Optimization of Soil to Fly-Ash Mix Ratio for Enhanced Engineering Properties of Clayey Sand for Subgrade Use

M. A. Karim, Kennesaw State University


A laboratory investigation was carried out to determine the optimum soil to fly ash mix ratio to enhance the engineering properties of clayey sand that can potentially be used as a road subgrade. Grain size distribution and Atterberg limits tests were conducted to classify the soil and to study the effects of the fly ash on the soil plasticity. The Proctor test was conducted to determine the optimum moisture content and maximum dry density of soil-fly-ash mixtures with arbitrarily selected 0%, 40%, 50%, and 60% fly ash content. A higher percentage was selected to find the highest optimum fly ash content to maximize the beneficial use. Unconfined compression and consolidation tests were conducted with air-dry arbitrarily selected curing periods of 0, 2, 8, and 28 days to determine the strength and to predict the settlement and the volume change behavior. It can be concluded from the trend analysis that a fly ash content range of 32–50% appeared to be optimum that is expected to perform better as subgrade materials for a curing period range of 16–19 days. However, experimental data showed a fly ash content of 50% was the optimum for a curing period of 8 days. The settlement and the volume change behavior improved at least 44% with increased fly ash content.