Desiccation-Induced Volumetric Shrinkage Characteristics of Highly Expansive Tropical Black Clay Treated with Groundnut Shell Ash for Barrier Consideration

George Moses, Roland K. Etim, John E. Sani, Michael Nwude


Contamination of underground water as a result of excessive crack on clay liner material is a prevalent phenomenon in an engineered landfill. Volumetric shrinkage strain (VSS) is one of the veritable properties considered for selection of materials suitable for liners and cover in waste containment systems. Material devoid of excessive shrinkage and cracking during climate change could possibly make a better barrier material that will eventually limit or control infiltration of leachate in an engineered landfill. Hence, to obtain a clay liner and covers system that are safe and robust, stabilization of such soil (expansive clay soils) becomes imperative. In order to stabilize or reduce excessive cracking and shrinkage of this soil, earlier researchers have employed cement, chemicals, and fibers. However, in recent times, the ill effects of these stabilizers on the environment have been realized, and hence their replacement with sustainable materials that are mostly agro and or industry by-products is becoming necessary. Tropical dark grey clay treated with up to 8 % Groundnut shell ash (GSA), was carried out. Specimen were compacted using British standard light (BSL) and British standard heavy (BSH) compactive efforts; at water contents between 2% dry and 4% wet of optimum. The compacted specimens were extruded and subjected to drying under laboratory conditions to evaluate its desiccation induced shrinkage and hence its suitability as a cover material in waste containment facilities. Results of this study show that changes in mass and volumetric shrinkage strain were large within the first five days of drying. Volumetric shrinkage strain increased with higher moulding water contents (MWC) and water contents relative to optimum (WRO). The effect of GSA treatment on VSS was not consistent from -2 to +2 % of optimum moisture content. For specimen prepared at +4 % of optimum moisture content, VSS decreased up to a threshold of  28% at 6 % GSA and 30% at 4% GSA for BSH and BSL compactive effort, respectively. Generally, lower compactive effort (BSL) with higher moulding water content and lower dry density produced higher VSS. A regression function was developed from the data to estimate VSS given the compaction water content relative to optimum (WRO), groundnut shell ash content (GSA), plasticity index (PI), percentage fine content (PF) and compactive effort (CE). Compaction water content relative to optimum significantly correlated with VSS, thus should be strictly regulated during field compaction to realize a durable hydraulic barrier.

Keywords: Atterberg limit, compaction, desiccation, expansive soil, groundnut shell ash, statistical analysis

DOI: 10.7176/CER/11-8-06

Publication date:September 30th 2019

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