Strength and compressibility behaviors of expansive soil treated with coffee husk ash

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Various factors can affect the durability of roads, such as the strength of sub-grade, the quality of the sub-base and base course, the environments and properties of the soil used. Particularly, roads built on expansive soil are susceptible to early damage due to the swelling and shrinkage characteristics of this kind of soil under changing moisture conditions. The most common technique used to improve the properties of problematic soil is stabilization with additives. Using waste materials to improve the properties of expansive soil is a recent trend in soil stabilization. This study deals with the treatment of expansive soil with coffee husk ash (CHA). Coffee husk is a by-product of coffee production, and CHA is the resulting ash after burning it. In this study, the bearing capacity and compressibility characteristics of expansive soil (specifically black cotton (BC) soil) stabilized with varying percentages of CHA (5%, 10%, 15%, and 20%) are investigated. Then, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) were used to analyze the influence of CHA on surface morphology and chemical composition of the studied soil. The results showed that the soil treated with CHA is generally improved in terms of strength. Addition of 20% CHA increases the bearing capacity of the soil by three-fold. In addition, the morphological studies of the soil samples treated with 10% and 15% CHA indicated the formation of hydrated particles and cementitious compounds as a result of the reaction between the soil and CHA. This indicates the potential usage of CHA as a stabilization agent and subsequently, it can address the disposal and environmental concerns related to coffee husk.




Atahu, M. K., Saathoff, F., & Gebissa, A. (2019). Strength and compressibility behaviors of expansive soil treated with coffee husk ash. Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, 11(2), 337–348.

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