Soil cement is a combination of pulverized soil aggregates combined with small amounts of Portland cement and water. The material provides an economic base for construction of asphalt, concrete and gravel roads. Other common uses for soil cement in the construction industry are pipe bedding, parking lots and storage areas.
Types of Aggregate
Producing soil cement requires a suitable aggregate to combine with Portland cement. Common aggregate types are crushed stone, sand, clay or a combination of these materials. Fly ash or cinders and wastes from gravel quarries are also suitable materials to produce soil cement. The amount of cement needed to produce soil cement depends largely on the aggregate used. Gravelly materials work best for soil cement. Aggregates with high silt/clay content work well but may require a larger amount of cement to attain maximum strength.
Mixing On Site
The process used to manufacture soil cement varies slightly depending on the aggregates available. Job sites that already have a suitable supply of aggregate, mix the material on the site. After applying an appropriate amount of water and Portland cement to the existing aggregate, heavy equipment such as large tillers, mix the materials thoroughly. Once mixing is complete, heavy equipment compacts it to applicable specifications.
Mixing Off Site
Large mixing plants produce soil cement for job sites that do not have a suitable aggregate available on site. A suitable aggregate is transported to the plant where it is mixed with cement to applicable specifications and delivered to the job site. To help keep costs down contractors commonly use an aggregate that is available in close proximity to the mixing plant.
Soil cement has to cure properly before handling traffic. The curing process that allows the soil cement to attain maximum strength involves applying a bituminous material to the surface. This helps to control rapid evaporation, which could weaken the soil cement. Soil cement surfaces subjected to light traffic require that small stone chips mix with the bituminous material. A layer of asphalt applied to the soil cement allows the material to handle much heavier traffic.
Advantages of using soil cement are its strength, ease of installation compared with other forms of road surfaces and its economical costs when the aggregates are on site or at borrow pits close to the mixing plant and job site.
- Photo Credit Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images
How to Use Portland Cement
Portland cement is made with limestone and clay or shale. The materials are mixed, burned and ground together. This type of cement...
- How to Mix Portland Concrete
How to Time Concrete Slab Curing
Even a small slab of concrete requires a water treatment to strengthen its surface. This process, called curing, compensates for the water...
How to Lay Residential Sewer Pipes
Whether you connect to a public sewer line or a private septic system, your septic drainage system is an important element to...
How to Compact Soil for Concrete Slab
Soil settling is a primary cause of cracks in a concrete slab. Soil compaction increases the density of the soil, making it...
How to Make a Homemade Walk-in Cooler
A walk-in cooler is useful if you need more refrigeration space for perishable foods. Purchasing a walk-in unit or having one built...
How to Mix a 50 lb Bag of Concrete
Concrete is available from several manufacturers in bagged ready-mix form. Ready-mix concrete consists of Portland cement and aggregates like small pebbles and...
Cements Made With Paper
Materials researchers are constantly looking for ways to make a substance strong yet lightweight. Concrete investigators discovered mixing shredded paper fiber with...
Concrete Foundation Specs
Structures must have very sturdy and secure foundations to remain standing. Concrete serves as one of the most commonly used materials for...