Experimental investigation of sandy soil stabilization using chitosan biopolymer

Amiri Tasuji, MohammadReza and Ghadir, Pooria and Hosseini, Amin and Javadi, Akbar A. and Korayem, Asghar Habibnejad and Ranjbar, Navid (2024) Experimental investigation of sandy soil stabilization using chitosan biopolymer. Transportation Geotechnics, 46. 101266. ISSN 2214-3912 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trgeo.2024.101266)

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The performance of an environmentally friendly biopolymer synthesised from secondary resources to overcome the wind erosion of sandy soil was investigated in this study. The study employed a multi-scale approach to investigate the mechanical, erosional, and hydraulic properties of sandy soil. At the macroscale, experimental techniques such as unconfined and triaxial compression tests, permeability measurements, contact angle assessments, and wind tunnel experiments were utilized to characterize the bulk behavior of the soil. Concurrently, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were conducted at the nanoscale to predict surface mechanical characteristics and elucidate chemical interactions at the molecular level. Results show that when the outer surface of the sandy particles is coated with a sparse concentration of biopolymer, the sandy aerosol inhibitory performance is significant even under extreme storm conditions reaching speeds of 140 km/h of storms. The study on the impact of biopolymer content, curing time, and curing conditions revealed that the addition of chitosan biopolymer has the ability to enhance the bonding between particles and significantly enhance the mechanical properties of sandy soil. The atomic insight from molecular dynamics reveals huge entanglement between sandy particles and biopolymer by Van der Waals interaction. The results of the Unconfined Compressive Strength test indicate that chitosan enhances the compressive strength of sand by up to 320 kPa. Additionally, the triaxial test demonstrated that the application of chitosan led to a 34.2 kPa improvement in the cohesion of sand. Furthermore, analysis of the permeability test results revealed a decrease in the hydraulic conductivity coefficient from 1.6 × 10^-6 m/s to 5.7 × 10^-7 m/s, representing a reduction of approximately 35 %.