Stabilization of Expansive Soils Using Plant-Extracted Silciate solution

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Expansive soils pose considerable geotechnical and structural challenges all over the world. Many cities, towns, transport systems, and structures are built on expansive soils. This study evaluates stabilization of expansive soils using silicate solution extracted from rice husk taking advantage of an agricultural material waste. Rice husk ash production was optimized considering several factors including rinsing solution, rinsing temperature, burning time, and burning temperature. Results indicated that washing the rice husk with HCl (1M) produced an ash with surface area of 320 m2/g and 97% of silicon oxide. Two local soils were treated with sodium silicate solution, silica gel at pH 1.5, and silica gel at pH 4 to evaluate its mechanical properties at curing times of 1 day, 7 days, and 14 days. Results indicated that sodium silicate solution reduced the one-dimensional swell by 48% for Soil A, however, swell for soil B remained about the same. Silica gel at pH 1.5 reduced the one-dimensional swell by 67% for soil A and by 35% for soil B. Silica gel at pH 4 did also reduce the free swell by 40% for soil A and by 35% for soil B. Results also indicated that the swell pressures for all treated soils increased significantly compared to untreated soils. Soils treated with sodium silicate solution showed irregular compaction curves. Silica gel-treated soils showed a reduction in the maximum dry unit weight for both soils but optimum water content decreased for soil A and increased for soil B. Atterberg limits were also reduced for sodium silicate and silica gels-treated soils. Swelling index for bentonite showed a reduction by 53% for all treated bentonites. Soil-water characteristics curves (SWCC) for sodium silicate-treated soils remined almost the same as untreated soils. However, silica gels-treated soils retain more water. Surface area (SSA) decreased for ii sodium silicate-treated soil but increased for all silica gels-treated soils. It was concluded that curing times did not show additional improvement in most of the experiments, but the results remained about the same as 1-day treatment. The study demonstrated that silicate solution is promising and sustainable technique for stabilization of expansive soils.