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Evaluation the Effects of Styrene

Butadiene Rubber Addition as a New


Soil Stabilizer on Geotechnical
Properties

Fauziah binti Ahmed a, * Yahya K. Atemimi a, b, and Mohd


Ashraf Mohamad Ismail a
a
School of Civil Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Engineering Campus,
14300 Nibong Tebal, Pulau Penang, Malaysia
b
Civil Engineering Department, College of Engineering, Babylon University, Al-
Hilla, Babil, Iraq
Corresponding Author:
e-mail: yehyeaaltemimi@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT
A new soil chemical stabilizer with improved soil characteristics is presented in this paper.
Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR) polymer has been effectively used as an inexpensive, eco-
friendly, reliable, and easily applied material for soil stabilization and the obtained response
performance has been evaluated. The herein described method is an improvement on the
traditional stabilizing agents previously used as it provides a cost effective pathway with a
simple technical strategy. In particular, this research emphasizes improving the engineering
properties of virgin soil by mixing it with varying percentages of liquid chemical stabilizer.
The evaluation of the effectiveness and the performance of SBR as a soil stabilizer was
performed in a series of laboratory tests on geotechnical soil properties such as consistency
limits, compaction, direct shear, and permeability. The obtained results revealed that the
addition of SBR (2.5% SBR) to the virgin soil resulted in a 17.8% increase in soil strength and
a 71.9% decrease in the liquid lim 13.5% decrease in the plasticity index.
KEYWORDS: SBR, Chemical stabilization, Geotechnical properties, direct shear test,
consistency limits

INTRODUCTION
Soil is widely used in various earthwork construction projects due to its being cheap and
available. Recently, a decrease in desert soil type has led to dependence on the un-desert soils, that
of low strength (California Bearing Ratio, CBR < 3) [1], low bearing capacity (B.C. < 98 kN/m2)
[2], high consolidation compressibility (Cc > 0.35) [3], high plasticity, and low density, making
them unsatisfactory for established construction requirements. Therefore, it is imperative to utilize
developing technology to improve the soil quality and its engineering performance. Out of the
different soil improvement techniques to be applied is the chemical stabilization of its components.

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Vol.
V 18 [2013], Bund.. D 736

Until
U now, the research com mmunity has dedicated
d seriious attentionn to investigatting the use oof a
varietty of chemiccal additives to solve soiil problems and thereby improving iits geotechniccal
propeerties. In geneeral, chemicaal stabilizers can be classiified into threee main categgories; powdder,
liquidd and emulsiffied additives. Powder cheemicals like liime [4] , cem ment [5], and ash (fly ash [6]
and RHA
R [7]) or their
t mixturess [8] have beeen widely appplied; whereeas, liquid cheemicals such as
epoxy y resin polym mer [9], sodiumm hydroxide, polyvinyl al cohol (PVA), bitumen em mulsion, aquappol
resin [10] have shown improv ved performaance regardinng soil strenngth and other geotechniccal
propeerties. There are
a a group off factors affeccting the perfformance of lliquid additives, whereby tthe
rheolo ogy as the maajor parameteer to be taken n into consideeration, as prresented in Taable 1 [11]. F For
particculate suspenssions, the parrticle size of the suspensioon is a contrrolling factor determining its
penetrrability, althoough the rheo ological propperties are equually importaant [12]. Thuus, the selectiion
criteriion of the liquuid additive chemical
c is governed
g by thhe characterisstics that deteermine the finnal
perforrmance of th he modified soil, with em mulsified liqquids being oone of the nnewly explorred
materrials.
Sttyrene Butad diene Rubberr (SBR) is an n example oof a liquid addditive, whicch is a randoom
copolymer, deriveed from styrrene and buttadiene monoomers. Theree are two cllasses of SB BR;
emulssion SBR (E--SBR) and so olution SBR (S-SBR) [13 ]. Solution (S SBR) is one of the polym mer
group
ps that have immense potential
p appllications in different inddustries [14]. SBR can be
considdered as an in
nexpensive ch hemical, whicch is widely aavailable, nonn-toxic, and reeadily solublee in
waterr. Furthermore, it can be applied
a as a local
l soil stabbilizer in connstruction sitee work with no
speciffic instrumenttations being required. Sch
heme 1 illustrrates the Styreene-butadienee scheme.

Schemee 1: Styrene--butadiene chhemical struucture


Chemical
C stabilization can aid in dust co ontrol on roadds and highwways, particularly in unpavved
roads, in water eroosion control, in fixation an nd leaching ccontrol of wasste and recycled materials. It
can allso be used in
n building con nstruction undderneath founndation; especcially in small buildings wwith
less than
t four storeys [15, 16]. By applyin ng this technnique, it is nnecessary to ensure that tthe
propeerties of the sttabilized geo--materials andd their mixtuures are appliccable for usagge in the desiign
of foundations, em mbankments,, road shoulders, sub grrades, bases, and surfacee courses [17].
Chemmical stabilizaation comprisses of the usee of chemicaals and emulssions as com mpaction aids to
soils, binders and water
w repellen
nts, and as a modifier
m to thhe behavior off clay.
Inn chemical terrms, the clay minerals connsist of layerss with a varieety of loosely associated ioons
on thhe surface off these layers and are su urrounded byy a hydrosphhere of the aabsorbed waater
moleccules, which area strongly attracted
a to clay mineral suurfaces. It hass been well esstablished thaat a
large number of cllay particles can aggregate in smaller sized units w with high surfface areas. Ass a
resultt, the ions off the clay miinerals are hiighly disperseed over the ssurface [2]. IIn addition, tthe
presen nce of water ions can enhaance the ionicc exchange wwith those of clay in such an environmeent
Vol. 18 [2013], Bund. D 737

and enhance the hydrophilicity of clays. This action causes undesired plasticity when the quantity
of the water molecules and the mobility of cat-ions and anions in clay-water systems increase [18].
To reduce the plasticity of clays, the stabilizer may act as a coated surround on clay particles to
prevent ion exchange between the water and clay molecules. Hence, the water molecules will
become free to drain out of the soil body under a small load.
According to the published facts, there is no reported data for the use of SBR in the soil
improvement field; making this report the first and the only study dealing with this scenario. The
selection of SBR as a soil stabilizer is due to economic, technical and environmental aspects.
Therefore, the current research work emphasizes improving the weak soil properties for
construction purposes. The evaluation of the as-modified soil was performed via different
mechanical and engineering properties.

Table 1: Chemical usage in soil stabilization with major criteria,[19]


Chemical Minimal Chemical Mechanical Low initial
Life time Price $/m3
stabilizer safety stable stable viscosity
Micro fine
>25 Safe 100 – 200 Stable Stable No
cement
Colloidal silica >25 Safe 60 – 180 Stable Moderate Yes
Sodium silicate 20 Moderate 180 Non Moderate Yes
Acrylamide >25 Unsafe 500 Stable Moderate Yes
Acrylate 20 Safe 325 Moderate Moderate Yes
Iron
Unknown Unsafe 250 Moderate Moderate yes
precipitation
Epoxy >25 Safe 2200 Stable Stable Yes
Polyvinyl
>25 Safe 140 Stable Moderate yes
alcohol

EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAM

BLENDING OF SOIL AND CHEMICAL COMPOUND


This study has been performed to investigate the SBR effect on geotechnical soil properties.
Many tests were conducted on chemical (SBR) such as (PH, Viscosity, density, torque and
chemical composition) in addition to the virgin soil (MH) such as soil classification tests (sieve
analysis and hydrometer), specific gravity, consistency limits, PH, compaction and direct shear
test. After mixing SBR with virgin soil, laboratory tests were conducted to evaluate the polymer
effect, curing time and the time effect on the mixture. The soil used was oven dried (105-110 0C)
and then mixed with polymer percentages by weight at its maximum dry density (MDD) and
optimum moisture content (OMC) with each percentage corresponding to the value obtained from
standard proctor compaction test (BS1377: part 4: 1990:3.3). Consistency limits were conducted
on soil pass sieve No. 40 (0.425mm opining size), and mixed with SBR at different percentages
then tested in accordance to (BS 1377: Part 2:1990 Clause 4.3 and 4.5) with curing time. Shear
strength parameters C and Фo where obtained from the direct shear test (BS1377: part
7:1990:4.4.1). The specimens were stored in plastic bags and then in plastic containers and tested
(1, 3, 7 and 14 days) solely for direct shear and consistency limits.
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MATERIALS
SBR
Next Base Technology (NBT II) is the commercial name for the chemical additives that were
used in this research, whose a scientific name is SBR “Soluble Styrene Butadiene Rubber” and
was provided by the Next Base Technology Company in Malaysia.
SBR Soil Stabilizer is a polymer emulsion, and is a simple example of a bonding agent, which
bonds soil particles together and also produces a waterproofing effect. SBR Soil Stabilizer is
added to the soil in the form of liquid, which is diluted in the correct amount of water. The dilution
amount is selected to achieve the target additive quantity at the desired (OMC) required for the
most efficient soil compaction.

Soil
The soil used in this study was collected from the University Science Malaysia (USM),
Engineering campus, Nibong Tebal, Penang, Malaysia. Distributed soil samples were collected
from a depth 0.3- 1.0 m from the ground surface then air dried. A mixer machine was used to
pulverize the soil and prepare it for testing. All samples utilized were oven dried and then sieved
on No.4 British sieve (4.75mm) before any test.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

SBR TESTS RESULTS


Many tests were conducted on the SBR to evaluate the range of effect properties when mixed
with the soil. Table 2 shows SBR properties were performed at room temperature (25-28 oC).
Fig.1 and Fig.3 show the viscosity increased with time, and changed the state of the polymer from
liquid to solid. The polymer strength increased over time, which is a similar conclusion to that
listed in Fig.2 [1] which was used to validate the viscosity. By empirical Equations (1 – 2), that
obtained from Figures 1and3 the strength can be checked at any time.
Table 2: Basic SBR properties
Test Property Specification
pH 5.72 BS.1377: Part3:1990
Diffractive index 1.402 ASTM D1747-09
Density 1.05
Shear strength Increase with time* ASTM D196-99
Viscosity Increase with time ASTM D196-99
Conductivity 130.3 μs/cm
Vol. 18 [2013], Bund. D 739

Figure 1: Relation between viscosity and time for SBR

Figure 2: Viscosity vs. setting time after Karol [11].

Figure 3: Relation between viscosity and torque percent for the SBR

ν = 0.8044t + 86.506 (1)

T = 0.2998ν + 0.0168 (2)


Vol. 18 [2013], Bund. D 740

where ν, t, and T are the viscosity in Cp, time in min., and the theoretical calculated torque %,
respectively.

SOIL CLASSIFICATION
Soil classification tests were performed based on combining sieving- sedimentation analysis
with wet sieving and the fine soil passing from sieve No.200, which was determined as a
percentage by the hydrometer procedure in accordance with BS 1377: part 2. [20],[21]. The soil
classification results were investigated and are presented in Table 4 and Fig. 4.

Table 4: Virgin Soil (MH) properties


Properties Test results Specifications
Gs % 2.46 BS1377:Part2:1990:8.3
Color Black to gray
L.L 51 BS1377:Part3:1990:4.3
P.L 34.5 BS1377:Part3:1990:5.3
P.I 16.5
Accordance to Head Vol.2
k m/s*10-7 0.44
[21]
Less than 75 µm (%) 64.5 BS1377:Part2:1990:9.3
Gravel (%) 0 BS1377:Part2:1990:9.3
Sand (%) 35.5 BS1377:Part2:1990:9.3
pH 3.8 BS1377:Part3:1990:9
Organic content 12.5 BS1377:Part3:1990:4
MDD (g/cm3 ) 1.51 BS1377:Part4:1990:3.3
OMC (%) 24 BS1377:Part4:1990:3.3
USCS MH
C ( kPa) 31.8 BS1377:Part7:1990:4.4.1
Фo 37.07 BS1377:Part7:1990:4.4.1
Vol. 18 [2013], Bund. D 741

Figure 4: Distribution curve for sandy silt soil

CONSISTENCY LIMITS
Dry soil that passed from sieve No.40 (425µm) was used throughout this experiment. Liquid
limit utilizing cone penetrometer device was carried out immediately, 3, 7 and 14 days,
respectively after being mixed. The results of the consistency limits are shown in Fig. 5 - 7.
Fig. 5 shows effect of SBR percentage by weight on liquid limit with curing time. Generally,
the liquid limit increases as the SBR percentage increase. After being mixed with soil directly, the
liquid limit increased more than the virgin soil at all SBR percentages, which can be attributed to
the effect of the liquid on the mixture without any mechanical or chemical effect on the soil. After
a 3- day curing time the stabilizer effect on the liquidity of the mixture was found by decreasing
the liquid limit for every SBR% -MH mixture. Nevertheless, the 2.5% had a lower liquid limit
compared with the other percentages of SBR-MH. The plastic limit increase as the SBR% also
increased with curing time, as can be seen in Fig.6. Depending on the liquid limit and plastic limit
results; the plasticity index decreased for all SBR% and with curing time but still 2.5% SBR has
less result. This result is similar to those of other research [7, 22, 23]. The consistency limits
results show the change in the position of the soil mixture 2.5% SBR from the right under A-line
at plasticity chart to left side. This change caused a change in the soil classification from MH to
ML as presented in Fig.8.
Vol. 18 [2013], Bund. D 742

Figure 5: Effect SBR% on Liquid limit at different curing time

Figure 6: Effect SBR% on Plastic limit for different curing time

Figure 7: Relationship between P.I. and SBR percent by weight at different curing time
Vol. 18 [2013], Bund. D 743

Figure 8: Effect the SBR percentage on soil classification

COMPACTION TEST RESULTS


After drying the soil at (105-110 oC), it was passed through a 4.75mm BS sieve and a
compaction test was applied to determine the variation of the OMC and MDD after mixing with a
different percentages of SBR (2.5, 5, 7.5, 10 and 12.5%). A standard compaction test in
accordance with BS 1377: part 4:1990 clause 3.3 was performed and the results are shown in
Fig.9. The MDD was decreased by increasing the SBR content and changing less than virgin soil
also increased the OMC. These results can be attributed to replacing the soil by chemicals. The
density of the chemical was less than the density of the soil 1.05 g/cm3 and 1.51 g/cm3
respectively. Therefore, the total density was reduced for all SBR percentages and this reduction
increase with SBR percentage increase while OMC increase depends on the stabilizer state
(liquid). However, the acidity media for the mixture as in Fig.12, affected the strength due to the
fact that in tropical soils the cementing agent is attributed to free iron oxide. When the free iron
oxide decreased (Fe2O3 ) the strength also decreased. These results similar mentioned by [6, 24].

Figure 9: Relation between MDD and OMC at different SBR%-MH soil


Vol. 18 [2013], Bund. D 744

DIRECT SHEAR TEST RESULT


Mold size (100*100*35mm) was used and followed BS1377:Part7:1990: clause 4.4.1. The
prepared soil samples were stored in plastic bags then put in plastic containers for every curing
time to maintain moisture content, and prepared at MDD and OMC. From the direct shear test it
was found the shear strength increased with a SBR percentage increase of 7.5% then decreased
less than the virgin soil for other percentages. These results can be attributed to the chemical
stabilizer effect, at the small percentage start to fill the voids in the soil then work as a cementing
bound when all the voids are filled by chemical stabilizer, all over quantity work as increase of the
softening state of mixture to decrease the strength. It can be also concluded that the clay minerals
will be affected by the stabilizer percentage. The small SBR percentage is enough to coat clay
platelets and works as a waterproof. However, increasing the stabilizer percentage in the soil body
works as a lubricant material due to slip of particles of clay on each other and in effect decreasing
the strength of the soil skeleton. These results can be seen more clearly in Fig.10, which shows the
soil mixed with 2.5% of SBR gives the highest shear resistance compare to the other SBR
percentages. The shear resistance of the soil increases due to an increase in the curing time for all
SBR percentages. This results are similar to these obtained from [22], whereby shear resistance is
calculated according to Coulomb Equation (3).

Figure 10: Effect curing time on shear resistance with different SBR percentage by
weight

= + Ф (3)
where τ and σ are the shear resistance in kPa and stress in kPa respectively, and c - Ф are the shear
strength parameters of the soil.

PERMEABILITY RESULTS
Fig.11 shows the permeability coefficient increases as the SBR percentage increases. This
result can be attributed to the behavior of the stabilizer which works as a waterproof at first action
Vol. 18 [2013], Bund. D 745

then by increaseing the SBR percentage, the SBR performed as an expansion materials in the soil
body that caused on increase in the space between particles (porosity). Therefore, the permeability
increased depending on this result about 14.7% in 2.5% SBR. These results can form to the type of
soil MH and the classification by Terzaghi and peck [25], same results are presented by[26] .

Figure 11: Effect SBR percentage on permeability coefficient

pH TEST RESULTS
Fig.12 shows the pH effect on soil specimens with curing time (1, 3, 7 and14 days). The pH of
the virgin soil was less than 7 and also SBR, which means the media of the mixture had a pH less
than 7 (acidic media). A pH of less than 7 in soil effects its strength by decreasing the percentage
of free iron oxide ( in the tropical soil used) and the iron oxide increases the strength property to
the soil by coating the iron oxide on the surface which aggregates the particles into clusters.
Generally, there is a decrease in the pH in soil with an increase in SBR percentage. However, there
is an increase in pH as curing time increases and the (7.5%, 10% and 12.5% SBR) produced the
same results, Stable in every curing time. In Fig.12 four curves appeared because three curves
fitted on it. the results in Fig.12 were similar [24] .
Vol. 18 [2013], Bund. D 746

Figure 12: Effect curing time on pH for different SBR%

CONCLUSION
Depending on all the results obtained from these experiments the following conclusion can be
made on the performance of the SBR as a stabilizer:
1. The plasticity index was reduced to 71.9% by preventing the water from attacking the clay
particles.
2. The optimum moisture content was reduced due to reduction in the ionizing and
exchanging of the water molecules on the surface of the clay platelets.
3. The shear strength increased 17.8% by increasing inter -particle bonding.
4. pH decreased by about 14% for the virgin soil.
5. After the soil has been improved, it can be used in a wide range of construction projects as
well as a filling materials because it has very low permeability in 2.5% SBR had
permeability coefficient 1*10-7 m/sec.
6. Generally the chemical stabilizer (SBR) demonstrates the ability to improve this type of
soil, while with SBR non- toxic, non- vapor and safely handling used.

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