Engineering properties of soil stabilized with cement and fly ash for sustainable road construction

Document Type : Original Article


1 Campus in Ho Chi Minh City, University of Transport and Communications, No 450-451 Le Van Viet St., Tang Nhon Phu A Ward, Thu Duc City, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

2 Faculty of Civil Engineering, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


This study presents an experimental study of engineering properties of soil stabilized with cement and fly ash for layers in roadway construction. The fly ash was used in this study satisfies the requirement according to ASTM C618. Five proportion mixes were used in this work with varying quantities of Ordinary Portland cement amounts of 8 %, 10%, and 8% cement combined with fly ash content of 2%, 4%, and 6%. Specified curing periods of 7, 14, 28 days were applied for all types of specimens. Some engineering tests were carried out, such as unconfined compressive strength, splitting tensile strength, stiffness of stabilized soil, SEM, and XRD techniques. SEM images, magnified 3000 times, showed that compacted soil structure was found as small and odd particles arranged without gel bound, while cement-fly ash stabilized soil was covered foam formation due to cement-fly ash crystal, and small particles cannot be observed. The peak intensity of Silicon Oxide was seen in the region 26-28° with an angle of 2. In addition, cement and fly ash significantly improved the mechanical properties of stabilized soils. Finally, the specimen containing 8% cement and 2% fly ash at 14-day curing has a splitting tensile strength greater than 0.45 MPa, satisfying the base layer of road construction requirement according to current Vietnamese standards. The obtained results provided a shred of evidence for capable of using fly ash for road construction in the context of an increase the fly ash in thermal plants.


  1. Toniolo, N. and Boccaccini, A.R., "Fly ash-based geopolymers containing added silicate waste. A review", Ceramics International, Vol. 43, No. 17, (2017), 14545-14551.
  2. Rao, S.M. and Thyagaraj, T., "Swell–compression behaviour of compacted clays under chemical gradients", Canadian Geotechnical Journal, Vol. 44, No. 5, (2007), 520-532.
  3. Karatai Thomas, R., Kaluli James, W., Kabubo, C. and Thiong’o, G., "Soil stabilization using rice husk ash and natural lime as an alternative to cutting and filling in road construction", Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Vol. 143, No. 5, (2017), 04016127.
  4. Al-Rawas, A.A., "Microfabric and mineralogical studies on the stabilization of an expansive soil using cement by-pass dust and some types of slags", Canadian Geotechnical Journal, Vol. 39, No. 5, (2002), 1150-1167.
  5. Mymrin, V.A. and Ponte, H.A., "Oil-shale fly ash utilization as independent binder of natural clayey soils for road and airfield base construction", Particulate Science and Technology, Vol. 23, No. 1, (2005), 99-107.
  6. Yilmaz, Y. and Ozaydin, V., "Compaction and shear strength characteristics of colemanite ore waste modified active belite cement stabilized high plasticity soils", Engineering Geology, Vol. 155, (2013), 45-53.
  7. Marto, A., Hassan, M.A., Makhtar, A.M. and Othman, B.A., "Shear strength improvement of soft clay mixed with tanjung bin coal ash", APCBEE Procedia, Vol. 5, (2013), 116-122.
  8. Phan, V.T.-A., "Improvement in engineering properties of mudstone in southwestern taiwan through compaction and a cement additive", Geotechnical and Geological Engineering, Vol. 36, No. 3, (2018), 1833-1843.
  9. Tran, B.H., Le, B.V., Phan, V.T.A. and Nguyen, H.M., "In-situ fine basalt soil reinforced by cement combined with additive dz33 to construct rural roads in gia lai province, vietnam", International Journal of Engineering, Transactions B: Applications, Vol. 33, No. 11, (2020), 2137-2145. DOI: 10.5829/ije.2020.33.11b.03
  10. Suresh, R. and Murugaiyan, V., "Influence of chemical admixtures on geotechnical properties of expansive soil", International Journal of Engineering, Transactions A: Basics, Vol. 34, No. 1, (2021), 19-25. DOI: 10.5829/ije.2021.34.01a.03
  11. Sharpe, G.W., Deen, R.C., Southgate, H.F. and Anderson, M., Pavement thickness designs utilizing low – strength (pozzolanic) base and subbase materials. 1984, Kentucky Transportation Center Research Report. 693.122-130,
  12. Mfinanga, D.A. and Kamuhabwa, M.L., "Use of natural pozzolan in stabilising lightweight volcanic aggregates for roadbase construction", International Journal of Pavement Engineering, Vol. 9, No. 3, (2008), 189-201,
  13. Malisa, A.S., Park, E. and Lee, J., "Effect of lime on physical properties of natural pozzolana from same, tanzania", International Journal of Engineering Research & Technology Vol. 3, No. 11, (2014), 1357-1361.
  14. Javdanian, H., "The effect of geopolymerization on the unconfined compressive strength of stabilized fine-grained soils", International Journal of Engineering, Transactions B: Applications, Vol. 30, No. 11, (2017), 1673-1680, DOI: 1610.5829/ije.2017.1630.1611b.1607.
  15. Tolleson, R.A., Mahdavian, E., Shatnawi, F.M. and Harman, E.N., An evaluation of strength change on subgrade soils stabilized with an enzyme catalyst solution using cbr and ssg comparisons. 2003: Project No. R-03-Utc-Alterpave-Geo-01.
  16. Phan, V.T.-A., "Ground improvement using soil-cement method: A case study with laboratory testing and in-situ verification for a highway project in southern vietnam", Geotechnical Engineering Journal of the SEAGS & AGSSEA, Vol. 47, No. 1, (2016), 45-49.
  17. Tastan, E., Edil, T., Benson, C. and Aydilek, A., "Stabilization of organic soils with fly ash", Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Vol. 137, No. 9, (2011), 819-833.
  18. Xing, H., Yang, X., Xu, C. and Ye, G., "Strength characteristics and mechanisms of salt-rich soil–cement", Engineering Geology, Vol. 103, No. 1–2, (2009), 33-38.
  19. Mahedi, M., Cetin, B. and White David, J., "Cement, lime, and fly ashes in stabilizing expansive soils: Performance evaluation and comparison", Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, Vol. 32, No. 7, (2020), 04020177.
  20. Simatupang, M., Mangalla, L.K., Edwin, R.S., Putra, A.A., Azikin, M.T., Aswad, N.H. and Mustika, W., "The mechanical properties of fly-ash-stabilized sands", Geosciences, Vol. 10, No. 4, (2020), 132.
  21. ASTM C618: Standard Specification for Coal Fly Ash and Raw or Calcined Natural Pozzolan for Use in Concrete. 2003: 100 Barr Harbor Drive, PO Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959, United States.
  22. TCVN 9843: Standard test method in the laboratory for resilient modulus of nonorgannic adhesive substance stabilizied aggregate material. 2013: Hanoi, Vietnam.