Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Improving the stability of clay for construction


This research focused on making soft clay more stable to facilitate construction. Researchers at the Universiti Teknologi MARA mixed clay with various waste materials to enhance its engineering quality.

This research set out to improve the engineering quality of clay using waste materials and a secret binder ingredient.

Copyright : wikimedia

Clay is a natural material composed primarily of fine-grain minerals. It consists of tiny particles that have plastic and adhesive properties. Clay also possesses small voids and pores, so it's capable of retaining water. In this condition, it tends to expand and shrink, which can lead to settlement.

When exposed to increments of water, clay tends to soften and liquefy. Clay often causes difficulties in construction with its low strength and stiffness. This has caused serious problems in geotechnical engineering because weak soil may cause damage to the foundation of buildings and cracks along the road pavement.

Due to the rapid growth development of infrastructures facilities in Malaysia, it is impossible to avoid constructing on clay. Clay makes up 20% of the total soils in Peninsular Malaysia. It can be found in the West and East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. This type of soil is generally classified as marine clay. This clay originates from flooding during ancient times. The sedimentation of seabed was very thick and can be up to 60 metres in depth, or roughly the height of a 20 storey-building. Hence, the construction over clay may experience bearing capacity failure and excessive settlement.

Stabilization of soil using cementitious material becomes optional to solve this problem. Cementitious materials are several binding materials that may mix with water to form a plastic paste.

Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) is used as a common cementitious binding agent. From a previous study, stabilization of soil using cement was one of the soil treatment applied to improve soil plasticity and workability. Therefore, this research focuses on determination of the strength that can be produced by using waste material ashes as part of the additive mixture.

This will decrease the use of Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) to help stabilize clay. By doing this, more economical soil mixes can be produced.

The selected waste materials are bottom ash (BA) and fly ash (FA). They are a byproduct from electric power plant. These waste materials are disposed and generally have no economical value.

BA is physically coarse, porous, glassy, granular, greyish and incombustible materials that are collected from the bottom of furnaces that burned coal whereas FA is grey in colour and dust-like material.

It is found that they have pozzolonic properties which make it possible to replace cement in deep soil mixing. On top of that, a secret ingredient has been added to promote better pozzolonic reactions between the additives and clay.

This research was conducted for soil engineering properties and strength test for various inclusions of ashes into the clay soil. The percentage of additives is 5%, 10% and 15% of each ash. Improvement levels were evaluated from the results of unconfined compression test (UCT) carried out at different curing times.

Other soil characteristics like plasticity, particle density and compaction properties were also monitored.

The results showed that by using these admixtures, the strength development can be increased over time. This proved that these admixtures can be promising ingredients in deep soil mixing. By doing so, a high performance clay cement column can be produced in the near future.

 Juhaizad Bin Ahmad
Institute of Infrastructure, Engineering & Sustainable Management (IIESM)
UiTM Shah Alam
Email :

Darmarajah Nadarajah | Research SEA News
Further information:

Further reports about: Malaysia OPC UiTM construction materials plastic plasticity waste materials

More articles from Architecture and Construction:

nachricht Hospital energy centre connected with heating network
26.11.2015 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

nachricht Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade
25.11.2015 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE

All articles from Architecture and Construction >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How Cells in the Developing Ear ‘Practice’ Hearing

Before the fluid of the middle ear drains and sound waves penetrate for the first time, the inner ear cells of newborn rodents practice for their big debut. Researchers at Johns Hopkins report they have figured out the molecular chain of events that enables the cells to make “sounds” on their own, essentially “practicing” their ability to process sounds in the world around them.

The researchers, who describe their experiments in the Dec. 3 edition of the journal Cell, show how hair cells in the inner ear can be activated in the absence...

Im Focus: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Urbanisation and migration from rural areas challenging agriculture in Eastern Europe

30.11.2015 | Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Teamplay IT solution enables more efficient use of protocols

30.11.2015 | Trade Fair News

Greater efficiency and potentially reduced costs with new MRI applications

30.11.2015 | Trade Fair News

Modular syngo.plaza as a comprehensive solution – even for enterprise radiology

30.11.2015 | Trade Fair News

More VideoLinks >>>