Effect of Metakaolin on Strength Properties of Lateritic Soil Intended for Use as Road Construction Material
Abstract. An excellent all-weather road is essential in providing reliable transportation services that comprise social and economic development elements. However, in most cases, the road has to be constructed on a soft foundation soil where large deformations usually occur, which causes increases in maintenance costs and leads to interruption of traffic service, especially during the wet season. It is necessary to stabilize or improve the in-situ soils. This study explores the potential of using metakaolin to improve the geotechnical properties of lateritic soil for road construction materials. The soil classifies as A-6(4) and CL according to the American Association of State Highway and Transport Officials and the Unified Soil Classification System. The soil was treated with 5, 17.5 and 30 % concentrations of metakaolin by dry weight and was compacted using three compaction energies: British Standard Light (BSL), West African Standard (WAS) and British Standard Heavy (BSH). California Bearing Ratio (CBR) and Unconfined Compressive Strength (UCS) tests were carried out to evaluate the effect of metakaolin on the soil investigated. Results showed a general improvement in the engineering properties of the soil with an increase in metakaolin content, particularly when compacted at the BSH energy level. However, the results did not meet the 1500-3000 kN/m2 7 days UCS criterion stipulated by the Nigerian General Specification for road base courses. However, 30 % lateritic soil/metakaolin blended soil compacted using WAS and BSH energy levels suffice for use as sub-base in road construction, having met the 750-1500 kN/m2 7 days UCS criterion stipulated by the Nigerian General Specification. The Peak CBR value for the treated soil, compacted using the three energy levels of BSL, WAS, and BSH, occurred at 30 % metakaolin concentration with corresponding soaked CBR values of 17, 23 and 31 %. The Nigerian General Specification recommends a nominal strength criterion of a soaked CBR value of 30 and 80 % to be attained by material to be used as sub-base and base course in road construction. Based on the above criterion, only the 30 % metakaolin treated blend compacted at the BSH energy level met the 30 % requirement for sub-base materials.
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