Stabilisation of peat with colloidal nanosilica

Soheil Ghadr, A. Assadi-Langroudi, C. Hung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colloidal nanosilica hydrosols are electrochemically stabilised polymerised amorphous silica in low viscosity suspensions. They have no known adverse impact on soil health and ecosystem service functions, thereby having a scope for use in groundworks as an alternative low-viscose stabilising material. Six grades of colloidal nanosilica are synthesised through an in-house procedure and introduced to a natural peat soil. The peak and residual compressive strength of compacted and modified soils are measured immediately after treatment and in four strain levels post treatment. Findings suggest that, despite the direct correlation between the nanosilica content and compressive strength, an increase in nanosilica content does not necessarily offer stability at larger strains. This is a major limitation. The particle-level kinematics in modified peat is discussed to gain a new insight into the role played by silica flocs on the build-up of macro-mechanical quantities such as peak and critical state strength. Overall, modification of peat with nanosilica leads to improvements in strength and formation of composites with generally more dilative behaviour. When used as a single stabiliser, a design 15 % to 20 % grade nanosilica solution yields a reasonably high strength although precautions against excessive straining of modified peat soils need to be taken in the first seven days post treatment. At this optimum grade, the loss of strength on further straining is capped to 9 % at plastic strains 1.5 times the peak strain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number09
JournalMires and Peat
Publication statusPublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Soil Science
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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