Stabilization of lateritic soil for masonry applications

Grounds and foundations, underground structures

Construction using local soil is encouraged globally to minimize environmental impacts and to promote sustainable construction. However, the reluctance in using soil for construction is mainly due to the lack of strength and durability. This study investigates the influence of Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) as stabilization agent for masonry blocks using lateritic soil, being a predominant soil in South India. Lateritic soil collected from three different locations in Kozhikode district of Kerala, India was used for the study. Engineering properties of stabilized soil blocks made with varying quantities of cement (such as 2.5, 5, 7.5, 10 & 12.5 % by weight of soil) was determined using standard procedures. The results were compared with ordinary laterite blocks and un-stabilized laterite soil blocks. It was observed that the strength of lateritic soil stabilized blocks increases with the quantity of cement content. The dry density, compressive strength and flexural strength increase with cement content, whereas, water absorption decreases with cement content. Weathering resistance was also considerably enhanced with increase in cement content. Based on the performance comparison, the optimum quantity of cement for stabilization of lateritic soil in Kerala was observed as 8 % by weight of soil. Even though laterite blocks in natural form being the popular masonry material in northern Kerala for centuries, its compressive strength was found 30 % lesser than manufactured lateritic soil-cement blocks. This study reveals that the stabilization of lateritic soil using the optimum quantity of cement can replace conventional natural laterite blocks for economic, environmental friendly and sustainable construction initiatives.