Comparing the effects of two alkaline activators of sodium hydroxide and calcium carbide residue on geopolymeric stabilization of clay soils

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Civil Engineering, University of Gonabad

2 Department of Civil Engineering, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman

3 Faculty of Civil and Surveying Engineering, Graduate University of Advanced Technology, Kerman, Iran


Nowadays, the Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) industry causes extensive environmental consequences due to consuming huge amounts of fossil fuels. This necessitated researchers to introduce a novel group of binders called “Geopolymer cements” or “Green cements” with higher performance and lower pollution compared to the OPC. Thus, in this research, the effect of using two types of alkaline activators such as sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and calcium carbide residue (CCR), for the stabilization of clay soil (CL) has been investigated. Initially, the chemical compositions of soil, recycled glass powder, calcium carbide residue, and sodium hydroxide were obtained via X-ray fluorescence (XRF) test. Then, the mechanical behavior of different unstabilized, geopolymer-stabilized, and OPC-stabilized samples has studied using the unconfined compressive strength (UCS) test. The effects of several parameters such as the type and concentration of alkaline activators and the curing times (7, 28, and 91 days on the UCS and failure strain of samples have been assessed. Moreover, in order to study the microstructure of samples, scanning electron microscope (SEM) images and energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis of selected samples have been used. Results showed the effective stabilization of soil geopolymer, using both alkaline activators. However, the CCR will be more appropriate if environmental and economic problems are considered.


Main Subjects

[1] G.A. Lorenzo, D.T. Bergado, Fundamental parameters of cement-admixed clay—New approach, Journal of geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering, 130(10) (2004) 1042-1050.
[2] K.L. Scrivener, R.J. Kirkpatrick, Innovation in use and research on cementitious material, Cement and concrete research, 38(2) (2008) 128-136.
[3] D. Khale, R. Chaudhary, Mechanism of geopolymerization and factors influencing its development: a review, Journal of materials science, 42(3) (2007) 729-746.
[4] J. Davidovits, Geopolymer chemistry and applications. Institut Géopolymère, Geopolymer Institute, Saint-Quentin, France, in, ISBN 2-951-14820-1-9, 2008.
[5] J. Davidovits, Geopolymers: inorganic polymeric new materials, Journal of Thermal Analysis and calorimetry, 37(8) (1991) 1633-1656.
[6] A. Palomo, F. Glasser, Chemically-bonded cementitious materials based on metakaolin, British ceramic. Transactions and journal, 91(4) (1992) 107-112.
[7] K. Vijai, R. Kumutha, B. Vishnuram, Effect of types of curing on strength of geopolymer concrete, International Journal of the Physical Sciences, 5(9) (2010) 1419-1423.
[8] D. Hardjito, S.E. Wallah, D.M. Sumajouw, B. Rangan, Factors influencing the compressive strength of fly ash-based geopolymer concrete, Civil engineering dimension, 6(2) (2004) 88-93.
[9] M.M. Al Bakri Abdullah, K. Hussin, M. Bnhussain, K.N. Ismail, Z. Yahya, R.A. Razak, Fly ash-based geopolymer lightweight concrete using foaming agent, International journal of molecular sciences, 13(6) (2012) 7186-7198.
[10] G. Saravanan, C. Jeyasehar, S. Kandasamy, Flyash Based Geopolymer Concrete-A State of the Art Review, Journal of Engineering Science & Technology Review, 6(1) (2013).
[11] N. Cristelo, S. Glendinning, A. Teixeira Pinto, Deep soft soil improvement by alkaline activation, Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers-Ground Improvement, 164(2) (2011) 73-82.
[12] A. Kampala, S. Horpibulsuk, A. Chinkullijniwat, S.-L. Shen, Engineering properties of recycled calcium carbide residue stabilized clay as fill and pavement materials, Construction and Building Materials, 46 (2013) 203-210.
[13] M. Zhang, H. Guo, T. El-Korchi, G. Zhang, M. Tao, Experimental feasibility study of geopolymer as the next-generation soil stabilizer, Construction and building materials, 47 (2013) 1468-1478.
[14] P. Sargent, P.N. Hughes, M. Rouainia, M.L. White, the use of alkali activated waste binders in enhancing the mechanical properties and durability of soft alluvial soils, Engineering geology, 152(1) (2013) 96-108.
[15] N. Cristelo, S. Glendinning, L. Fernandes, A.T. Pinto, Effects of alkaline-activated fly ash and Portland cement on soft soil stabilisation, Acta Geotechnica, 8(4) (2013) 395-405.
[16] B. Singhi, A.I. Laskar, M.A. Ahmed, Investigation on soil–geopolymer with slag, fly ash and their blending, Arabian Journal for science and engineering, 41(2) (2016) 393-400.
[17] R.A. Mozumder, A.I. Laskar, Prediction of unconfined compressive strength of geopolymer stabilized clayey soil using artificial neural network, Computers and Geotechnics, 69 (2015) 291-300.
[18] I. Phummiphan, S. Horpibulsuk, P. Sukmak, A. Chinkulkijniwat, A. Arulrajah, S.-L. Shen, Stabilisation of marginal lateritic soil using high calcium fly ash-based geopolymer, Road Materials and Pavement Design, 17(4) (2016) 877-891.
[19] M. Abdullah, F. Ahmad, A. Mustafa Al Bakri, Geopolymer application in soil: a short review, Applied Mechanics and Materials, 754 (2015) 378-381.
[20] A.M. Al Bakri, H. Kamarudin, M. Bnhussain, I.K. Nizar, A. Rafiza, A. Izzat, Chemical reactions in the geopolymerisation process using fly ash-based geopolymer: a review, Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 5(7) (2011) 1199-1203.
[21] P.N. Lemougna, K.J. MacKenzie, U.C. Melo, Synthesis and thermal properties of inorganic polymers (geopolymers) for structural and refractory applications from volcanic ash, Ceramics International, 37(8) (2011) 3011-3018.
[22] E. Papa, V. Medri, E. Landi, B. Ballarin, F. Miccio, Production and characterization of geopolymers based on mixed compositions of metakaolin and coal ashes, Materials & Design (1980-2015), 56 (2014) 409-415.
[23] S.M. Rao, I.P. Acharya, Synthesis and characterization of fly ash geopolymer sand, Journal of materials in civil engineering, 26(5) (2014) 912-917.
[24] M.P. Bilondi1a, S. Marandi, F. Ghasemi2b, Effect of recycled glass powder on asphalt concrete modification, Structural Engineering and Mechanics, 59(02) (2016) 373-385.
[25] M. Pattengil, T. Shutt, Use of ground glass as a pozzolan, in:  Proc., Int. Symp. on Utilization of Waste Glass in Secondary Products, ASCE, Albuquerque, NM, 1973.
[26] M. Sabbagh Gol, V. Toufigh, Feasibility Study of Sandy Soil Stabilization with Glass Powder and Natural Pozzolan Based Geopolymer, Amirkabir Journal of Civil Engineering, 51(1) (2019) 169-182.
[27] A.B. Pascual, M.T. Tognonvi, A. Tagnit-Hamou, Waste glass powder-based alkali-activated mortar, Int. J. Res. Eng. Technol, 3(13) (2014) 32-36.
[28] M. Cyr, R. Idir, T. Poinot, Properties of inorganic polymer (geopolymer) mortars made of glass cullet, Journal of Materials Science, 47(6) (2012) 2782-2797.
[30] F. Puertas, M. Torres-Carrasco, Use of glass waste as an activator in the preparation of alkali-activated slag. Mechanical strength and paste characterisation, Cement and Concrete Research, 57 (2014) 95-104.
[31] M. Torres-Carrasco, F. Puertas, Waste glass in the geopolymer preparation. Mechanical and microstructural characterisation, Journal of cleaner production, 90 (2015) 397-408.
[32] C. Phetchuay, S. Horpibulsuk, C. Suksiripattanapong, A. Chinkulkijniwat, A. Arulrajah, M.M. Disfani, Calcium carbide residue: Alkaline activator for clay–fly ash geopolymer, Construction and Building Materials, 69 (2014) 285-294.
[33] J. Olufowobi, A. Ogundoju, B. Michael, O. Aderinlewo, Clay soil stabilisation using powdered glass, Journal of Engineering Science and Technology, 9(5) (2014) 541-558.
[34] J.R. Benny, J. Jolly, J.M. Sebastian, M. Thomas, Effect of glass powder on engineering properties of clayey soil, International Journal of Engineering Research & Technology, 6 (2017).
[35] H. Canakci, A. Aram, F. Celik, Stabilization of clay with waste soda lime glass powder, Procedia engineering, 161 (2016) 600-605.
[36] M.S. Khan, M. Tufail, M. Mateeullah, Effects of waste glass powder on the geotechnical properties of loose subsoils, Civil Engineering Journal, 4(9) (2018) 2044-2051.
[37] Y.-J. Du, N.-J. Jiang, S.-Y. Liu, S. Horpibulsuk, A. Arulrajah, Field evaluation of soft highway subgrade soil stabilized with calcium carbide residue, Soils and Foundations, 56(2) (2016) 301-314.
[38] C. Phetchuay, S. Horpibulsuk, A. Arulrajah, C. Suksiripattanapong, A. Udomchai, Strength development in soft marine clay stabilized by fly ash and calcium carbide residue based geopolymer, Applied clay science, 127 (2016) 134-142.
[39] S. Gurugubelli, D. Prasad, B. Eswararao, A laboratory study on the strength improve of expansive soil treated with calcium carbide residue and fly ash, International Journal of innovative research in technology, 3(12) (2017) 120-125.
[40] A.A.S. Tigue, J.R. Dungca, H. Hinode, W. Kurniawan, M.A.B. Promentilla, Synthesis of a one-part geopolymer system for soil stabilizer using fly ash and volcanic ash, in:  MATEC Web of Conferences, EDP Sciences, 2018, pp. 05017.
[41] D. ASTM, Standard test method for particle-size analysis of soils, (2007).
[42] A. ASTM, D4318-10 stardard test methods for liquid limit, plastic limit and plasticity index of soils, astm int, West Conshohocken, Pa,  (2010).
[43] D. ASTM, 2487. Standard practice for classification of soils for engineering purposes, in:  American Society for Testing of Materials, 2011.
[44] D. ASTM, on Soil and Rock: Standard test methods for laboratory compaction characteristics of soil using standard effort (12 400 Ft-lbf/ft3 (600 KN-m/m3)) 1, ASTM international, (2007).
[45] N. Makaratat, C. Jaturapitakkul, C. Namarak, V. Sata, Effects of binder and CaCl2 contents on the strength of calcium carbide residue-fly ash concrete, Cement and Concrete Composites, 33(3) (2011) 436-443.
[46] D. ASTM, Standard test method for unconfined compressive strength of cohesive soil, ASTM standard D, 2166 (2006).
[47] J. He, Synthesis and characterization of geopolymers for infrastructural applications, (2012).
[48] P. Chindaprasirt, C. Jaturapitakkul, W. Chalee, U. Rattanasak, Comparative study on the characteristics of fly ash and bottom ash geopolymers, Waste management, 29(2) (2009) 539-543.