which are cured for a fixed perod.150mm Cube . This value is further qualified as the average strength of five cubes with a minimum value of 2. usually 7 or 14 days before testing. usually by crushing. Table 3 Conversion Factors for UCS Test (after Sherwood.25 1. Care must be taken to avoid excess quantities of stabiliser because this can cause wide shrinkage cracks during curing which can lead to extensive reflection cracking through overlying asphalt. For example. 1993).5MPa for any individual cube (MCHW 1000. This strength increase is approximately 500-1000 kPa (UCS strength) for each 1 per cent of cement added (Lay 1986/88).Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads 5.127 mm x 100 mm diameter mm x 71 mm diameter Correction factor (to 150mm cube) 1. (Croney 1998) is to first calculate the amount of water to be added. a suggested Unconfined Compressive Strength requirement for a stabilised sub-base is 4 MPa at 7 days (Croney. 1998).04 0.100mm Cylinder .2 Mix design Before stabilisation is used in road construction. One test method suggested. It should be noted that in the UCS test the results can be affected by both the size and shape of the sample tested. The results are often converted to those for a 150mm cube by multiplying the result with a correction factor. For example. Some additional stabiliser may be necessary to take account of the variability in mixing that will occur on site. This can be seen in Figure 4 (NAASRA 1986).00 0. a cube or cylinder specimen. This addition is necessary because the OMC of the cement and material will differ from that of the material alone because the fine grained cement will demand proportionately more water than the unbound material.

the UCS has little direct application to pavement design and it is better to use some form of tensile strength testing as this will have a bearing on pavement design. particularly for stabilised sub-bases beneath concrete pavements (PaigeGreen. In the test. Cemented materials are relatively brittle. The unconfined compressive strength (UCS) test has been extensively used to determine the relative response of materials to cement stabilisation. As mentioned above. The strength can be tested in many ways.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads Figure 4 Effect of cement content on strength of various soils stabilised with Ordinary Portland cement and cured for 7 days at 25oC . The critical strain usually decreases with increasing modulus.2. a load is applied to the curved surface of a cylindrical specimen until failure occurs. NAASRA (1986) reports that: ‘It should be noted that the CBR test is not relevant to cement-bound materials and it cannot be used for design purposes.Strength To ensure adequate strength during construction. and the California Bearing Ratio (CBR) test. 1998). and fail in tension under relatively low strain. South Africa has recently introduced tests to determine the tensile strength of stabilised materials. 13 . Hence modulus is more relevant to performance than UCS’. 1977) 5. 1986 and Metcalf. (NAASRA. sometimes known as cube crushing. the quality of a cement stabilised material is usually determined by strength tests on the material after it has been allowed enough time to sufficiently harden (usually 7 days). many practitioners now prefer to use the UCS test. 1996). A flexural test (3 point beam test) can also be carried out. but some of the most popular tests are the Unconfined Compressive Strength (UCS) test. However. For strength and performance testing. Minimum limits for the Indirect Tensile Strength (ITS) of cemented materials have been set in the latest of the South African series of Technical Recommendations for Highways (COLTO.1 Post Construction .

This can be determined by durability testing which could take the form of either a soaked CBR test or a wet/dry brushing test (South Africa). 14 .3 Construction equipment Stabilisation may take the form of mix-in-plant or mix-in-situ. A recent revision to the South African wet/dry brush test has been recommended by Paige-Green (1998). In-situ mixing plant consists of a rotovator which uses rotating tines to break and mix the soil. The amount of additive placed is a function of the mechanical operation and the speed of travel. 1994).2. are now possible due to the recent development of. After this testing has been carried out. Stabilisation of deep lifts. 5. Some are also capable of breaking bound material. CBM. extracting the material which is then mixed with stabiliser from a hopper and then replaced. but an important requirement for stabilised materials such as cement-bound material. A wide range of multiple and single pass plant have been developed which has led to a cost saving which often cannot be realised in smaller countries. Lay quotes (Grahame and Goldsborough. Agricultural rotovators may be used for thinner layers up to 150mm in conjunction with suitable soil types (Watson.2. if any doubt remains about the durability of the material then a further carbonated UCS test could be carried out (de Wet & Taute. it is also necessary to ensure that this strength is maintained over the design life of the pavement. Lay (1986/88) reports on equipment called ‘stabilisers’ that are capable of cutting into in-situ material up to depths of 500mm.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads 5.2 Durability As well as ensuring that an adequate strength and stiffness has been achieved by the stabilisation process. Mix-in-plant is most appropriate where imported granular materials are being used and mix-in-situ is more appropriate for the stabilisation of native soils. 1994). 1985). (ie where the water content is much lower than for concrete) is that the plant must have a positive mixing action to thoroughly mix the constituents – “a simple tumbling action is not sufficient” (Watson. the process of in-situ stabilisation of soils is used far more than in Europe. Machines in highway construction are generally much more powerful than agricultural machinery and hence are capable of stabilising clay and granular materials up to 350mm thick. It should be noted that the UCS and CBR tests do not actually measure the durability of the stabilised material. up to 400mm thick. In-plant mixing may take place on or off site. 1980) as containing further information. In more temperate climates a freezing/thawing test may also be appropriate. who proposed that the mechanical wet/dry brush test should be used as it removes some of the operator variability that was apparently present with the previous test. In the United States.

The manual also recommends that the first layer of a two part layer process is never less than 150mm thick. However. The problems listed below are in approximate order of occurrence. such as the CMI RS500 (Australia) Large capacity purpose-built binder spreaders with automated spread control. These trials can identify the optimum number of roller passes that are necessary and also provides an indication of the target density or strength that is required for quality control testing after rolling. the most used stabilisers. 6 PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH STABILISATION Previous sections of this review have identified the advantages of using stabilised pavement layers. 300mm is to be stabilised. the engineer must be aware of the potential problems of stabilisation as well as its advantages. 6. rather than seriousness. so that it can support the plant that will lay the second layer.4 Pre-construction trials A field trial should be carried out ahead of the main work in order to determine the actual strength and density that can be achieved using the same plant that will be involved in the main contract. Also before selecting stabilisation techniques. This publication also reports that the second layer must never be stabilised using ‘in-situ’ stabilisation methods even if the first layer was stabilised ‘in-situ’.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads • • • • Large mixing and pulverising machinery.1 Quantity of stabiliser It is important that the correct amount of stabiliser is added to the material. then problems in achieving adequate compaction could require that the material is placed in two lifts. Too little stabiliser will produce a material with insufficient strength or durability. it can cause excessive shrinkage cracks. An Australian design manual (Queensland.g.2. This section discusses some of the more common problems in relation to cement and lime. If a thick layer e. 1998) Chapter 9: Construction. and Slow setting binders. Paige-Green (1998) recommends the use of proof rolling on trial sections that incorporate density or strength testing after each roller pass. 15 . the use of stabilisers can result in an increase in the cost of construction and will only be cost effective if the increased cost can be traded off against the improved performance of the road. Most of the problems can be avoided or reduced with careful material selection and testing. 5. If too much of the stabiliser is added. Useful information about equipment can be found in NAASRA (1986.1 Construction 6.1. 1990) recommends use of a cement slurry to bond the two layers together. since this method will usually cause damage to the first layer. High performance compaction equipment.

If the periodic water-spraying method is used. sulphates. however an experienced grader operator can also obtain good results. For curing to occur a moist environment must be provided by light water spraying. Sulphate attack can cause volume changes (swell) of the material. 1986) and the UK (Dept. 6. respectively.2.1.0 per cent.3 Compaction and limited time It is essential that the correct degree of compaction is achieved if the material is to reach the required strength.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads 6. These compounds include organic matter.7 Testing The amount of quality control testing that is required for stabilised materials is much greater than for granular materials and this will add extra time.6 Variability Small changes in the chemical composition of the material to be stabilised.2 Mixing The stabiliser and material must be thoroughly and evenly mixed throughout the full depth of the layer. usually 7 days before use by construction traffic. rotavator or a disc harrow. this is best achieved with a pulvimixer. For in-situ stabilisation.2 Durability 6. Compaction must be completed within the limited time periods set in the specifications.1. Paige-Green (1998) recommends that specialist equipment is used for mixing rather than agricultural equipment. then care must be taken to ensure that the surface does not dry out between sprayings as carbonation can occur (Netterberg and Paige-Green. can cause delays which should be planned for. 6. 6.1. The influence of carbonation can be minimised by ensuring that the stabiliser content of the material exceeds the initial consumption of 16 . A common problem is that an incorrect depth of material is mixed. or exposure to harmful compounds after hardening can have large influences on the strength of cement or lime stabilised materials. 1976) have placed limits on the total water-soluble sulphate content of the material to be stabilised at 0. thus altering the rate of application of stabiliser.5 Curing time It is essential to cure the material under correct conditions so that an adequate initial strength is achieved before trafficking. 1984). 6. The curing period. sulphides and carbon dioxide. Work in the USA (Mitchell. of Transport.5 per cent and 1. (Netterberg 1987). which is often only a few hours for cement. 6.4 Rapid setting A number of problems have been reported where a lime stabiliser has reacted very quickly with certain materials (typically calcretes and tillites containing amorphous silica. the application of curing membranes or the placement of the next layer of material.1. aluminium and/or high clay contents). causing a rapid set to occur and thus preventing satisfactory compaction.1. effort and cost to the construction process.1 Carbonation Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can attack the stabilised layer resulting in large strength reductions over time.1. 6.

Manual of Contract Documents for Highway Works (MCHW) – particularly useful is Volume 1: Specification for Highway Works (e. 6. 7 CURRENT STABILISATION PRACTICE AROUND THE WORLD The following information is a summary of the most relevant points. For reinforced concrete. If required.1. 1990). an impermeable separation membrane (plastic sheet) is also required over the sub-base to prevent loss of moisture from the concrete to underlying layers and to act as a slip layer.4 Break-up If the stabilised layer is directly under a thin asphalt layer or bituminous seal.2 Sulphate and salt damage If the material to be stabilised shows high contents of soluble salt or sulphates or sulphides.2. further information should be obtained from the guides.particularly useful is Volume 7: Pavement Design and Maintenance (eg HD 25/94: Foundations. Cracking can also occur due to excessive traffic loading. 1986). Research has shown that the contact stress pattern of a tyre are concentrated at the edge of the tyre (De Beer. The cracks are mostly transverse. a waterproof membrane consisting of a sprayed bituminous material is required.2. then poor cementation can occur.0 grams/Litre (CSRA. 7. Series 1000 (1998): Road Pavements – Concrete and Cement Bound Materials) and 2. a cement bound sub-base is required under a concrete pavement to minimise the risk of erosion and weakening of the sub-base caused by water that has penetrated through joints or cracks.g. 6. 1997). shrinkage cracks in the stabilised layer can rapidly reflect through the asphalt surfacing. crushing of the stabilised layer can occur due to the low abrasion resistance of the material. There are two main series of publications: 1. 6.1 UK Practice The authority that issues pavement specifications in the UK is the Department of the Environment and Transport (DETR).Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads lime (ICL) value by at least 1 per cent and that curing is carried out carefully and fully (Paige-Green et al. and HD26/94: Pavement Design). 1997) and the water-soluble sulphate (SO3) content should be less than 2. If a stabilised granular material is used directly beneath an asphalt surfacing. Design Manual for Roads and Bridges . and the number will increase with age resulting in a typical ‘block’ cracking pattern (Chandler.1 Concrete pavements In the UK. 17 . Cement bound sub-bases also aid compaction of the overlying concrete layer.3 Cracking Cracking in stabilised layers due to changes in moisture content (drying shrinkage) and thermal stresses cannot be avoided. 7.2. 1985). For jointed concrete. The South African technical specifications recommend that stabilised materials should be at least 500mm away from materials with a pH of less than 6 (CSRA.

or C7. 1998. as reported by (Chaddock. It is also specified that compaction must take place within 2 hours of the addition of cement. sub-base and capping layers using cement or lime. The design of concrete pavements is not included.5. The range of material categories and strength requirements are given in Table 4. 7.5 10 4.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads Sub-base material specifications: For pavements with a design life up to 12 million standard axles (msa).5 6.5 C10 C15 Cement-bound material Normal lean concrete Stronger lean concrete Wet lean concrete Wet lean concrete Wet lean concrete 7 10 15 5.5 18 23 27 Material category (in UK) * Ref. The materials recommended in the guide are roadbase (CB1 and CB2) and sub-base (CS). a cement bound material (CBM3) or wet lean concrete (C15) is specified. weak cemented sub-bases may be used: CBM1. as long as this stabilised layer has a minimum equivalent CBR of 15 per cent. 2: Croney and Croney.5 8 13 **Ref. with unconfined compressive strength (UCS) values as shown in Table 5. 1998) Minimum 7 day Cube Compressive strength (MPa) (= N/mm2) *(Ref 1) Average of 5 CBM 1 Soil-cement (granular) (silty PI ‹ 10) (clay PI › 10) CBM 2 CBM 3 CBM 4 C7. 1998 & Croney. 18 . 4. current specifications require these materials to be constructed with the same thickness as unbound granular sub-base materials.5 Modulus of elasticity for use in structural analysis (GPa) **(Ref 2) Dynamic (Ed) 18 7 1 23 27 30 Static (Es) 10 4 0 13 19 23 Mean 14 5 0.2 TRL ORN31 Practice This design guide is for bituminous-surfaced roads in tropical and sub-tropical countries. The design catalogues for various pavement types allow for stabilisation of the roadbase. CBM2. a cement bound material (CBM2) or wet lean concrete (C10) is specified whereas for designs greater than 12 msa. 7. Table 4 Strengths of UK cemented materials and moduli used for calculations (DETR. 1998: MCWH Series 1000.2 Bituminous pavements For flexible construction. 1: DETR. 1997). Cement stabilisation of the subgrade can be used instead of importing a granular capping material. see Table 4.5 Individual 2. but.1.

1993) and part II rigid pavement Design (1998). and Linear Shrinkage (LS) as well as recommended values for the coefficient of uniformity (i. the surfacing is a thin surface dressing and not asphaltic concrete (Chart 8). 7.3 USA Practice The main design manuals used in the USA are the AASHTO Design of Pavement Structures (AASHTO.3. 4. using initial values of 2.5 – 3 0.75 – 1. It is important to note that where a stabilised roadbase is shown. the CBR test can be used as an alternative to the UCS requirement. a stabilised sub-base is allowed but there is always an overlying granular roadbase. the ratio of: sieve size that 60 per cent material passes to sieve size that 10 per cent of material passes). Cubes or cylinders are then made and cured for set times before a strength test is carried out.e. 6 and 8 per cent cement. 7. For cement-stabilised materials. the amount of cement to add is determined by laboratory trials according to BS 1924. CS) also include grading envelopes. Plasticity Index (PI). In Charts 1 to 6.0 – 10.0 % (by weight) These are expected to give 7-day strengths of at least 2 MPa. but a longer curing time is allowed. In the design charts given in ORN31 the traffic loading is given in several categories up to 30 million standard axles. The cement contents given above only form a start point from which laboratory testing is required to achieve the required strength.1 Designs for concrete pavements Extensive research on base support for concrete roads has been carried out in the USA (Darter et al.0 % (by weight) 7. This showed that the support provided to the concrete slab by the underlying layer (called the base or sub-base) was found to have a very significant effect on the performance of the pavement. The UCS test is usually used to determine the optimum cement content. CB2. Initial cement contents are recommended for the various soil types (classified under AASHTO designation M145-82) as follows: A1-A3 soils (granular materials): A4-A7 soils (silt clay materials): 3. For stabilised sub-base material.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads Table 5 Properties of cement (or lime) stabilised materials Material code CB1 CB2 CS Description Stabilised roadbase Stabilised roadbase Stabilised sub-base Unconfined Compressive Strength . maximum values for Liquid Limit (LL). The procedure for lime stabilised materials is similar. 1995). This is mainly to reduce the effects of reflection cracking.5 Specifications for these materials (CB1. again to reduce the possibility of reflection cracking.UCS (MPa) 3 – 6 1. Amongst the findings it was reported that: 19 . A minimum value of CBR 70 per cent after seven days moist curing is recommended.5 – 7.

To do this. being the most and least preferred . Eight test methods are given for characterising stabilised pavement materials. However instead of using a wholly mechanistic approach. are utilised extensively in the manual as optional pavement materials. Stabilised sub-bases. however. R-value and Texas triaxial test results. 7.1 Austroads Pavement Design Guide. The design method for a stabilised pavement typically greater than 200mm is documented in the comprehensive Austroads Pavement Design Guide (1992). the manual permits a continuance of the service life of the sub-base as a granular layer when estimating the total traffic loading that the pavement will survive. To utilise benefits in terms of utilising a higher structural number coefficient for a stabilised sub-base compared with a granular sub-base their elastic modulus would be required.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads i “On a soft subgrade (27 kPa/mm) changing from an aggregate base to a treated base produces a large increase in the load carrying capacity (in this case 13 to 26 million ESALs)”. For an untreated granular base. These are ranked in order of preference from flexural testing to presumptive values. respectively. below either a stabilised or crushed stone base material. Should the cemented sub-base layer fail through fatigue. which it emphasises has been developed for Australian conditions. the elastic modulus of each layer is correlated with a strength coefficient to develop designs using the Structural Number approach.3. This is supported by earlier findings from the AASHO road test (1962) which concluded that “the effect on performance of varying the thickness of the sub-base between 3 and 9 inches was not significant”. There is a substantial saving in sub-base thickness when cemented instead of granular materials are used.4. with a modulus of approximately 6900 MPa. It may still not be possible to interpolate a structural number coefficient because of the range of elastic moduli given in the manual. it is necessary to compute the suitability of alternative designs and select on their relative merit. For the sub-base. increasing its thickness does not affect traffic life. The Australian guide to pavement design (Austroads.4 Australia “State Road Authorities have been stabilising heavily trafficked roads to about 400mm in depth for many years and Local Government Authorities are typically stabilising at depths in the order of 150-200mm” (Pike 1998). For a treated base. 7. the thickness has a very significant effect. the manual also offers correlations between elastic modulus and CBR. 1992) uses the mechanistic approach to road design. 20 . i 7. Pavement materials are characterised by the modulus of elasticity either directly or through correlation with other tests. Although a number of example designs are given in the manual. a computer program is required to calculate the various stresses and strains in the trial pavement.2 Designs for flexible pavements The AASHTO (1993) pavement design manual has adopted the use of elastic modulus as the standard materials quantification measure.

These are: 1.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads 7. The lower strength materials C3 and C4 (cemented natural gravels) are used for lower layers or for bases on low volume roads. Cement stabilised . The standards include the Technical Recommendations for Highways series especially TRH13: Cementitious Stabilisers in Road Construction (1986) and TRH 14 Guidelines for Road Construction Materials (1985). 1985) Stabilised Material Classification C1 C2 C3 C4 Laboratory soaked UCS (MPa) after 7 days 100% mod AASHTO 97 % Mod AASHTO Minimum Maximum Minimum Maximum 6 3 1. In the pavement design catalogue.000 psi is assumed.5 8 4 2 1 Minimum ITS* (kPa) 400 250 200 Note *ITS = Indirect Tensile Strength (COLTO.Road Mix Base course 3.1 MPa (ASTM 1633). In the 1995 specifications the use of stabilised materials for sub-bases is not specified for either flexible or concrete pavements. Material Class C2 (usually cemented crushed stone) is used for a high quality sub-base. 1998) allows stabilised materials to be used for the base or sub-base in asphalt pavements.75 12 6 3 1. there are four classes of stabilised material C1-C4. Cement stabilised .5 0. As shown in Table 6. an elastic modulus of 700. For stabilised sub-bases. Most of the materials tests are based on the American AASHTO methods. the new Interim Pavement Design Guide (DPWH. although this 21 . However. 1998). Included in the manual are several specifications for the use of stabilisers in the roadbase. Lime stabilised . The specification limits become less strict as the material is used further below the road surface. 1996) 7. C1 materials are seldom used because of their tendency to form wide shrinkage cracks (Paige-Green. Volume 2 (DPWH.5 4 2 1 0. 1995).5 South Africa The stabilisation of different pavement layers is widely used in South Africa. It should be noted that the manual does not contain pavement design information. where C1 is the strongest. Seven day compressive strength = Minimum of 2. Material passing the 19mm sieve shall have a minimum soaked CBR of 100 per cent (AASHTO T193). obtained at maximum dry density (AASHTO T180).6 The Philippines The Philippines has a materials and construction manual: Standard Specifications for Public Works and Highways. which is either: a) For gravelly soils: CBR test. assumptions are made for the layer coefficients of the materials. b) For fine textured soils: UCS test.Plant Mix Base course Included in the specifications is a strength requirement. Table 6 Strength requirements for stabilised materials (TRH 14. The appropriate strength test is dependent upon the type of material. their elastic modulus and equivalent CBR values.Road Mix Base course (Item 203) (Item 204) (Item 206) 2.

it may be desirable to stabilise the base or sub-base in order to protect the subgrade such that it can withstand the vertical loads imposed by traffic. It can be seen that pavements with granular sub-bases and stabilised sub-bases can be specified in almost all of the design manuals listed for traffic levels up to 100 million ESA. i. 1995. All of the design guides studied allowed stabilisation of at least one pavement layer and most of the guides reported that the use of stabilisation became more beneficial for higher traffic levels. where high traffic loads or volumes inevitably mean that stronger and thicker pavement layers are required. It is then necessary to calibrate these models with observed performance data. This is particularly true for heavily trafficked pavements. In this report. 8 PAVEMENT DESIGN FOR HEAVILY TRAFFICKED ROADS The definition of ‘heavily trafficked roads’ varies between different design standards. The use of stabilised sub-bases in several design manuals is compared in Table 7. Examination of the major pavement design guides from around the world has shown that the use of stabilisation is widespread. empirical correlations. as given in DPWH.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads seems high. 1987). Most pavement design manuals for heavily trafficked roads are based on a mechanistic approach which models the pavement as a multi-layered elastic structure. The new Interim Pavement Design Guide does not include the use of stabilised sub-bases under concrete pavements. as an approximate guide. For example in South Africa ‘heavily trafficked roads’ are those which carry in excess of 12 million standard axles (Freeme et al. Existing specifications for these materials are used. it has been assumed that ‘heavily trafficked roads’ are those with a design life of more than 10 million equivalent standard axles. The stresses/strains at various points in the structure that result from the applied loads are compared to establish stress/strain criteria.e. For any pavement. 22 . hence the procedure is commonly referred to as mechanistic-empirical design.

Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads Table 7 Comparison of Pavements with Stabilised Sub-bases. 1987) gives details of accelerated loading trials in South Africa using the Heavy Vehicle Simulator (HVS) on pavements with stabilised bases and sub-bases. A new form of erosion was also reported whereby the top of the stabilised base was eroded by mechanical interaction with the asphalt surfacing. Apart from the pavement design manuals and specifications described earlier. TRH13 1985 / 86 Philippines DPWH Interim design guide 1998 Year ASPHALT Does the specification include: Granular base with stabilised sub-base? Maximum traffic for above pavement design (million ESA) CONCRETE Design guide includes concrete? Sub-base type allowed: i) Granular material ii) Stabilised material Maximum traffic for above pavement design (million ESA) 1993 / 98 1993 1994-98 1992 Y Y N Y Y Y 50 30 n/a 100 50 30 Y Y Y >500 N Y N Y 400 Y N Y 300 Y N Y 50 Y Y N 30 - As previously discussed. layer stiffnesses) for cemented materials of different strengths and in different states of deterioration.e. The Philippines design manual does not specify the use of stabilised sub-bases beneath concrete pavements (Table 7). uncracked) state and then at varying stages of their life. The report includes tables of the moduli of strongly cemented and weakly cemented materials in their new (i. the stabilisation of the sub-base layer beneath a concrete pavement can minimise problems caused by poor materials. Although it may not be possible to justify them at low levels of traffic.e. One of the major results of this study was the confirmation of the in-situ moduli (i. This loose material was 23 . These values may be useful for general mechanistic design of road pavements with stabilised layers. low standards of construction quality control where inadequate slab support can lead to premature cracking. in some cases. Country: Design Guide Source: USA AASHTO UK (a) TRL ORN31 UK (b) DETR HD26/94 Australia Austroads South Africa CSRA TRH4. One of the few reports on this subject (Freeme et al. difficult construction conditions and. further study could determine whether stabilised sub-bases would be economically beneficial at higher levels of trafficking. It was also reported that many of the weakly cemented materials cracked and some of them appeared to break down into a near-granular state. The report estimates that the uncracked state for weakly cemented materials lasts for only approximately 10 per cent of the life of the pavement. can break down quite rapidly into small blocks under trafficking. It was found that weakly cemented materials. having UCS strengths of less than 3 MPa. there are relatively few published reports concerning the use of stabilised materials for heavily trafficked pavements.

It must be noted that most of the pavements in this study had a cemented base and cemented subbase. and the design life of the road pavement. Cement stabilised materials. their use will usually be cheaper than the alternative of stabilising a lower quality material. The performance of both rigid and flexible road pavements in the Philippines would almost certainly be improved by the use of stabilised sub-bases. a detailed cost benefit analysis should be carried out to determine the most appropriate form of construction. as will the demands for high strength pavements that are able to carry even greater traffic. However.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads being broken down into fines and pumped out from cracks in the asphalt. but care should be taken to ensure that the material. subgrade conditions. The primary benefits include the material’s increased load spreading ability. increasing the cement content to achieve a higher strength or to improve the material will also increase the possibility of reflection cracking and hence the pavement designer must seek a balance between these two conflicting factors. the decision whether to use unbound granular materials or cement-bound materials will depend principally on the availability of good quality aggregates. Before a new road is built. The use of stabilised sub-bases in the Philippines is now included in the recent publication of the Interim Pavement Design Guide (DPWH. The use of a stabilised material can help with whole-life cost reduction. The stabilisation of pavement materials is a fairly straightforward operation and with good construction techniques the properties of poor materials can often be significantly improved. in particular. It is likely that a stabilised sub-base with a strong unbound granular base would not suffer from this type of deterioration and that the break-down of a stabilised material could be avoided by using a higher cement content. which is highly relevant to the Philippines with its increasing traffic levels. It was also reported that the thickness of the cemented layers must be sufficient to cope with overloaded axles as well as cumulative repetitions of legal axle loads. In the Philippines the amount of traffic will continue to increase. offer the possibility of both increasing pavement performance whilst utilising materials that may not generally meet accepted sub-base specifications. For the sub-base layer. It is essential that the amount of stabiliser to be used with a material is first established in the laboratory and that there is an appropriate level of construction supervision and quality control to ensure that similar strengths are achieved in the road. and the material’s increased ability to resist water penetration and hence to be more durable in areas with less effective drainage. The choice in any situation will depend on factors such as the funding that is available for the project. the volume and composition of traffic. 1998) which allows the use of stabilised sub-bases under asphalt surfaced roads for design traffic levels up to 30 million ESA. It can be argued that no particular form of pavement construction is necessarily the best. If they are readily available. the local cost of the different forms of construction. climate. the likely future maintenance levels. What is not presently 24 . 9 CONCLUSIONS Stabilised sub-bases are now used by many road authorities for the design of heavily trafficked roads. its construction and the environment are suitable.

It is therefore recommended that laboratory and pilot scale trials should be carried out to: 1. In this case the construction costs may be higher but the benefits would accrue from an expected improvement in pavement performance. BISAR or ELSYM to get stresses and strains below the accepted asphalt and subgrade criteria. and 3. a) Maintaining pavement thickness. This section summarises an approach for carrying out pilot scale pavement design trials. Carry out laboratory tests of sub-base materials to be stabilised to establish whether they are appropriate for stabilisation and establish the relationship between strength and cement content. A trial to establish suitable pavement thicknesses can be designed by comparing the performance of thinner pavements. incorporating stabilised sub-bases. Design the pavement trials. in the Philippines. In this case. modified with cement/lime. including some often missed costs such as the additional quality control measures that are required. is whether this improvement in performance would be cost effective after taking into account all factors. construction costs may be comparable and performance is likely to be enhanced. Locate trial sites and identify materials for the various pavement layers and. A trial to quantify the benefit of stabilised subbases over that of granular materials can be designed by having similar pavement thickness to the control section and varying only the strength of the stabilised materials. A trial to quantify the benefit of stabilised sub-bases can be designed by comparing the performance of marginal materials. 1. In the review few guidelines or specifications take advantage of the potential increased strength and stiffness of stabilised sub-bases. GENSTRESS. using stabilised sub-bases. however. quantify the cost effectiveness of this type of road construction in the Philippines. There are primarily three options. 3.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads established. The design of the trials will depend on what opportunities exist to incorporate pilot studies into ongoing construction. to that of a more costly imported sub-base material that meets 25 . in particular. establish how indigenous marginal materials can be effectively stabilised to produce good quality sub-base materials. 10 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PILOT TRIALS IN THE PHILIPPINES. those for possible use as the sub-base. establish the improved road performance that can be achieved by using stabilised materials rather that granular sub-base materials. b) Varying pavement thickness. 4. The roadbase layer should be a high quality crushed stone and the surfacing should be asphaltic concrete. Note: This strength can be determined using a computer program such as ELMOD. c) Improving marginal materials. The design of these experimental pavements will be based on analytical methods. Define the strength requirement and select the cement content accordingly. to that of normal practice. 2. 2.

Compare results and performance with control section. Other tests. From these results it should be possible to determine the theoretical future load carrying capacity of the pavement by comparing the stresses and strains or Structural Number of the experimental pavement to existing criteria (LR 1132 and AASHTO). 26 . 11 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The work described in this report forms part of the Knowledge and Research (KAR) programme of TRL (Director Mr S W Colwill). Philippines. Carry out FWD testing after construction to determine in-situ moduli. Any views expressed are not necessarily those of DFID or DPWH.Literature Review: Stabilised Sub-Bases for Heavily Trafficked Roads normally accepted material specifications. These estimates would then be compared to actual performance measured during the monitoring period. including DCP tests. 6. It should be noted that this analysis can only be done on a site specific basis where traffic volumes and load are carefully monitored. In this case construction costs should be reduced and performance may well be enhanced. All tests should be repeated periodically to establish the change in strength with time. coring and testing of cored samples may also be required. 5. and part of the Research and Development Division programme of Bureau of Research and Standards (Director Raul C. Asis) of DPWH.

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