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What are Soil Stabilizers?

By Shannon Kietzman
Updated May 17, 2024
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Soil stabilizers assist in strengthening soil and increasing its water resistance. This allows the soil to be used later as a durable building material. Their use is quite beneficial, because it reduces movement, thereby eliminating or reducing the need for additional support for slabs or fill materials when building. The Ancient Romans were the first to experiment with mixing lime with sub-grade foundation soil to stabilize it. These Ancient Roman stabilizers failed, however, because the lime only improved the surface.

Today’s soil stabilizers work quickly and are inexpensive. There are three primary ways to use them to improve soil. One of these methods is to strengthen the existing soil, which enhances its load-bearing capacity. Others are used to control dust by preventing it or eliminating it altogether. Finally, waterproofing stabilizers assist in preserving the natural or constructed strength of the soil by protecting the surface from water.

Additives such as cement, lime, and calcium chloride are often found in soil stabilizers. Some also have a cement-treated base, which further helps to improve the soil’s quality. These soil-cement stabilizers are made of pulverized soil, cement, and water. The ingredients are compacted to a high-density.

Soil stabilizers are usually injected into the soil through a regulated pump at a pressure of 50 to 200 pounds per square inch (psi), or 345 to 1,379 kilopascals. High-pressure mud pumps are also sometimes used to inject stabilizers into the soil. The depth of these injections is often 3 to 10 feet (0.91 to 3.1 meters), though they can be as much as 40 feet (12.2 meters) deep. If the soil is stiff, holes are pre-drilled and the stabilizers are inserted within the soil.

This process of injecting them into the ground is completed with inflatable packers that plug the holes burrowed into the ground. The pressure created by the pump allows a greater flow of the soil stabilizers to penetrate the ground. When the process is complete, a network of horizontal seams and vertical or angular veins appears in the ground.

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Discussion Comments

By anon127795 — On Nov 17, 2010

We are looking for distribution of soil stabilizers for road building in India. The need is immediate and ideally we are looking for a long term partner to supply product and technology and/or the possibility of a JV. Any companies you can suggest?

By anon62825 — On Jan 28, 2010

Would the above statement include the construction of a private airstrip for landing light aircraft with gross weights from 3600 to 12,000 pounds? If so, is there information on the equipment and processes for this construction?

Yes, the product "geo-base" from Singapore was successfully used for an air strip in Myanmar.

By anon58908 — On Jan 05, 2010

How can we use plastic as a soil stabilizer?

By anon44055 — On Sep 04, 2009

How can we use plastic as a soil stabilizer?

By noe — On May 21, 2009

Is it possible to use this technology to waterproof a soil in order to make a canal and to reduce the water losses?

By anon29123 — On Mar 27, 2009

How can we use plastic as a soil stabilizer?

By silverdbs — On Sep 28, 2008

Today’s soil stabilizers work quickly and are inexpensive. There are three primary ways to use soil stabilizers to improve soil. One of these methods is to strengthen existing soil, which enhances its load-bearing capacity.

Would the above statement include the construction of a private airstrip for landing light aircraft with gross weights from 3600 to 12,000 pounds? If so, is there information on the equipment and processes for this construction?

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