Research Activities: 2011

Effects of Organic Additives on the High Volume Reuse of Fly Ash in Geotechnical Engineering

 Status Complete                  View Final Report: PDF
Sequential Number R309
Identification Number 00039439
Matching Research Agency Missouri University of Science & Technology, Civil Engineering
Principal Investigator Bate Bate
Assistant Professor, Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Missouri University of Science and Technology
132 McNutt Hall
Rolla, MO 65401
(573) 341-4465
Student Involvement

1 Graduate Research Assistant


Project Objective

Using organic additives, such as surfactant and polysaccharides, to improve the mechanical properties of fly ash-soil mixture. 


Project Abstract
As the coal remains the world’s most abundant and accessible fossil fuel, the production of energy from coal will inevitably generate waste materials, i.e., the coal combustion products (CCPs). From 2002 to 2009, about 40% of CCPs was reused, while only 2.8% of the CCPs were used in pavement. This study intends to study the high volume reuse of fly ash, a major component of CCPs, in geotechnical engineering with organic additives, such as surfactant and polysaccharides. The microscopic properties, the unsaturated behaviors, and the unconfined compressive strength of fly ash and fly ash-soil mixture are studied. The microscopic imaging technique will provide the size, shape, and structure of the mixture. Then the water content and matric suction relationship, or soil water characteristic curve (SWCC) were measured. The suction can be calculated by the size and shape information from microscopic study by Laplace equation, and SWCC can also be predicted from particle size distribution. On the other hand, SWCC can also be used to predict the strength of fly ash-soil mixture. Furthermore, the physicochemical properties of the influent and effluent will be monitored to detect any chemical reactions. The outcome will provide the guideline on organic type and quantity, optimum fly ash to soil ratio, and water content of mixture for optimum performance in terms of strength. By connecting the intrinsic relations between microscopic behavior and the macroscopic mechanical properties, the understanding of the mechanisms for strength variation are advanced.

Relationship to other Research/Projects

This is an independent research topic.


Transportation-Related Keywords

Pavement, embankment, structure fill

Technology Transfer Activities

Results will be documented in journal publications and reports to CIES;

Results can be used in both undergraduate and graduate classes in M S&T, such as CE 416 Soil Stabilization and CE 374 Infrastructure Strengthening with Composites


Project Deliverables

1-2 journal papers;

Report, poster, and presentation to academic peers and industrial partners;


Anticipated Benefits

1 – 2 journal publications in top tier civil engineering journals;

1 PhD student graduated (partial funded by CIES);

Patent may be applied.


Project Start Date: 08/20/2012
Project End Date: