Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!
  • Students Click Here

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here


Use of polymers to improve soil subgrades

Use of polymers to improve soil subgrades

Use of polymers to improve soil subgrades

We are looking at an "ionic polymerisation" additive to stabilise and "waterproof" soil subgrade materials. The distributor claims the polymer links together and forms a bond which increases the density of the material, while reducing the porosity of the soil matrix making it resistant to water etc etc. Has anyone used polymers in soil stabilisation for pavements. The distributor also suggests the addition of cement (2-5%) with the polymer as an additive. Recommended polymer amount is 1.67 litres per square metre per 150mm depth.

RE: Use of polymers to improve soil subgrades

Snake oil!
It will work great if you add 2-5% cement....but then, you could add 2-5% cement without the polymer and achieve the same result.

Usually not worth the cost...other methods available to achieve same or better results.

RE: Use of polymers to improve soil subgrades

is it called "dirt glue?"


¡papá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

RE: Use of polymers to improve soil subgrades

A local vendor for such a product convinced the FHWA to spec their product as a dust palliative and to protect a prepared subgrade for a major highway project. The subgrade was fine volcanic ash. The rest of the pavement structure was to be constructed on a future phase of the project so the completed subgrade had to remain in place for an extended period before asphalt base and surface courses. The material was very pricey vs. the alternatives, and the alternatives probably would have also worked, but the product performed as advertised and did an excellent job of both controlling dust and protecting the subgrade, even when later subjected to heavy construction traffic. No cement was used, and the product was not mixed into the subgrade material. It was diluted in the water wagon and simply sprayed over the surface. Penetration was excellent. The product itself looks like, smells like, and to casual observation seems to act like Elmer's Glue. I would judge its performance as excellent, but question whether its expense would be justified over less costly alternatives in many applications - same as Ron said with his far fewer words!

RE: Use of polymers to improve soil subgrades

here's an example, very pricey and looks just like elmers glue.


RE: Use of polymers to improve soil subgrades

I would use a soil cement and mix into the top 8 inches.

Richard A. Cornelius, P.E.

RE: Use of polymers to improve soil subgrades

Thanks for the responses.
I feel "snake oil" is appropriate, but I should have asked if anyone knows of testing such as CBR, Atterberg Limits or UCS over a period of time which indicates the improvement, or lack thereof, when using polymers with and without traditional additives such as lime or cement.

RE: Use of polymers to improve soil subgrades

No, I haven't seen any such testing such as you have mentioned. However, I have never seen it used or marketed for those benefits either, though somewhere else it might mb. Rather, it is used on materials that already have those properties in desirable or sufficient measure, and the product simply protects the material from erosion due to wind, rain, and traffic so as to preserve those qualities when compared to unprotected material.

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members!


Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close