Stabilization of liquefiable soils using colloidal silica grout

Patricia M. Gallagher, Ahmet Pamuk, Tarek Abdoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Passive site stabilization is a new technology proposed for nondisruptive mitigation of liquefaction risk at developed sites susceptible to liquefaction. It is based on the concept of slowly injecting colloidal silica at the edge of a site with subsequent delivery to the target location using natural or augmented groundwater flow. Colloidal silica is an aqueous dispersion of silica nanoparticles that can be made to gel by adjusting the pH or salt concentration of the dispersion. It stabilizes liquefiable soils by cementing individual grains together in addition to reducing the hydraulic conductivity of the formation. Centrifuge modeling was used to investigate the effect of colloidal silica treatment on the liquefaction and deformation resistance of loose, liquefiable sands during centrifuge in-flight shaking. Loose sand was successfully saturated with colloidal silica grout and subsequently subjected to two shaking events to evaluate the response of the treated sand layer. The treated soil did not liquefy during either shaking event. In addition, a box model was used to investigate the ability to uniformly deliver colloidal silica to loose sands using low-head injection wells. Five injection and two extraction wells were used to deliver stabilizer in a fairly uniform pattern to the loose sand formation. The results of the box model testing will be used to design future centrifuge model tests modeling other delivery methods of the grout.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Materials in Civil Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Colloids
  • Grouting
  • Liquefaction
  • Soil stabilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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