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1 Table of Contents 1

2 i) Introduction 2

3 ii) Case Study 3

4 iii) Application 4-8

5 iv) Conclusion 9

6 Reference 10

7 Minutes of meeting 11 -


Peat soils are also known as organics soils. Peat soil is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation or
organic matter that is unique to natural areas called peat land, bogs, mires, moors or muskegs. The peat land
ecosystems is the most efficient carbon sink on the planet, it is because peat land plant capture CO2 naturally release
from the peat and maintaining an equilibrium. Peat has been identified as one of the major groups of soils found in
Malaysia. There are 2.4 million hectares of peat soil in Malaysia, with 1.5 million hectares occurring in Sarawak
alone (Zainorabidin & Mohamad, 2008). The distribution of peat soils in Malaysia divided with percentage where
Sarawak supports the largest area of peat soils in Malaysia with 1,697,847 ha or 69.08 % and followed by Peninsular
Malaysia with 642,918 ha or 26.16% and Sabah contributed 116,965 ha or 4.76 % (Zainorabidin & Mohamad,
Since peat soils are organics rich materials in nature. It has the unique combination of physical properties
of peat such as low bulk density, high total porosity, and the ability to swell and shrink upon wetting and drying
(Rezanezhad et al., 2016). The high water table and the soft nature of the soil make peat soils soggy and it is not
easy to walk on an un-drained peat soil without sinking down. Peat is often referred to as one of the most
problematic soils due to its low shear strength, high water content, and low specific gravity and it is severely
harmfully compressible. Peat exhibits unique geotechnical properties in comparison with those of inorganic soil
such as sand, silt and clay (Abdel-Salam, 2017).
As the peat soil is highly compressible, so it undergoes excessive settlement when buildings are constructed
above it, and it causes consequently instability problems such as slip failure, local sinking and considerable primary
and long-term settlement, even if moderate load is subjected on it (Abdel-Salam, 2017). Recently, the utilization of
peat land in Malaysia is quite low. This is because engineers are reluctant to construct on peat because of difficulty
to access the site and other problems related to unique characteristics of peat. Therefore, not much research has been
focused on the behavior of peat and the development of soil improvement method for construction on peat soil area.
Replacing the peat with good quality soil is still a common practice when construction has to take place on peat
deposit even though most probably this effort will lead to uneconomic design.
Approaches have been developed to address the problems associated with construction over peat deposits.
Alternative construction and stabilization methods such as surface reinforcement, preloading, chemical stabilization,
sand or stone column, pre-fabricated vertical drains, and the use of piles were discussed. The selection of the most
appropriate method should be based on the examination of the index and engineering characteristics of the soil. The
knowledge on the shear strength and compression behavior is essential as it enables designers to understand the
response of the soil to load and to suggest proper engineering solutions to overcome the problem. This paper
focusing more on soil stabilization rather than using mechanically to improve ground improvement.


Peat soil is considered as problematic soil due to its natural properties of low shear strength, high
compressibility and high initial water content. It is suitable for plantation and agriculture purpose but when comes to
construction field, it becomes unsuitable and unfavorable for the engineer to construct the structure like road, bridge,
building and foundation on it. This is because construction problems like secondary settlement and stability problem
may occur when the structure is built on the peat soil. Construction on peat soil is always the last option for engineer
and developer as it is very costly and the effectiveness of existing treatment is questionable. However, due to the
rapid development in country, lack of land for construction becomes another issue. Thus, solution for the
strengthening and improving the peat soil is essential and important in future country development. It is important to
understand the properties of peat soil in order to overcome and improve the properties of peat. (Abdel-Salam, 2017)

The compression behavior of peat varies completely than the compression behavior of other types of soils
in two ways. First, the compression of peat is much larger than of other soils. Secondly, the creep portion of
settlement plays a more significant role in determining the total settlement of peat than that of the other cohesive soil
types. The primary consolidation of fibrous peat takes place very rapidly. A large secondary compression, even
tertiary compression is also observed to take place. (Hua et al., 2016)

Many methods and approaches have been introduced in order to improve the peat soil. However, some of
them require huge amount of budget and yet the effectiveness of the ground improvement method is questionable.
Hence, elements like environment friendliness, cost, effectiveness, reliability and durability should be considered in
selecting the best method of ground improvement. Examples of method such as soil cement column method, locally
admixture, deep stabilization and others.

Figure 1 : The foundation subsidence. Figure 2 : House settled.



Excavation and replacement of soils can become expensive. In order to cut the cost of construction, adding
admixture to the soil also one of the solution for soft soil such as peat soil. By adding admixtures it will improve the
properties of the soil.

Peat soil or known as problematic soil and a representative material of soft soil and classified as highly
organic. It have high organic content that can exceed 75 percent. Peat soil also known as low shear strength and
having a high compressibility characteristics.

The major admixture that been used in stabilizing the peat soil is cement. The description of major
admixture is that the cement particle is a heterogeneous substance that contain minute tri-calcium silicate (C3S)
dicalicum (C2S), tri-calcium (C3A), and solid solution describe as tetra calcium alumino-ferrite (C4A). Hydrated
calcium silicates (C2SHx , C4AHx) and hydrated lime Ca(OH)2 is the product of major hydration when the hydration
of cement occurs rapidly because the pore water of the soil encounters with cement. The other admixture that can be
used together with cement are bentonite, fly ash, quick lime, clayey diatomite, calcium carbonate, water, sodium
bentonite, Portland Composite Cement (PCC), Calcium chloride, silica sand, ground granulated blast furnace slag,
siliceous sand, and Kaolin.

The physical properties of the peat soil is different in every region due to climatic condition and also
chemical compound of the sample. Table 1 shows that the physical properties of an untreated peat soil, Table 2 and
3 shows the physical properties of peat soil in Klang and Sarawak respectively. The basic for physical properties are
moisture content, pH value, initial void ratio, shrinkage, specific gravity, fiber content, organic content, ash content
and others that related.

Table 1 : Basic properties of untreated peat soil.

Table 2 : Physical properties of peat soil in Klang.

Table 3 : Physical properties of peat soil in Sarawak.

The result of unconfined compressive strength is an index to quantify the improvement of soils due to
treatment. The figure shown the unconfined compressive strength result of stabilized peat soil that mix with cement
and other admixture, such as Kaolin and Sodium Bentonite.

Figure 3 : Unconfined compressive strength result of stabilized peat soil that mix with cement and Kaolin.

Figure 4 : Unconfined compressive strength result of stabilized peat soil that mix with cement and Sodium

The quantity of binder must be adequate in order, the effect of peat stabilization to be effective. According
to ASTM D4609, the unconfined compressive strength must exceed or achieved 345 kPa, in order the treatment to
be effective. Insufficient amount of binder will lead the peat soil to impeded to induce cement hydration and
pozzolanic reactions in the soil sample.

Figure 5 : Effect of partial replacement of cement with sodium bentonite on unconfined compressive strength of the
stabilized peat soil sample

Figure 6 : Effect of partial replacement of cement with kaolin on unconfined compressive strength of the
stabilized peat soil sample.


Peat soil is a type of organic soil which is one of the major groups of soils in Malaysia. Peat soil combined
various unique physical properties. Peat soil has high water content inside and mostly it is seen as wet and soft. Due
to this characteristics, they are labeled as the problematic soils because it has low shear strength and highly
compressible. Peat soil also can produce excessive settlement when the buildings are built above it. Besides, this
also can lead to instability problems such as the slip failure, and long-term settlement when a moderate load is
subjected on it. Therefore, the utilization of peat soil in Malaysia is low because the engineers are unwilling to
construct on the peat soil. Usually the peat soil will replace with the good quality soil for any construction and they
do not focused on the improvement of the peat soil. Alternative way to improve the peat soil by adding the
admixtures inside the soil has been done to solve the problem.
Peat soil is usually used for plantation and agriculture purpose and not suitable to be used for the
construction. Due to its instability, construct on peat soil is very costly and less effective. Another problem is the
lack of land for construction. Thus, improving and strengthening the peat soil is important for the future country due
to the rapid development. The major problem of the peat soil are the compression and the settlement which is higher
compare to the other type of soils. Methods and approaches have been introduced to improve the quality of the peat

The major admixture that usually use to stabilized the peat soil is cement. This is because the substances
inside the cement is heterogeneous. The hydration of the cement also will occur rapidly as the result from the water
inside the soil encounter the particle of the cement. The cement also can mix with any type of other admixtures to
make the soil strong enough for construction. The paper shows that the physical properties is different in every
region due to the climate and condition of the soil. It also shows that the unconfined compressive stress is the
highest when the admixtures used are the combination of Portland Composite Cement (PCC) and Kaolin. The usage
of PCC is better than Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) because PCC can give high strength compare to OPC. The
usage of Kaolin also better that Sodium Bentonite. It can be conclude that the mixture of PCC and Kaolin will give
the highest strength of the soil among all the other types of admixtures used.


1. Abdel-Salam, A. E. (2017). Stabilization of peat soil using locally admixture. HBRC Journal, 0–5.

2. Rezanezhad, F., Price, J. S., Quinton, W. L., Lennartz, B., Milojevic, T., & Van Cappellen, P. (2016).
Structure of peat soils and implications for water storage, flow and solute transport: A review update for
geochemists. Chemical Geology, 429, 75–84.

3. Zainorabidin, A., & Mohamad, H. M. (2008). Engineering Properties of Integrated Tropical Peat Soil in
Malaysia. … Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, 22, 1–9.

4. Coefficient of earth pressure at rest for normally and overconsolidated peat ground in Hokkaido area. Soils
Found. 52, 299–311 (2012).

5. Laboratory Investigation in the Improvement of Subgrade Characteristics of Expansive Soil Stabilised with
Coir Waste. Transp. Res. Procedia 17, 558–566 (2016).

6. Stabilization of peat soil using locally admixture. HBRC J. (2017). doi:10.1016/J.HBRCJ.2016.11.004

7. Deboucha, S., Hashim, R. & Alwi, A. Engineering properties of stabilized tropical peat soils. … J. Geotech.
Eng. (2008). doi:10.3923/jas.2008.4215.4219

8. Aminur, M. R., Kolay, P. K. & Taib, S. N. L. Effect of Admixtures on the Stabilization of Peat Soil from
Sarawak. Indian Geotech. Conf. (2009).

9. Utilization of sodium bentonite to maximize the filler and pozzolanic effects of stabilized peat. Eng. Geol.
152, 56–66 (2013).

10. Wong, L. S., Hashim, R. & Ali, F. Improved strength and reduced permeability of stabilized peat: Focus on
application of kaolin as a pozzolanic additive. Constr. Build. Mater. (2013).

11. Abdel-Salam, A. E. (2017). Stabilization of peat soil using locally admixture. HBRC Journal, 0–5.

12. Hua, L. J., Mohd, S., Azhar, S., Tajudin, A., Nordzaima, S., & Mohamad, A. (2016). Construction of
Infrastructure on Peat : Case Studies and Lessons Learned. MATEC Web of Conferences, 47(3014), 1–6.



TIME : 10.00 a.m – 11.30 a.m

Members Present: (list all members that attended meeting)

1. Asmawi Ayob (Chairperson)

2. Siti Solehah binti Pahim (Secretary)
3. Siti Hajar Umairah binti Zainalabidin
4. Nur Natasha Nadhirah binti Mohammad Kamal
5. Mohd Khairul Nizam bin Mohd Rafek





Prepared by: Approved by:

__________________ ____________________

(Secretary) (Chairperson)