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Mitigation of desiccation cracks in clay using fibre and enzyme
journal contributionposted on 2020-10-01, 00:00 authored by Y Xie, Susanga CostaSusanga Costa, L Zhou, H Kandra
Formation of cracks during desiccation is a natural phenomenon in expansive clay. Mitigation of desiccation-induced cracks is highly beneficial for increasing the life span of geo-infrastructures particularly in hydraulic barriers. Improvement of soil properties using additives is a key method in controlling desiccation crack formation and their influence. This paper presents experimental results for an expansive clay modified with nylon fibre and an enzyme-based product. A series of desiccation cracking tests were carried out with varying fibre contents and a constant enzyme dosage. Three-point bending beam tests were performed to evaluate tensile strength of the modified clay. The additives, fibre and the enzyme were able to alter the crack patterns significantly thereby alleviating the effects of cracks. Furthermore, the addition of enzyme alone increased the tensile strength by about 50% while the combined effect of both fibre and enzyme increased the tensile strength by approximately 100% compared with untreated soil. Based on measurement of crack patterns and other properties of the modified clay, the investigation suggests the potential for the fibre-enzyme addition to mitigate desiccation cracks. Further work needs to be carried out to determine optimal dosing requirements for each additive and investigate the effects of potential interactions between the fibre and enzyme.