Testing the Strengths of Sandstone Aggregates Stabilized with Cement and Styrene-Butadiene Latex Copolymer for Road Subbase Applications

Eng Hie Tan, El Said M.M. Zahran, Soon Jiann Tan

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Roads constructed over poor ground conditions that carry high traffic volumes and axle loads may, over time, experience persisting occurrences of pavement distress. Road construction, be it a new or a rehabilitation project, is both costly and time-consuming. An appealing option that improves pavement durability, reduces construction cost and time, accelerates strength development over a short curing period, and decreases pavement thickness is to chemically stabilize local road materials. In contrast to other aggregate materials, there has been a gap in evaluating and quantifying the feasibility of chemical stabilization of sandstone aggregate that possesses marginal quality as a road construction material. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to provide an experimental investigation of relative strength development of sandstone aggregate subbase of marginal quality stabilized with combinations of Portland composite cement (PCC), ordinary Portland cement (OPC), and styrene-butadiene latex copolymer (or polymer). The samples were prepared with different gravel-to-sand (G:S) ratios of 2.1, 1.2, and 0.4 and subsequently stabilized with a polymer-cement (P/C) blend. Samples were compacted and cured under dry and wet conditions before measuring their unconfined compressive strength (UCS), indirect tensile strength (ITS), and California bearing ratio (CBR). At the same curing condition and P/C contents, it was found that the UCS and CBR of P/C-stabilized samples increased with increasing G:S ratios. At the same polymer and cement contents, the P/C-stabilized samples with the highest G:S ratio of 2.1 also demonstrated a significantly higher rate of UCS strength development compared with the samples with lower G:S ratio and unstabilized samples. Soil stabilization with a combination of 0.75% polymer and 5% cement contents yielded the highest UCS that was approximately seven times the UCS of unstabilized samples and an ITS of 0.73 MPa. Stabilization with a combination of 0.75% polymer and 3% cement contents yielded the highest CBR value that significantly exceeded 30% after only 4 days of soaking and was seven times that of unstabilized samples. This paper has thus demonstrated the potential improvement to the strength development of sandstone aggregate subbase stabilized with P/C blend under the optimal curing condition and the importance of identifying and using the optimal proportion of polymer and cement to achieve the target strength development and improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04022147
JournalJournal of Materials in Civil Engineering
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Cement
  • Pavement
  • Stabilization
  • Strength development
  • Styrene-butadiene latex copolymer
  • Subbase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials


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