Low bearing capacity soils may pose serious construction concerns such as reduced bearing capacity and excessive hydro-associated volume changes. Proper soil remediation techniques must be planned and implemented before commencing any construction on low bearing capacity soils. Environmentally friendly soil stabilizers are gradually replacing traditional soil stabilizers with high carbon dioxide emissions such as lime and cement. This study investigated the use of an alternative pozzolanic mix of nano-additives (i.e., nano-silica and nano-alumina) and cement to reduce the usage of cement for achieving competent soil stabilization outcomes. A series of unconfined compressive strength (UCS), direct shear, and durability tests were conducted on marl specimens cured for 1, 7, and 28 days stabilized with nano-additives (0.1~1.5%), 3% cement, and combined 3% cement and nano-additives. The UCS and shear strength of stabilized marl increased with nano-additives up to a threshold nano-additive content of 1% which was further intensified with curing time. Nano-additive treated cemented marl specimens showed long durability under the water, while the cemented marl decomposed early. The microfabric inspection of stabilized marl specimens showed significant growth of calcium silicate hydrate (CSH) products within the micro fabric of nano-silica treated marl with reduced pore-spaces within aggregated particles. The results confirmed that nano-additives can replace cement partially to achieve multi-fold improvement in the strength characteristics of the marl.
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