Microstructure, strength and durability of nano-cemented soils under different seawater conditions: laboratory study

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Journal Article
Acta Geotechnica, 2023, 18, (3), pp. 1607-1627
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Cemented soils are subjected to a variety of adverse environmental conditions in the marine environment, including corrosive seawater exposure, the dry–wet cycle, and temperature variations. These environmental conditions significantly jeopardize the reliability and durability of foundations built on these types of engineered soil. The addition of nanoparticles to this cement treated soils is offered as an engineering solution for extending their service life. Four different nanomaterials that have been extensively studied in the literature are employed as admixtures in the cemented soil. Appropriate dosages of these nanomaterials are determined based on the data from unconfined compressive strength test (UCS) and the scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Wet–dry cycles are applied on the cement treated soil samples to simulate the tidal rise and fall relevant to the marine environment. Nuclear magnetic resonance tests (NMR) are also performed to complement the SEM study. Incorporating Nano-SiO2 into soft soil cured with cement in marine environment improved the mechanical strength and stiffness of the cement soils. It also decayed the corrosion rate of the cemented soils in ocean, and the improvement in mechanical stability was also quite remarkable. After 60 cycles of seawater exposure, the strength of Nano-SiO2 cement soils increased by 3.4 times that of conventional cemented soils, while the corrosion rate decreased by 85%. The improved durability of Nano-SiO2 cemented soils is a function of their structural filling tropism and distribution tropisms. The improved durability of Nano-SiO2 is a result of the combined effect of particle effect, volcanic ash effect and nucleation effect.
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