Aqueous Polymer Effects on Volumetric Swelling of Na-Montmorillonite

Physicochemical interactions between polymer molecules and clay particles affect the swelling rate and magnitude of expansive clay soils. The effectiveness of aqueous solutions of three polymers: Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), polyacrylamide (PAM), polyethylene oxide (PEO) ranging in concentration from 0.5 to 10 g/L, as soil stabilization agents against Na-montmorillonite swelling was analyzed. Rates of volumetric swelling of Na-montmorillonite upon hydration were recorded over durations ranging from 120 to 200 hours (h), and data were used to compute the volumetric swelling ratio (VSR), an expression of the clay volume at any time relative to the initial volume of clay in the immersion tube. The results show that PAM, the cationic polymer reduces the VSR by as much as 40% relative to distilled water. PAM molecular weight and concentration have minimal effects on VSR although sorption of PAM of higher molecular weight (PAM B) is favored at aqueous concentration below 2 g/L. Data from x-ray diffraction and batch sorption tests on dried Na-montmorillonite samples indicate that postsorption/swelling interlayer spacings of 0.74 and 0.78 nm for PAM A (molecular weight=4 X 10 and superscript 6) and PAM B (molecular weight=7 X 10 and superscript 6) respectively, are attained through fixation of PAM molecules in clay interlayer space during sorption at an aqueous concentration of 4 g/L. Test results for CMC (the anionic polymer) and PEO (the neutral polymer) show that swelling is not significantly reduced relative to that of distilled water. PAM can be used at aqueous concentrations between 0.5 and 4 g/L as an effective stabilization agent for expansive soils.

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  • Authors:
    • Inyang, Hilary I
    • Bae, Sunyoung
    • Mbamalu, Godwin
    • Park, Sang-Won
  • Publication Date: 2007-1


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01042737
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 20 2007 5:51AM