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Ordinary Portland cement (OPC) is generally used to stabilize cohesionless sandy soils that are often found in coastal areas. Due to its high carbon footprint, many studies are being conducted to identify a suitable green alternative for stabilizing cohesionless soils. Previous studies have shown that partially replacing OPC with waste materials such as nano-silica and coal waste reduces the overall carbon footprint without significantly impacting the performance. Geopolymer (GP) received a lot of attention in the past few decades owing to its similar properties to that of OPC yet with a lower carbon footprint. This study investigated the feasibility of stabilizing cohesionless sandy soils with metakaolin-based GP. Engineering and characterization tests such as shrinkage, strength, pH, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) were performed to evaluate various characteristics of the stabilized mixes with different dosages of geopolymer and relate them to microstructural changes. Notably, GP-treated soils did not deteriorate during the durability tests, whereas the OPC-treated soil only retained about 75% of its strength. This is an indication that GP could be a better choice than OPC in coastal areas where cohesionless soils often experience heavy rainfall and flooding. Overall, an optimum dosage of GP improved both the mechanical properties and durability of cohesionless soils.


Tran-SET Project: 20GTTAMU21