Soil Stabilization Methods

Road and civil engineering projects demand high-performance and high-quality soils. Soil stabilization involves the alteration of one or more of the soil properties. The quality of the soil is measured in terms of the size of its particles and as such is described as well-graded or poorly graded. The main purpose of undertaking the process is to prepare the land and build a strong foundation that can support the design loading. It is done to increase soil strength and durability as well as to suppress dust formation and prevent soil erosion.

The methods used to improve the engineering properties of soil are broadly classified into two categories –

  • Chemical stabilization
  • Mechanical stabilization


Chemical stabilization alters the chemical properties of the soil through the use of admixtures. However, there are mechanical additives too that do not alter the chemical properties of the existing soil but simply reinforce the natural properties of the parent soil. This technique is more cost effective because treating the soil on site is less expensive than importing an aggregate.

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The main problem with chemical soil stabilization is that one needs to have a good sense of judgment. The type of soil, the right additive, the right amount to be used and the right application process are aspects to factor in when using this method of stabilizing soils. If either of them goes wrong, the end result can be the opposite of the desired ones resulting in a total waste of time and higher monetary losses.

The additives are combined with the soil using heavy-duty machinery. The best machine to achieve the task is a stabilization machine rotary mixer. It breaks up the soil and mixes the additive mixture as evenly as possible. The other equipment used to accomplish the task includes water tankers, motor graders, pad foot rollers, rubber tyre rollers.

There are different types of additives available on the market. As already mentioned above, specific additives work with specific soil types. Portland cement, quicklime or hydrated lime, fly ash, calcium chloride and bitumen as some of the mechanical and chemical additives added to it. Chemical additives work differently to stabilize soils. Some act as binders, other increase soil density while a few alter the effect of moisture on the soil.


Mechanical stabilization involves the use of physical processes. Unlike chemical stabilization, it changes only the physical properties of soil through compaction, soil blending (adding fibrous and non-biodegradable reinforcement) or placing a barrier on the soil.

In geotechnical engineering, soil compaction is a process wherein pressure is applied to soils by means of heavy machinery. It displaces air from the pores and causes soil densification. Regulating the amount of pressure when compacting is important as excess pressure disintegrates soil aggregates and causes them to lose their engineering properties. Soil reinforcement is another method employed in mechanical stabilization of soils. In this method, soils are reinforced by adding geotextiles and plastic mesh to arrest soil erosion and change features such as soil permeability. Besides this, graded aggregate materials are added to soils to decrease soil plasticity.

Strategies for the ground are integral to Global Road Technology’s services. It has developed a range of liquid soil stabilizers that bring in improvements such as enhanced strength, higher density, reduced water permeability and better bearing capacities. The products are designed to be environmentally-friendly and are easy to apply for a number of applications.


Global Road Technology staffing capabilities consist of expert surveyors, geologists, civil engineers, mechanical engineers, Geo-technical engineers and industry consultants to ensure we always have the right qualified onsite technicians and staff to assist with any soil stabilization project.

It’s our goal to keep industries moving, create better roads for rural communities, and safer road infrastructure in low to middle income countries.

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