Ground improvement is vital before road or infrastructure projects are constructed. Used primarily where soil or unstable ground is present, ground improvement generally relies on mechanical supports alongside chemical and polymer soil additions. These “geotechnical engineering assets” are added at depth to provide strength and rigidity over the long haul.

The Asia Pacific region – and particularly Australia – has seen rapid growth in ground improvement techniques as the requirement to build on less-than-ideal soil is compounded by population growth and other social, economic and environmental limitations.

Traditional methods of ground improvement and stabilisation include:

  • Preloading
  • Stone columns
  • Vibroflotation
  • Piled embankments 

Some of the new methods to arrive on the scene and complement the above procedures include:

  • Jet grouting
  • Dynamic replacement and compaction 
  • Vacuum consolidation
  • Deep soil mixing 
  • Controlled modulus columns 
  • Alongside compaction grouting

These modern techniques have been designed to support complex projects where ground improvement is necessary before construction begins. 

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Ground Improvement Through Polymer Solutions

Deep foundations in the earth can also be shored-up using advanced polymer solutions.

These chemical compounds can be injected into the soil or rock before a construction project occurs.

In addition to the geomechanical structures above, polymers can increase the soil’s strength, stability, and load-bearing capacity.

Here are the details on polymer ground improvement technology for deep soils:

  • Constructed from long chains of synthetic or natural polymers
  • Are mixed with water or other solvents to form a solution 
  • The solution can be injected into the ground via small holes known as boreholes 
  • The polymer solution can then permeate the soil, forming a solid gel-like material that binds particles together and increases their strength

As an advancing area of progress, polymer technologies are rising in popularity due to their advantages over excavation and replacing mechanical parts.

Polymers have proven faster and more cost-effective while minimising the environmental impact.

Some typical applications of ground improvement polymers in use include the stabilisation of slopes, strengthening foundations and footings and reinforcing embankments.

Each polymer has unique characteristics and is designed and manufactured for a purpose.

The three major categories are:

  • Polyurethane
  • Acrylamide 
  • Sodium silicate

The Costs of Unstable Ground

You don’t need to look hard to discover the negative consequences of unstable ground under large-scale projects.

From small structural failures to complete collapses, history’s pages are littered with the earth undermining our best intentions.

There is an extensive list of costs associated with unimproved ground, including:

Structure damage: Leads to foundation settlement, cracks in walls and floors, and other issues that compromise safety and stability.

Delays and cost blowouts: Delays and missed deadlines in construction projects get expensive – fast. 

Broad safety hazards: Unstable ground is a safety hazard for on-site workers, including falls or entrapment under soil or rock.

Environmental damage: Soil erosion, landslides, and sinkholes are just some of the ecological impacts that can occur. 

Legal liability: Property owners, contractors, and engineers can face legal issues if the unstable ground is a source of damage or injury to people or property.

Property value decline: Unstable ground often reduces property value, making selling or obtaining financing harder.

For above-ground improvements to stability and strength, check out GRT’s soil stabilisation product range!


Ground improvements are an area of continued focus for significant infrastructure and mining projects.

Driven by economic, social and environmental considerations, new techniques are now included in the mix to shore up the soil before construction.

Chemical or polymer solutions are now available for deep soil stabilisation – alongside geomechanical implants.

These solutions offer numerous benefits over the traditional approach of excavation and replacement. 

For advanced above-ground chemical-based soil stabilisation that’s safe and effective, check out GRT’s range of products, like GRT7000 and GRT9000, here! 

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