Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

McManis, Kenneth

Second Advisor

Easley, Dale

Third Advisor

Barbe, Donald

Fourth Advisor

Nataraj, Mysore

Fifth Advisor

Sexton, Ralph


Silty soils are a common occurrence and can exhibit low strengths, and minimal bearing capacity, causing widespread construction and performance problems. These soils are highly moisture-sensitive and their stability is greatly influenced by the degree of densification achieved during compaction. The strength and stiffness of silty-subgrade soils is also greatly reduced when moisture infiltrates the compacted soil during post construction period. This investigation concentrated on further developing the description of the pumping problem for soils with high silt content and the development of guidelines for stabilization of problematic silts. Using documented field experiences of the DOTD districts, the study presents a testing program to investigate the nature of the problem, the character of the silt materials, and their performance with modifying/stabilizing agents. Seven representative silt soil samples were used in the laboratory program. The unique characteristics that identify a soil with a high potential to pump were determined with standard laboratory tests. The response and stability of the silts under compaction and loading with various moisture levels and compaction efforts was also tested. The susceptibility to pumping of the different samples was reviewed in terms of their physical characteristics. In addition to the silt content percentage, the plasticity character was noted as being significant. The potential for the modification/stabilization of the problem silt soils was also studied. The laboratory tests were selected with respect to construction needs and possible post construction conditions. A limited number of specific additives were proposed with consideration for their ability to dry the subgrade silts sufficiently to be compacted and with the strength to provide a "working table" for the construction of the base and pavement. The additives selected included hydrated lime, portland cement, and class c fly ash. A unitary set of guidelines for stabilizing problematic silts is proposed.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.