Mechanical Properties and Microscopic Mechanism of Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF) Slag-Treated Clay Subgrades

Arailym Mustafayeva, Aidana Bimykova, Sakiru Olarewaju Olagunju, Jong Kim, Alfrendo Satyanaga, Sung-Woo Moon

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Civil engineering faces a substantial challenge when dealing with soft and compressible clayey soils. Conventional soil stabilization techniques involving ordinary Portland cement (OPC) result in notable CO2 emissions. This study explores the utilization of basic oxygen furnace (BOF) slag, a by-product of steel production, for strengthening kaolin clay. This research investigates the
influence of BOF slag particle size, BOF slag content, and the use of activators such as lime and ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBFS) on the stabilization of kaolin clay. The strength development is assessed through unconfined compressive strength (UCS) test, bender element (BE) test, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The findings reveal that higher BOF content and extended curing periods enhance soil strength, and lime and GGBFS effectively augment the stabilizing properties of BOF slag. Stabilizing kaolin clay with a 30% BOF/GGBFS mixture in a 50/50 ratio with 1% lime and curing for
7 days yielded a compressive strength of 753 kPa, meeting the Federal Highway Administration’s requirement for lime-treated soil. These combined measures contribute to developing a more robust and stable material with enhanced geotechnical properties.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • kaolin clay
  • BOF slag
  • soil stabilization
  • unconfined compressive strength
  • bender element


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