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Polymers 2018, 10(10), 1069; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10101069

The Role of Superabsorbent Polymer on Strength and Microstructure Development in Cemented Dredged Clay with High Water Content

1
Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education for Geomechanics and Embankment Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
2
Institute for Underground Space and Geoenvironment, School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210046, China
3
Institute of Geotechnical Engineering, College of Civil Engineering, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou 350116, China
4
Institute of Geotechnical Engineering, School of Transportation, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, China
5
Sino Probe Center, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, No. 26 Baiwanzhuang Street, Beijing 100037, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 July 2018 / Revised: 17 September 2018 / Accepted: 25 September 2018 / Published: 27 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer-Clay (Nano)Composites)
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Abstract

This paper presents the role of superabsorbent polymer (SAP) on strength and microstructure development in cemented clays with notably high water content. A series of unconfined compressive strength (UCS), scanning electron microscope (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) tests were performed to identify strength behavior and microstructure. Results showed that SAP significantly influenced the mechanical behavior of cemented clays with notably high water content, characterized by an increase in the unconfined compressive strength and a decrease in the after-curing water content with SAP content. This revealed that the strength increase due to SAP was directly related to the water absorption by SAP. Meanwhile, XRD results showed that the hydration products were controlled by cement and lime content, regardless of SAP content. That meant there was no chemical reaction between SAP particles used in this study and cement or lime. The microstructure analysis by SEM revealed that SAP played an important role in the microstructure of cemented clays. With an increase in SAP content, the water absorbed by SAP increased significantly, leading to a decrease in the pore volume and a denser soil fabric. This behavior indicated that the primary role of SAP on strength increase was to absorb and fix water in cemented clays. Consequently, the clay–cement cluster distance decreased with an increase in solid mass (soil particles and swollen SAP particles) and a decrease in pore water. The corresponding tighter flocculated fabric due to SAP eventually led to the strength increase. View Full-Text
Keywords: superabsorbent polymer; cemented clay; microstructure; SEM; high water content superabsorbent polymer; cemented clay; microstructure; SEM; high water content
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Bian, X.; Zeng, L.; Deng, Y.; Li, X. The Role of Superabsorbent Polymer on Strength and Microstructure Development in Cemented Dredged Clay with High Water Content. Polymers 2018, 10, 1069.

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