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Cement- treated soil: Experience in the work Rehabilitation of National Route No 7 Section: crossing La Picasa Lagoon through existing

g road
F. Gerbaudo & J.E. Ramoneda & J. Viozzi
Direccin Nacional de Vialidad, 7 Distrito- Divisin Obras. Santa Fe, Argentina

ABSTRACT: The paper presents the experience of using cement treated soil to construct an embankment in the Rehabilitation of National Route 7 Section: crossing La Picasa Lagoon through existing road work, located between Km 380.0 and Km 390.5 in the Santa Fe Province, Argentine. The overflowing of La Picasa Lagoon in 1999 interrupted the existing road. This work rehabilitated the flood section. The project itself included the construction of an embankment protected by stones on the existing road. The chemical aggressiveness of water, caused by high content of salts, especially sulfates, required the embankment to be neutralized both physically and chemically. Consequently, a treatment with low quantities of ARS Portland cement was proposed. While in Argentina this technique is widely used in soil stabilization, seeking to improve both physical characteristics and bearing capacity, it has never been used to modify only the physical conditions.

1 INTRODUCTION National Road No. 7 starts in the city of Buenos Aires and developes from east to west- crossing the provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Crdoba, San Luis and Mendoza. The section under study starts in the Santa Fe Province at Km 380.0 and continues around the flooding area of the Laguna La Picasa, ending at km 390.5. This lake is located in the southwest of the province of Santa Fe and North of the Province of Buenos Aires and has basin of approximately 500,000 hectares contribution, including SE of Cordoba, NW of Buenos Aires and SW of Santa Fe areas, on a stretch of 100 km long and 50 meters wide along National Route No. 7.

01/02/2006 and ended on 15/06/2007. It gave continuity to the NR No. 7 interrupted from 1999 due to the overflowing of the water. The track crosses the La Picasa lagoon by the South West end. The general morphology of the area has a typical landscape of gently undulating plains, with alternation of very flat hills and depressed sectors, where ponds and temporary lows locate, incorporating a surface storage capacity. Surface slopes are low, less than the 0004 m / m. The aim of the project was to rehabilitate the road through an embankment along the existing track and avoid disruption in the future.

Figure 2. View of the trace of the roadway when starting the work Figure 1. Level at the time of the work of the lagoon: IGN 104.00 (approximate).

To achieve this, the following hydraulic and project parameters have been considered:

The work, contracted by the Direccin Nacional de Vialidad of Argentine, was officially started




Level at the time of the work of the lagoon: IGN 104.00 (approximate). Maximum level of the lagoon at the conclusion of the drainage works currently in progress: 102.50 IGN. Federal Plan of Flood Control administered by the Secretary of Water Resources of the Nation. Minimal height of grade project: 104.80 IGN. The typical profile of basic work also takes into account the following requirements, according to the level of service to be provided along the way: Guideline Speed: 110 km / h Roadway width: 7.44 m Crown width: 15.30 m Shoulder width: 3.00 m It was also built a bridge located in the progressive 6 +759.13, with a length of 60 m in three tranches of 20m light each, a level beam background of 104.50m and a roadway width of 8.30m. The basic work of raising the embankment has its axis coincident with the axis of the existing pavement. It consists of a shoulder and core of rockfill. The last one is formed by a causeway to advance beyond the level of water hair with a rematch of 0.20 m. From this base causeway lies layers of cement treated soil and after that the main pavement structure is found. It is the result of the application of 1993 AASHTO Design Method for annual average daily traffic design of 1960 vehicles per day in 2007. The structure was designed as a semirigid pavement, trying to make rigid support layers decreasing in depth. The final structure was formed as follows: Subgrade soil treated with cement sub base of 20cm thick. See Figure 2 reference 6. Sub base granular treated with cement of 20cm thick. See Figure 2 reference 5. Base granular treated with cement of 15cm thick. See Figure 2 reference 4. Asphalt concrete layer of 7cm thick. See Figure 2 reference 1. A geotextile membrane resistance to puncture and tear was placed between the causeway and the layers of soil cement.

This paper will focus on the core layer of soil fill, the subgrade and shoulders coating, all executed in soil treated with cement. 2 TECHNICAL SOLUTION The system of elements and materials that make up the existing basic work respond to the demands required by the environment. The pier contains the nucleus and acts as protection, containment and filter side together with geotextile membrane. The embankment forms a floor that is not affected in its stability by the presence of water and eliminates the phenomenon of capillary rise for the high void ratio. The change in the physical properties aims to provide the fill water insensitivity to the phenomena of volume changes (swelling, shrinkage and consolidation) and embedding capillary absorption. This embedding is a latent possibility in the work because of its proximity to high laggon level and exposure to rain. Moreover, the slight stiffening of cement brings a number of advantages, among others, construction technology and also influences the attenuation of the physical phenomenon of consolidation. This series of technological advantages are: Reduces lead times and costs for using the equipment. A similar structural capacity as the bank executed without cement requires significant mechanical densification, which implies a considerable runtime and greater use of compaction equipment (as will be seen in the development of construction methodology and equipment used for distribution and preparation of material to be compacted is similar to that required for untreated soil with cement). At the same time constitutes a less deformable seat base for the pavement structure to improve its performance and durability. It also helps to mitigate potential differential settlement between the sectors of basic work that are above the existing pavement structure and outside it, that is, on shoulders verges and existing embankment slope. As a disadvantage, the soil layers agglomerated with cement have a significant potential for drying shrinkage cracking, a problem that can be solved by attending carefully curing task. Nevertheless the use of low cement tenors in this case, presented no such problems. In order to use cement as a treatment of soil we had to pay special attention to water of the lagoon. The chemical analysis verified the presence of important contents of sulfate, 2.4g / l, a substance that is combined with tricalcium aluminate hydrates (AC3) expansive cement to form compounds that cause cracking. We therefore had to use Portland Cement ARS, highly resistant to sulfates. It is provided to give an


C.Rasante Min.






C.Rasante Min. Exist.


5 6 7 8

Pavimento Existente

Figure 3. Cross Section

order of magnitude that according to PETG Ref. [1] the maximum sulfate content for mixing water for soil cement is 1g / l. 3 SPECIFICATIONS In this paper we mention some concepts of the specifications related to soils treated with cement, which come from the Special Technical Specifications (PETG) of the work. Ref [1]. Related to the materials, the most important requirement is Cement, which must be of type ARS according to the IRAM Norms 1669-1:1984 Portland Cement highly sulphate-resistant, with no additions and/or IRAM Norms 1669-2:1987 Portland Cement highly sulphate-resistant, with additions. There were no parameters to control soil established except those related to the presence of organic matter, leaving the feasibility of using soil from different sites subject to the study of economic and technical feasibility for mixture proportions. As for the soil-cement mixture did not set any parameter that has to do with the physical properties of the material, grain size distribution and Atterberg limits, common practice for the specification of lime-treated mixtures. Such properties allow to directly assess the effectiveness of treatment. The lack of quantifiers of these properties in the specifications of soil treated with cement applied to this project responds to the tests required to obtain the mixture should offer the possibility to break into particles. Because of the cement, once the mixture was compacted or left aside for some time uncompacted, this last process is not easy to do. One could try to make some kind of characterization when uncompacted mixture is young, hours or days after homogenization, but in this period the reactions and chemical changes are substantial minute by minute and thus the time variable would introduce a large scatter in results. It should be further study in this regard. It was established as an indirect control parameter for evaluating the effectiveness of treatment in an indirect way the compressive strength according to Standard Test VN - E33 - 67 Ref [2], except you have to do with curing and molding of the specimens. The test was due to perform after a curing process of 48 hours at 50 degrees Celsius or 21 days at room temperature. The molding process took between two and two and a half hours after the mixing was made. According to the current standard specifications a soil stabilized with cement has a curing period of 7 days at 20 degrees Celsius; which serves to mitigate the structural requirement for the mixture treated, in comparison to the stabilized one, maintaining the values of compressive strength environments commonly demanded. This measure substantially reduces the amount of cement into the soil.

Whenever the construction methodology adopted for the execution is the indicated in this paper, the delay between mixing and compaction of the specimens is common practice in laboratories in order to adjust sample conditions to the real compaction in the work. It was also introduced the alternative to cure the specimens at a higher temperature than standard 50 degrees Celsius during 48 hours to control the mixture in order to verify the correct execution of layers in a reasonable time according to work deadlines. The temperature acts as a catalyst accelerating the hydration of cement in a direct analogy with the steam-cured concrete, a technology that is used when trying to obtain mechanical strength at early ages. The compression strength both for the bank, the subbase coating and the coating should be between shoulders 18 and 25 kg/cm2. Another condition of approval of the layers is compaction which has been one of the most discussed. In accordance with the Particular Specification of the Work the finished layer must be inspected comparing the result of compaction control test by the sand method according to standard VN - E8 - 66 Ref [2] with the obtained using the technique of compaction test of soil-cement mixtures and soil-lime VN - E19 - 66 Ref [2]. The last one was performed on a mixed specimen obtained in the road prior to compaction, but using the compaction energy corresponding to each layer as set out in the PETG Ref. [1]. This combination of standards specifications for the compaction test required taking an approach during the work. According to the test VN- E19 66, specific compaction energy of 6.05 kg cm/cm3 should be applied to the specimen, which coincides with the lowest test specified in VN E5 - 93, Type I Ref [2]. That energy depends on soil classification to be used in the formation of the embankment or coatings, in accordance with the PETG. The identification of soil testing is done according to the grain size distribution VN - E1 - 65, Liquid limit VN - E2 - 65, Plastic limit, Plasticity index VN - E3 - 65, Soil classification VN- E4 - 84 Ref. [2]. As stated above, these physical characterizations are not applied to soil with cement. Beyond that if we take as a starting point that A4 type soils treated with cement to improve them are used, we can speculate about obtaining a higher or equal quality, A4, A3, A2 or A1. For these types of soil compaction test correspond the VN E5 - 93 Type II or V, both specific energy of 27.3 kg cm/cm3 compaction, the maxims contained therein. Given this uncertainty and following the technical and economic criteria to reduce the compaction energy applied, that supported the use of cement treated soil, energy compaction test adopted was VN E5 - 93 of 6.05 kg cm/cm3 . In order to improve the slenderness of the specimen for the simple compression test, the using of speci-

mens of greater height and larger diameter was proposed in the particular specifications of the work. To achieve this, larger molds to setting the standard and alternative methods of compaction of the specimens were indicated to keep the specific energy of compaction. On one hand the increased number of layers and another ram using a drop of greater height and weight.
Ram Weight (kg) Layer Height (cm) N of layers Compaction Energy (kg cm/cm3) 6.05 27.25 6.11 27.45 TEST VN - E5 - 93 AASTHO MOLD H (cm) (cm) N of hits

4 DOSAGE For the different layers the dosage used were the same as those obtained as a result of a series of deposits of soil and laboratory tests. Field studies showed that two sites had adequate and similar technical characteristics, operating power and convenient transport distance to the section. Both showed a mantle composed of soil exploitable A4, composed mainly of silt, moderate or small amount of coarse material and only small amount of clay. The prevalence of silt makes it require less amount of cement due to the smaller surface area compared to the clays, and the presence of the latter, although to a lesser extent, gives you extra cement long term because of their long-term reactions to hydroxides binder. Once the type of soil to use was set, we began with the laboratory research stage to determine the amount of cement that meets the requirements of the Technical Specifications of the Contract. To this end, the compaction test was performed with different contents of cement, 2.5%, 3%, 3.5% and 4%. Based on this, series of 6 specimen each were molded, with such content of cement and compaction optimum moisture. From each set of samples, 3 samples were cured for 21 days at 20 degrees Celsius and the remaining 3 for 48 hours at 50 degrees Celsius. The results obtained using both types of curing showed little dispersion, although in all cases showed that the average compressive strength resulting from accelerated curing was lower for all the different cement contents. It was also found that the compressive strength required, among 18 to 25 kg/cm2, is achieved with less than 3% cement, which is why the expected cost in the item has not been changed. As an extra information, we also performed test on soil-cement mixtures of durability by wetting (VN E21 66) and durability by freezing and thawing (VN - E22 66). As expected, results were above the specified limits of 10% loss for soils A-4 treated with cement set by the General Specifications Technical Specifications (1998) of Vialidad Nacional (VN). The levels needed to achieve favorable results in this test, according to the experience of VN and the literature, are in a range from 7% to 12%. The percentage of cement used is significantly below that range. 5 CONSTRUCTION METHODOLOGY Although the methodology employed is very traditional, today is being replaced by mixing plants that ensure quality and reduced lead times. Nevertheless, the technology adopted for this work was adapted properly to the generous period of 6


10.2 11.7 T 180 15.2 11.7 Alternative proposal I T 99 15.2 17.8 V T 180 15.2 17.8
T 99

3 5 5 5

2.5 4.5 2.5 4.5

3.89 2.33 3.56 3.56

25 56 52 86

Table 1. Alternative proposal modified compaction test.

Both proposed techniques were tested and discarded because we found no consistent results regarding the density achieved compared with specimens tested according to National Highway standards. In general, the density at optimum moisture content was higher in the range 3% - 7%. Without further analysis, to introduce variations of this type should take into account not only energy but also compaction specific bulbs caused by ram pressure and the thickness of the layers, but this was not the case. For coatings and the 0.30m at the top of the embankment was required to reach 100% of the density obtained in this test, and for the 0.30m below the embankment above 95%. As regards the implementation, it was established that the mixing of the materials should not exceed 2.5 hours from the time the water either for irrigation or contained in the soil, contact with cement. In turn, the distribution and compaction process should not exceed a period of 6 hours. For soil stabilization with cement is generally required that the latter term is less than 3 hours. The reason of this is both to maximize the binding power of the first products generated by cement hydration and to avoid the negative consequences of fragmentation phenomenon beginning in the compaction process. In the present work this matter was not neglected but was given a minor importance allowing longer terms, as not intended to substantially increase the bearing capacity of the layer.

hours for the distribution and compaction of the layer. Basically the implementation process involved the construction of four layers of equal thickness for the formation of the embankment, a layer for coating and another coating of shoulder. The construction of each one took place in these phases and with the following teams: Arrangement of side dump truck floor. Distribution with grader. Distribution through bags of cement. Mixing equipment and irrigated with reclaimed equipment. Compaction with vibratory roller crowbar. Profiling with grader.

od. This situation put the controls on the side of safety.

Figure 4. View of the execution of the layers of cement treated soil in stages. Figure 5. Average resistance to simple compression of each section built.

6 WORK CONTROLS AND RESULTS According to the technical specifications of the work routine checks during construction of the layers of cement-treated soil were: Grain size distribution by wet VN - E1 - 65, VN Liquid limit - E2 - 65, plastic limit, plasticity index VN - E3 - 65, Soil classification VN - E4 - 84 Ref [2] to ensure soil quality. Testing of compaction of soil-cement mixtures VN - E19 - 66 Ref [2], to obtain the reference density of each field of work. Control by the method of compaction sand according to EN VN - E8 - 66 Ref [2]. Testing to control the quality of implementation of the layer. Simple Compressive strength according to Standard Test VN - E33 - 67 Ref [2] to control the quality of the mixture and implementation of the layer. This type of control was performed using specimens molded with samples taken of the executed section and accelerated cure, but regularly cured specimens were tailored for 21 days at 21 degrees Celsius as a method of contrasting results. According to what was observed at the time of dosing, accelerated curing method yield results with respect to other methWith regard to compaction control, results were found generally acceptable. However, unsatisfactory results were found both by excess and by default of the established range between 18 and 25 kg/cm2 for the resistance to the simple compressive strength. See Fig 2. The failure by default, meaning those representative samples averages of each stage of execution that did not reach the 18 kg/cm2, have been subject to rejection and reconstruction. The results for excess, greater than 25 kg/cm2, are not a concern from a structural standpoint, but they are from the durability standpoint. This problem is important for cement tenors which lead to an increased potential for drying shrinkage cracking. Nevertheless values were not higher than 30 kg/cm2, which mean that excesses are not as important or even lie within established specifications ranges for similar mixtures applied to other works that have not had durability problems. The biggest problem encountered was the dispersion of the results. This is a distinctive feature of the methodology used constructively, which is performed in the field batching and mixing. They often have difficulty in the homogenization during the mixing of materials and production times are very

difficult to repeat every day. This directly affects the quality of the mix and it is reflected in the results. After the work was finished, which happened on June 2007, auscultation was performed at open sky or pit in shoulder during the month of December of that year in order to verify the presence of water in the core landfill due to the phenomenon of capillary rise. By that time the lake level remained similar to that which led to the interruption of National Road No. 7. Moisture percentages were found ranging from 23.5% to a depth of 0.60m at 26% to 1.3m. In addition to these values indicating that no saturation of pores occurred, there were no visual symptoms that demonstrated embedding. We also performed a new visit to the site in January 2010 to make an expeditious visual assessment in which we have not detected longitudinal corrugations, rutting significant -less than 3mm-, pavement cracks or defects in the shoulders, that suggested a bad response of the layers studied in this work. 7 CONCLUSION The experience developed with cement treated soil is successful and valuable. On the one hand by the results obtained, which had their difficulties during the work but were within the expected and reasonable, supported it by the current performance of the work. On the other hand it represented a complete success from the technological innovation point of view. While we should not ignore that this is a technique which derives from other soil stabilization with cement, which has significant experience and development not only scientifically but also technologically, it has served as direct input for sustaining the work performed. The future also will have a bench-scale testing that has already borne fruit and will continue throughout life. This is of particular importance in overall development of new research.

8 REFERENCES [1] Direccin Nacional de Vialidad, 1998. Pliego de Especificaciones Tcnicas Generales. Publicacin 101/102. [2] Direccin Nacional de Vialidad. Normas de Ensayo.

Figure 6. View of the completed road. Vialidad Nacional of Argentine. National Route No 7.