Spreading cement, September 1965.jpg

Soil cement is a blend of natural soil, a small amount of Portland cement, and water. This mixture, when compacted, forms a durable and hard material due to the cement's hydration process. Known for its cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits, soil cement is widely used in various construction applications.

Key Applications of Soil Cement[edit | edit source]

  1. Road Construction: Often used as a subbase layer, providing a stable foundation for roads.
  2. Slope Protection: Helps prevent soil erosion on embankments and slopes.
  3. Pipe Bedding: Provides a solid base for laying pipes, ensuring stability and longevity.

Benefits of Soil Cement[edit | edit source]

  1. Cost-Effective: Utilizes locally available materials, significantly reducing costs associated with transportation and procurement.
  2. Environmental Benefits: Minimizes the use of non-renewable materials and reduces the carbon footprint associated with construction.
  3. Durability: Creates a long-lasting surface that requires minimal maintenance, thus lowering long-term costs.

Construction Process[edit | edit source]

  1. Preparation: The soil is prepared by removing any large debris or organic matter that might weaken the mixture.
  2. Mixing: Portland cement is mixed with the prepared soil and water in the right proportions to achieve the desired consistency.
  3. Compaction: The mixture is then spread and compacted using rollers to ensure it forms a dense and uniform layer.
  4. Curing: Proper curing is essential to ensure the soil cement achieves its full strength. This usually involves keeping the surface moist for a period of time.

Challenges and Considerations[edit | edit source]

  • Brittleness: Soil cement can crack under tension or heavy loads, so it’s important to design applications that minimize tensile stresses.
  • Proportioning: The correct ratio of soil, cement, and water is crucial to ensure the strength and durability of the final product. Testing and adjustments might be needed based on the local soil characteristics.

Case Studies and Real-World Applications[edit | edit source]

  1. Road Construction in the United States: Soil cement has been used extensively for constructing rural roads and highways, providing a cost-effective solution for long-lasting infrastructure. Learn more from the Portland Cement Association.
  2. Flood Protection in the Netherlands: The Dutch have utilized soil cement for constructing dikes and embankments to protect against flooding. Read the report from Deltares.
  3. Eco-Friendly Housing in India: In rural India, soil cement has been employed to build affordable and sustainable housing, addressing both housing shortages and environmental concerns. Explore the initiative by Development Alternatives.
  4. Sustainable Construction in Africa: Various African countries have adopted soil cement for constructing schools, clinics, and other community structures, benefiting from its affordability and local resource utilization. Learn more from the United Nations Environment Programme.

Additional Resources[edit | edit source]

  • Soil-Cement: Its Use in Building: A comprehensive guide provided by the United Nations, detailing the use and benefits of soil cement in construction. Read the guide.
  • Building Science Corporation: Offers extensive resources on sustainable building practices, including soil cement applications. Explore their resources.
  • US Department of Transportation: Provides technical guidelines on the use of soil cement in road construction. Read the technical guidelines.

Soil cement stands out as a practical and sustainable building material that offers numerous benefits, from cost savings to environmental protection. Its applications in road construction, slope protection, and housing demonstrate its versatility and effectiveness. By leveraging local materials and simple construction techniques, soil cement provides a valuable solution for sustainable infrastructure development.

Further reading[edit | edit source]

Bibliographic Information

United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 1964, "Soil-Cement: Its Use in Building," United Nations, E.64.IV.6, New York.

© United Nations, 1964

Note however that permission to publish would likely be granted given the age of the document. See United Nations publishing information.

Publication included in the AT Sourcebook. View an extract on Google books

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Page data
Authors CWG
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 1 pages link here
Aliases Soil Cement
Impact 537 page views
Created January 31, 2010 by Christian Baechler
Modified June 21, 2024 by StandardWikitext bot
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