Engineering properties and microstructural characteristics of cement-stabilized zinc-contaminated kaolin Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper presents details of a study that deals with determination of engineering properties, identification of phases of major hydration products, and microstructural characteristics of a zinc-contaminated (referred to as Zn-contaminated in this paper) kaolin clay when it is stabilized by a cement additive. Investigations were carried out with respect to the effect of the level of zinc (Zn) concentration on the overall soil properties including Atterberg limits, water content, pH, stressstrain characteristics, unconfined compressive strength, and secant modulus. In addition, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and mercury intrusion porosimetry studies were conducted to understand the mechanisms controlling the changes in engineering properties of the stabilized kaolin clay. The study reveals that the level of Zn concentration has a considerable influence on the engineering properties, phases of hydration products formed, and microstructural characteristics of the stabilized kaolin clay. These changes are attributed to the retardant effect of Zn on the hydration and pozzolanic reactions, which in turn alters the phases of hydration products and cementation structure bonding of the soils. Theoretical simulation of the pore-size distribution curves demonstrates that the cement-stabilized kaolin exhibits bimodal type when the Zn concentration is less than 2%, whereas it displays unimodal type when the Zn concentration is 2%. With an increase in the Zn concentration, the characteristics of the interaggregate pores in terms of volume and mean diameter change considerably, whereas those of intra-aggregate pores remain nearly unchanged.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Du, Y., Jiang, N., Liu, S., Jin, F., Singh, D. N., & Puppala, A. J.

citation count

  • 264

complete list of authors

  • Du, Yan-Jun||Jiang, Ning-Jun||Liu, Song-Yu||Jin, Fei||Singh, Devendra Narain||Puppala, Anand J

publication date

  • March 2014