Evaluation of the Effects of Alkali Contamination on the Geotechnical Properties of Red Earth in the Visakhapatnam Region of India

IJEP 43(11): 1050-1056 : Vol. 43 Issue. 11 (November 2023)

Srikanth Satish Kumar Darapu and Sai Kumar Vindula*

Gandhi Institute of Technology and Management (GITAM) (Deemed to be University), Department of Civil Engineering, GITAM School of Technology, Visakhapatnam – 530 045, Andhra Pradesh, India


The chemical heave caused by alkali contamination of soils results in differential settlements and progressive failures, thereby damaging the constructions atop. Understanding the behaviour of the alkali-contaminated soils is essential to take further steps toward stabilization. Considerable work was done on the impacts of alkali contamination on soils, however, studies on the red earth in the Visakhapatnam region of India are limited. In this paper, red earth from the study area was induced with various concentrations of sodium hydroxide solutions (0.05, 0.1, 1, 2 and 4N) and cured for 7, 28, 56 and 90 days. Atterberg limits for this soil were calculated and the trend was explored. Geotechnical properties were investigated to analyze the reasons for the behavioural changes of the NaOH-induced red earth. The research results have provided new insights into the geotechnical properties of the red earth in the Visakhapatnam region. Both the liquid limit and plastic limit increased with the increase in the concentration of NaOH. Changes in the maximum dry density were well observed with the optimum moisture content under the increased concentration of NaOH solution. Unconfined compressive strength test results revealed the changes in the strength parameters, with most of the samples losing strength after 56 days of curing. A higher reduction in the strength of the red earth was observed at higher concentrations of NaOH. Even at 0.05 N NaOH, the red earth exhibited swell, which needs to be taken care of in the subsequent stabilization process.


Red earth, Alkali contamination, NaOH, Atterberg limits, Geotechnical properties


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