Chemical stabilizing agents have been introduced that have performed in field applications to improve the behavior of earth materials. The same agents and materials subjected to standardized laboratory tests have often resulted in no improvement. For example, the tests often require pulverization of materials to finer states than are needed in the field or may require remolding when field applications are done in situ, as with injection applications. Some of the physical tests do not place treated materials in a situation resembling conditions in the field, yet they are applied to determine the use of these agents. The experiences of the author in developing performance-based testing of chemical stabilizers that better simulate field conditions are described. The situations include a physical erosion test to determine dispersion of clays that have been treated, two swell test preparation sequences simulating injection of chemicals into clays, a wet-dry test sample preparation using field gradation specifications, and a three-dimensional swell test for stability of treated clays when subjected to wetting. Also, the standardized physical test results that did not adequately represent behavior are discussed. The applications and indications of successful testing are reviewed. Possible development processes for performance-based tests, involving parameters of variance, are included for consideration.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

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Available Access

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Article - Journal

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Publication Date

01 Jan 1997