The Effects of Using Compost as a Preventive Measure to Mitigate Shoulder Cracking: Laboratory and Field Studies

Compost materials, given their moisture affinity, fibrous and low permeability characteristics, could provide stabilization of natural expansive subgrades by mitigating shrinkage cracking. In order to understand possible mechanisms of this stabilization, a research study was conducted in both laboratory and field phases to evaluate the effectiveness of compost material treatments to soils. This research report summarizes both phases' results, which include laboratory and field studies to evaluate Dairy Manure Compost (DMC) and Biosolids Compost (BSC) manufactured topsoils (CMT) to lessen shoulder subgrade cracking. During the field phase, data were collected from embedded moisture and temperature sensors, digital image surface cracking studies, visual observations of paved shoulder cracking, runoff quality, and surficial erosion surveys of all 16 CMT test plots and one control test plot. Both composts were mixed with the subsoils at different proportions and dimensions in these plots. The field data were collected for 18 months and then analyzed with statistical comparison tests, which indicated that the BSC amendments provided the best subsoil enhancements by controlling moisture and temperature fluctuations from surrounding environments and thereby reducing shrinkage cracking in subsoils and in adjacent paved shoulders. The DMCs were less effective in mitigating shrinkage cracking, due to low amounts of organic contents, also resulting in erosion problems. The final outcome of this research is the recommendation of BSC material to treat 4 in. of top subgrade shoulders for a width of 10 ft in order to control or mitigate soil shrinkage cracking.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Research Project Title: The Effects of Using Compost as a Preventive Measure to Mitigate Shoulder Cracking.
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Texas, Arlington

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, P.O. Box 19308
    Arlington, TX  United States  76019-0308

    Texas Department of Transportation

    Research and Technology Implementation Office, P.O. Box 5080
    Austin, TX  United States  78763-5080

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Puppala, Anand J
    • Intharasombat, Napat
    • Qasim, Syed R
  • Publication Date: 2004-10


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 146p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01003784
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA/TX-05/0-4573-2, Technical Report 2, Research Report 0-4573-2
  • Contract Numbers: Project No. 0-4573
  • Created Date: Sep 16 2005 4:43PM