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EVALUATION STUDIES OF

EXPANSIVE SOIL TREATED WITH
ELECTROLYTES

KESAVA N K CHAITANYA G Dr. G. V .R. PRASADA RAJ U
P.G Student Professor
Department of Civil Engineering Dr. K. RAMU
University College of Engineering Associate Professor
KAKINADA-533003::INDIA.

ABSTRACT

Expansive soils, such as black cotton soils, are basically susceptible to detrimental volumetric changes,
with changes in moisture. This behavior of soil is attributed to the presence of mineral montmorillonite,
which has an expanding lattice. In the present work, experimentation is carried-out to investigate the
influence of strong electrolyte viz. potassium chloride, calcium chloride and ferric chloride on the
properties of expansive soil. A methodical process, involving experimentation in the laboratory under
controlled conditions is done. It is observed form the laboratory studies that maximum improvement in
the properties of Expansive soil is for Ferric Chloride treatment compared to other electrolytes tried in
this investigation.

KEY WORDS: Expansive soils; Calcium Chloride; Potassium Chloride; Ferric Chloride

1.1 1NTRODUCTION

Expansive soil cover large tracts of several world nations and in India; these deposits are known by the name,
“black cotton soils” which occupy about 20% of its surface area. In India, these soils are predominant in the
states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamilnadu. After recognizing
the problems posed by these soils to civil engineering structures, Engineers from all parts of the world have been
trying to find solutions. Among several techniques adopted to overcome the problems posed by expansive soils,
lime stabilization gained prominence during the past few decades due to its abundance and adaptability (Snethan
et al, 1979). However, it is reported (Chen, 1988) that lime stabilization suffers from the major drawback of
difficulty in soil pulverization and mixing of with it. Recent studies (Ramana Murthy, 1998; Srinivas,(2008), D.
Koteswararao, (2011)). indicated that CaCl
2
could be an effective alternative to conventional lime used due to its
ready dissolvability in water and to supply adequate calcium ions for exchange reactions. Katti et al (1966)
made an attempt to stabilize the in-situ soil using KOH solution and they revealed that it is possible to alter the
properties of black cotton soils in place by treating them with aqueous solution of KOH. Frydman et al (1977)
studied the use of KCl to modify heavy clay in the laboratory and revealed that from engineering point of view,
the use of KCl as a stabilizer appears potentially promising in locations where it is readily and cheaply available.
In the present work, the efficiency of Potassium Chloride (KCl), Calcium Chloride (CaCl
2
) and Ferric Chloride
(FeCl
3
)
,
as stabilizing

agents, was extensively studied in the laboratory for improving the properties of
expansive soil.



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ISSN : 0975-5462 Vol. 3 No.12 December 2011 8298
1.2 OBJECTIV E
The objective of the present work is to study the impact of the electrolytes like KCl,
CaCl
2
and FeCl
3
on the properties of expansive soil with laboratory.

1.3 MATERIALS USED
The details of the various materials and chemicals used in the laboratory experimentation are reported in
the following sections.

1.3.1 Soil
The black cotton soil collected from ‘Kothapeta’ near Amalapuram, in East Godavari District, Andhra
Pradesh State, India. The properties of soil are presented in the table. All the tests carried on the soil are as per
IS specifications.
Table.1. Properties of Expansive soil























1.3.2 Chemicals Used
Commercial grade KCl, CaCl
2
and FeCl
3
was used in this study. The quantity of Chemicals was varied from 0
to 1.5% by dry weight of soil.
1.4 LABORATORY EXPERIMENTATION

1.4.1 Index Properties
S.No Property Value
1. Grain size distribution
Sand (%)
Silt (%)
Clay (%)

2
20
78
2. Atterberg limits
Liquid limit (%)
Plastic limit (%)
Plasticity index (%)
Shrinkage limit (%)

77
37
40
13
3. Compaction
properties
Optimum Moisture
Content, O.M.C. (%)
Maximum Dry Density,
M.D.D (g/cc)



28.2
1.48
4. Specific Gravity (G) 2.7
5. IS Classification CH
6. Soaked C.B.R (%) 2
7. Differential free swell
(%)
110
8 Permeability (cm/sec) 1.47×10¯⁷

9 Shear Strength
Parameters
Cohesion (C) (Kg/cm²)
Angle of internal
friction (ø)



0.46

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ISSN : 0975-5462 Vol. 3 No.12 December 2011 8299
Different percentages of chemicals (ranging from 0-1.5% by weight) were mixed with soil (for all the
combinations as listed in the table) and the liquid limit, plastic limit and shrinkage limit were determined as per
IS:2720 (part-5)-1985; IS:2720 (part-6)-1972.

1.4.2 Compaction Properties
Optimum moisture content and maximum dry density of the black cotton soil were determined according to
the IS Heavy weight compaction test (IS:2720 part-8,1983).

1.4.3 Differential Free Swell (DFS)
The DFS values for all the combinations listed in table and also of the untreated soil, were determined as
per IS:2720-part XL-1977.

1.4.4 Strength Tests
Tri-axial test, California bearing ratio and Unconfined compressive strength were found for all the soil
combinations, as presented.

1.5 LABORATORY TEST RESULTS ON CHEMICAL STABILIZATION

In the laboratory, index tests and strength tests were conducted by using different percentages of
chemicals with a view to determine the optimum percentage of chemical.
The effect of addition of different chemicals to the expansive soil on the Atterberg limits, differential
free swell and strength properties are discussed in detail in the following sections.

.
Table.2. Effect of strong electrolytes on Index Properties of expansive soil

Chemical
Percentages
of chemical
Index properties
WL
(%)
P.L.
(%)
I
P

(%)
S.L
(%)


KCl
0 77 37 40 13.0
0.5 69 37 32 13.4
1 63 37 26 14.7
1.5 59 38 21 16.0


CaCl
2

0 77 37 40 13.0
0.5 65 38 27 13.7
1 59 38 21 15.4
1.5 56 39 17 16.2


FeCl
3

0 77 37 40 13.0
0.5 58 38 20 14.1
1 52 39 13 15.9
1.5 50 40 10 16.8

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ISSN : 0975-5462 Vol. 3 No.12 December 2011 8300

Fig.1.Effect of chemicals on liquid limit


Fig.2.Variation of Plastic limit


Fig.3.Variation of plasticity Index
0
20
40
60
80
100
0 0.5 1 1.5 2
L
i
q
u
i
d

L
i
m
i
t

(
%
)
(%) Chemical
Potassium Chloride
Calcium Chloride
Ferric Chloride
36.5
37
37.5
38
38.5
39
39.5
40
40.5
0 0.5 1 1.5 2
P
l
a
s
t
i
c

L
i
m
i
t

(
%
)
(%) Chemical
Potassium Chloride
Calcium Chloride
Ferric Chloride
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
0 0.5 1 1.5 2
P
l
a
s
t
i
c
i
t
y

I
n
d
e
x

(
%
)
(%) Chemical
Potassium Chloride
Calcium Chloride
Ferric Chloride
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ISSN : 0975-5462 Vol. 3 No.12 December 2011 8301

Fig.4.Variation of Shrinkage Limit

1.5.1 Effect of Additives on Atterberg Limits

The decrease in the liquid limit values for different percentages of chemicals added to the expansive
soil is presented in the Table.2. The decrease in the values of liquid limit upto 1% of chemical is significant for
all the chemicals, as shown in Fig.1. Beyond 1% there is a nominal decrease in the liquid limit values, for all the
chemicals, tried in this investigation. For FeCl
3
treatment there is maximum decrease in the values of the liquid
limit when compared with other two chemicals viz. KCl and CaCl
2
. There is a nominal increase in the values of
the plastic limit with the increase in the percentage of the chemical.
The increase in the plastic limit values and the reduction in the liquid limit values cause a net reduction
in the values of plasticity index. For 1% chemical, it is observed that, the reduction in plasticity index values are
of the order of 35%, 45% and 68% for KCl, CaCl
2
and FeCl
3
treatment respectively with respect to the
untreated soil. The effect of KCl, CaCl
2
and FeCl
3
treatments on plasticity index of expansive clay as observed
in the laboratory testing are shown in Tables.2. and Fig 3. It can be seen from the figure that, the FeCl
3

treatment has effectively controlled the plasticity index compared to other additives. The shrinkage limit values
are increased by 13%, 18% & 22% respectively for 1% KCl, CaCl
2
and FeCl
3
treatments.
The reduction in plasticity index, with FeCl
3
treatment could be attributed to the depressed double layer
thickness due to cation exchange by trivalent Ferric ions and increased electrolyte concentration, as the chemical
is completely soluble in water










Table 3: Effect of Chemical on DFS

0
5
10
15
20
0 0.5 1 1.5 2
S
h
r
i
n
k
a
g
e

L
i
m
i
t

(
%
)
(%) Chemical
Potassium Chloride
Calcium Chloride
Ferric Chloride
chemical

% chemical

D F S (%)

KCl 0 110
0.5 90
1 75
1.5 70
0 110
CaCl₂ 0.5 80
1 70
1.5 65
0 110
FeCl₃ 0.5 70
1 55
1.5 50
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ISSN : 0975-5462 Vol. 3 No.12 December 2011 8302

Fig 5. Variation of DFS


1.5.2 Effect of Additives on DFS

The variation of D.F.S. for different percentages of the chemicals is shown in the Table.3& Fig 5.
There is a significant decrease in D.F.S. values upto 1% of the chemical, after that the change is marginal. The
reduction in the values of D.F.S. at 1% chemical are at the order of 32%, 37% and 50% for KCl, CaCl
2
and
FeCl
3
treatments respectively in comparison with untreated soil.
The reduction in DFS values could be supported by the fact that the double layer thickness is
suppressed by cation exchange with trivalent ferric ions and increased electrolyte concentration. .

Table 4: Effect of Chemical on CBR










Fig 6. Variation of CBR

0
20
40
60
80
100
120
0 0.5 1 1.5 2
D
F
S

(
%
)
(%) Chemical
Potassium Chloride
Calcium Chloride
Ferric Chloride
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
0 0.5 1 1.5 2
C
B
R

(
%
)
(%) Chemical
Potassium Chloride
Calcium Chloride
Ferric Chloride
chemical

% chemical

CBR(soaked)

KCl
0 2.00
0.5 2.66
1 3.96
1.5 4.22
CaCl₂
0.5 2.82
1 4.50
1.5 4.75
FeCl₃
0.5 3.06
1 5.00
1.5 5.30
Kesava N K Chaitanya G et al. / International Journal of Engineering Science and Technology (IJEST)
ISSN : 0975-5462 Vol. 3 No.12 December 2011 8303
1.5.3 Effect of Additives on CBR
The CBR values are increased by 98%, 125% , 150% when treated with 1% KCl, 1%CaCl
2
&1%
FeCl
3
as shown in Table 4 & Fig .6. The increase in the strength with addition of chemicals may be attributed to
the cation exchange of KCl, CaCl
2
& FeCl
3
between mineral layers and due to the formation of silicate gel. The
reduction in strength beyond 1% each of KCl, CaCl
2
& FeCl
3
may be due to the absorbtion of more moisture at
higher KCl, CaCl
2
& FeCl
3
contents.

Table 5: Effect of Chemical on shear strength parameters













1.5.4 Effect of Additives on Shear Parameters
The significant improvement of shear parameters was observed, when treated with 1%KCl, 1%CaCl
2
,
and 1% FeCl
3
respectively as shown in Table 5.

Table 6: Effect of Chemical on UCS













chemical
(%)
chemical
Shear strength
Parameters
(c, ø) in Kg/cm² & degrees



KCl
1 day 7 days 14days
0 0.46,2
0
----- ----
0.5 0.51,6
0
1.02,5
0
1.12,3
0

1.0 0.57,4
0
1.12,5
0
1.24,3
0

1.5 0.53,7
0
1.08,4
0
1.19,5
0



CaCl₂
0 0.46,2
0
------ -----
0.5 0.58,5
0
1.05,4
0
1.16,3
0

1.0 0.63,3
0
1.22,4
0
1.28,3
0

1.5 0.60,2
0
1.13,3
0
1.26,4
0



FeCl₃
0 0.46,2
0
------- -----
0.5 0.64,4
0
1.11,4
0
1.20,3
0

1.0 0.81,3
0
1.26,4
0
1.36,5
0

1.5 0.74,4
0
1.19,3
0
1.29,4
0


chemical
(%)
chemical

Unconfined Compressive
Strength(KPa)




KCl
1 day 7 days 14days
0 84 ---- -----
0.5 123 168 180
1.0 161 179 208
1.5 116 152 176


CaCl₂
0 84 ------ -------
0.5 129 195 209
1.0 167 209 243
1.5 120 176 201


FeCl₃
0 84 ------ ------
0.5 134 238 251
1.0 174 260 296
1.5 127 217 243
Kesava N K Chaitanya G et al. / International Journal of Engineering Science and Technology (IJEST)
ISSN : 0975-5462 Vol. 3 No.12 December 2011 8304

Fig 7. Variation of UCS in 14 days curing Period


1.5.5 Effect of Additives on UCS

The UCS values are increased by 147%, 189% and 252% when treated with KCl, CaCl
2
and FeCl
3
. The
increase in the strength with addition of chemicals may be attributed to the cation exchange of KCl, CaCl
2
and
FeCl
3
between mineral layers and due to the formation of silicate gel. The reduction in strength beyond 1% each
of KCl, CaCl
2
and FeCl
3
, may be due to the absorbtion of more moisture at higher KCl, CaCl
2
& FeCl
3
contents.

The optimum percentage of different additives observed during the laboratory experimentation are
summarized and presented in the following Table.







1.6 CONCLUSIONS
The following conclusions are made based on the laboratory experiments carried out in this investigation.

1. From the laboratory studies, it is observed that the liquid limit values are decreased by 18%, 23% and
33% respectively for 1% of KCl, CaCl
2
and FeCl
3
. There is a decrease in the values of plasticity index
with respective chemical treatment because of the decrease in liquid limit and increase in the plastic
limit values. Plasticity index is decreased by 35%, 48% and 68% respectively for 1% of KCl, CaCl
2
,
FeCl
3
.
2. The Shrinkage Limit values are increased by 13%, 18% & 22% respectively for 1% KCl, CaCl
2
and
FeCl
3
treatments.
3. The Differential free swell values are decreased by 32%, 37% and 50% for 1% KCl, 1% CaCl
2
, 1%
FeCl
3
respectively with respect to the untreated soil.
4. There is a significant improvement in plasticity and DFS upto 1% chemical, after that the change is
marginal.
5. The CBR values are increased by 98%, 125% & 150% respectively for 1% KCl, CaCl
2
and FeCl
3

treatments.
6. The significant improvement of shear parameters was observed, when treated with 1%KCl, 1%CaCl
2
,
and 1% FeCl
3
respectively
7. The UCS values, are increased by 147%, 189% and 252% respectively for 1% KCl, CaCl
2
and FeCl
3

treatments, for a curing period of 14 days.
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
0 0.5 1 1.5 2
U
C
S

K
P
a
(%) Chemical
Potassium Chloride
Calcium Chloride
Ferric Chloride
Additives Optimum
percentage
KCl
CaCl
2

FeCl
3
1
1
1
Kesava N K Chaitanya G et al. / International Journal of Engineering Science and Technology (IJEST)
ISSN : 0975-5462 Vol. 3 No.12 December 2011 8305
8. It is observed that, the UCS values are increased for all the three chemicals up to 1% and later the
strength decrease in trend is observed.


REFERENCES

[1] Snethen, D.R. et al. (1979), “An evaluation methodology for prediction and minimization of detrimental volume change of
expansive soils in highway subgrades”, research report, Vol. 1, prepared for federal highway administration, Washington.
[2] Sivanna,G.S. et al. (1976). “Strength and consolidation characteristics of black cotton soil with chemical additives – CaCl
2
&
KOH”, report prepared by Karnataka Engg. Research station, Krsihnarajasagar,India. .
[3] Katti, R.K., Kulkarni, K.R. and Radhakrishnan, N. (1966), “Research on Black Cotton Soils without and with Inorganic
Additives”, IRC, Road Research Bulletin, No. 10, pp. 1-97.
[4] Holtz, W.G. (1959). “Expansive Clays – Properties and Problems”, First Annual Soil Mechanics Conf., Colorado School of
Mines, Colorado, pp. 1-26.
[5] Frydman, S., Ravins, L and Ehrenreich, T. (1997), “Stabilization of Heavy Clay with PotassiumChloride”, J ournal of Geo
technical Engg., Southeast Asian Society of Soil Engg., Vol 8, pp. 95-108.
[6] Chandrasekhar, B.P., Prasad Raju, G.V.R., Ramana Murthy, V. and Hari Krishna, P. (1999). “Relative Performance of Lime and
CalciumChloride on properties of Expansive soil for pavement subgrades”, Proc. Of IGC-99, Calcutta, pp 279-282.
[7] Koteswara Rao.D(2011), Laboratory investigations on GBFS- CH soil mixes for the utilization of foundation beds, CONCEPTS-
2011, J NT university college of engineering, Kakinada.
[8] M. Srinivas(2008), Test track studies on chemically stabilized expansive soil subgrades, a Ph.D. thesis, J NT University college of
engineering, Kakinada, J une 2008.




 
Kesava N K Chaitanya G et al. / International Journal of Engineering Science and Technology (IJEST)
ISSN : 0975-5462 Vol. 3 No.12 December 2011 8306