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Geomechanics and Engineering
  Volume 8, Number 5, May 2015, pages 649-661

Soil modification by addition of cactus mucilage
Isaac I. Akinwumi and Ikenna Ukegbu

    This research provides insight on the laboratory investigation of the engineering properties of a lateritic soil modified with the mucilage of Opuntia ficus-indica cladodes (MOFIC), which has a history of being used as an earthen plaster. The soil is classified, according to AASHTO classification system, as A-2-6(1). The Atterberg limits, compaction, permeability, California bearing ratio (CBR) and unconfined compressive strength of the soil were determined for each of 0, 4, 8 and 12% addition of the MOFIC, by dry weight of the soil. The plasticity index, optimum moisture content, swell potential, unconfined compressive strength and permeability decreased while the soaked and unsoaked CBR increased, with increasing MOFIC contents. The engineering properties of the natural soil, which only satisfies standard requirements for use as subgrade material, became improved by the application of MOFIC such that it meets the standard requirements for use as sub-base material for road construction. The effects of MOFIC on the engineering properties of the soil resulted from bioclogging and biocementation processes. MOFIC is recommended for use as a modifier of the engineering properties of soils, especially those with similar characteristics to that of the soil used in this study, to be used as a pavement layer material. It is more economical and environmentfriendly than conventional soil stabilizers or modifiers.
Key Words
    green technology; Opuntia ficus-indica; pavement material; soil stabilization; tropical soil
Department of Civil Engineering, Covenant University, P.M.B. 1023, Ota, Nigeria.

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