Document Type : Research Paper


University of Technology, Civil Engineering Department, Baghdad, Iraq.


The arrangement of the soil for every ground structure is so important and must be efficient to sustain the whole structure. The variables and properties that have influenced their behavior must be well known. The building constructed on soft soils may fail due to their low strength, and an excessive settlement of the soil under a constant load could occur, therefore, the improvement for such soils must be carried out before construction to eliminate or decrease the maintenance cost or failure in buildings. Nowadays, one of the new technologies using to improve problematic soil is nanomaterials. In this study, experimental tests were conducted to: Investigate the effect of using conventional materials and nanomaterials on the physical properties (consistency limits and compaction characteristics) of soft soil. The soft soils were gathered from one site and process with four material types (fly-ash, silica fume, nano fly-ash, nano-silica fume). Additives were supplement in a tiny amount (≤5%) by the dry weight of the soil. The results showed a significant improvement in maximum dry density and plasticity index and the improvement depends on the type of nanomaterials. The maximum dry density has increased as the content of nanomaterials has increased until this value of maximum dry density reduces the strength of the soil to the optimum percentage. Thus, even at a low dose, the addition of soft particles such as nano materials may improve soil characteristics.


  • A significant improvement in max. density and PI depends on nanomaterials type.
  • Even at a low dose, the addition of nanomaterials may improve soil characteristics.
  • More than 3% of nanomaterials, particles agglomerate and the effect will negative. 


[1] M. A. Al- Neami, “Reducing settlement of soft soils using local materials”, Engineering and Technology Journal, Vol. 28, Part A, No. 23, pp. 6649-6661, 2010.
[2] M. Y. Fattah, M. A. Al- Neami and A. S. Al-Suhaily, “Strength Improvement of Soft Soil Treated Using Stone Columns”, Engineering and Technology Journal, Vol. 33, No.8, 2015
[3] S. Kolias, R. V. Kasselouri, and A. Karahalios, “Stabilization of clayey soils with high calcium fly ash and cement”. Cement Concrete Composites, Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 301-313, 2005.
[4] A. AAl-Rawas, andM.F.A. Goosen, “Expansive Soils: Recent Advances in Characterization and Treatment”. Taylor and Francis Group, London, UK,2006.
[5] A. Kajbafvala,M. Li. H. Bahmanpour, M. H. Maneshianand A. Kauffmann,“Nano/microstructured materials”, Rap. low-cost and eco-friendly synthesis methods” Hindawi Publishing Corporation Journal of Nanoparticles,pp. 1-3,2013.
[6] R. Priyadharshini,and P.D.Arumaira,“Improvement of bearing capacity of soft clay using nanomaterials”, IJSR - international journal of scientific research, Vol.4,No.6,pp. 2277 – 8179, 2015.
[7] M. R.Taha, I. T. Jawad and Z. H. Majeed,“Treatment of soft soil with nanomagnesium oxide”, Fifth international symposium on nanotechnology in construction,2015.
[8] M. A. J. Alsharef,M.R. Taha, A. A. Firoozi,andP. Govindasamy, “Potential of using nanocarbons to stabilize weak soils”. Hindawi Publishing corporation Applied and environmental soil science, Vol.16, pp.1-9, 2016.
[9] R. Yazarloo, J. Gholizadeh, A. Amanzadeh, andS. A. Mortazavi, “The effect of nanokaolinite on the compressibility and atterberglimit of the silty loess Soil in golestanprovince”, Proceedings of the 3rdworld congress on new technologies, Rome, Italy, pp. 6-8, 2017.
[10] ASTM. American Society of Testing and Materials Standard, "Standard test methods for laboratory compaction characteristics of soil using modified effort", West conshohocken, Pennsylvania, USA, 2006.
[11] ASTM. American Society of testing and materials standard,” Test methods for liquid limit, Plastic limit, and plasticity index of soils”, West conshohocken, Pennsylvania, USA, 2006.
[12] A, S.Soğancı, “The effect of polypropylene fiber in the stabilization of expansive soils”, World Academy of science, Engineering and technology, International journal of environmental, Chemical, Ecological, Geological and geophysical engineering, Vol. 9 No. 8, pp. 994-997,2015.
[13] M. R. Taha, and M. O. Taha,“Crack control of landfill liner and cap materials using nanoaluminapowder”. In: Guido, M. (Eds.), Coupled Phenomena in Environmental Geotechnics. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, London, pp. 459-463, 2013.
[14] J. E. Bowles,“Engineering properties of soils and their measurement”. McGraw-Hill, New York, 1992.
[15] M. A. Al-Neami, F. H. Rahil and Yassein H. Al-Ani, “Behavior of cohesive soil reinforced by polypropylene fiber,” Engineering and Technology Journal, Vol. 38, Part A, No. 06, pp. 801-812, 2020.
[16] B. M. Das,“Principles of geotechnical engineering”. 6thEdition., Cengage Learning, Stamford, U.S.A., 2010.
[17] I. T. Jawad, “Soil stabilization using lime: Advantages, Disadvantages and Proposing a Potential Alternative”, Research Journal of Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Maxwell Scientific Organization, Vol.8, No. 4, PP. 510-520,2014.
[18] J. T. Germaine, and A. V. Germaine,“Geotechnical laboratory measurements for engineers”John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2009
[19] M. R. Taha, “Geotechnical properties of soil-ball milled soil mixtures”, In: Bittnar, Z.P.M. Bartos, J. Němeček, V. Šmilauer, andZeman (Eds.), Nanotechnology in Construction. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 3, PP. 377-382,2009.