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Clay soil posses a great threat causes problem on civil engineering structures due to its tendency to swell when it is in contact with water and shrinks when they dry out. Stabilization using chemical admixtures is the oldest and popular method of soil improvement. In this study, an investigation was conducted to explore the possibility of using processed termite mound as a stabilizing admixture to improve clay soils. This investigation involves the determination of the swelling potential of expansive soil in its natural state as well as when mixed with varying proportion of termite dust from (0 to 30%). The processed termite mound in this experimental work is obtained from termite mound (anthill), dried and ground followed by sieving through sieve no.36. Consistency limits, specific gravity, swelling properties were determined for the samples. Addition of processed termite mound decreases liquid limit, plasticity index, plastic limit, shrinkage limit, shrinkage index, specific gravity and activity. Experimental results also showed that the swelling percentage decreased while rate of swell increased with increasing percentage of processed termite mound content. The rates of swelling and swelling percentage of the stabilized specimens were also affected by curing in a positive direction such that the effectiveness of the stabilizer increased with termite mound content. The CBR and UCS values obtained also increases with stabilizer content. Based on results obtained from the study, the use of 25%-30% termite mound is recommended for the improvement of clay as sub-grade material.





Approval page                                                                                  i

Certification page                                                                              ii

Dedication                                                                                         iii

Acknowledgement                                                                                      iv

Abstract                                                                                            v


CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION                                            9

1.1     Background of the Study                                                                  9

1.2     Aim of Study                                                                           9

1.3     Significance of Study                                                               9

1.4     Scope of Work                                                                        9


CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW                                12

2.1     Clay Soils                                                                                12

2.2     Clay Mineralogy and Major Groups                                       12

2.3     Mechanism of Swelling                                                           13

2.4     Factors Affecting Swelling                                                      16

2.5     Termites                                                                                  16

2.6     Design and Analysis of Experiments                                                17

2.7     Model Derivation                                                                    18

2.61   Least Squares Estimation of the Model Parameters.              20


CHAPTER THREE: MATERIALS AND METHOD                            22

3.1     Sample Collection and Preparation                                         22

3.2     Experimental Tests                                                                 22

3.2.1  Plastic Limit                                                                                      23

3.2.2  Liquid Limit                                                                            24

3.2.3  Plasticity Index                                                                        24

3.2.4  Compaction Test                                                                     25

3.2.5  California Bearing Ratio Test                                                  25

3.2.6  Unconfined Compressive Strength Test                                  26



4.1   Identification of Soil and Processed Termite                                      28

4.2   Compaction Characteristics                                                      29

4.3   Consistency Limits                                                                             29

4.4   California Bearing Ratio                                                                     30

4.5   Unconfined Compressive Strength                                           31

4.6   Response Surface Methodology of Processed Termite Stabilized

Soil and Model Verification                                                      35

4.6.1 Optimum Moisture Content                                                     37

4.6.2 Maximum Dry Density                                                           39

4.6.3 California Bearing Ratio (Unsoaked)                                       40 California Bearing Ratio (Soaked – 4 Days)                                  42

4.6.4 Unconfined Compressive Strength (4-Days)                                     43

4.7     Model Verification                                                                  44


CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSIONS                                              54

5.1    Recommendations                                                                    56


REFERENCES                                                                                57                                                    









Some partially saturated clayey soils are very sensitive to variations in water content and show excessive volume changes. Such soils, when they increase in volume because of an increase in their water contents, are classified as expansive soils. Problem of clayey soils has appeared as cracking and breakup of pavements, railways, highways, embankments, roadways, building foundations, channel, irrigation systems, etc. (Wayne et al. 1984).

It is reported that damage to structures due to clayey soils has been the most costly natural hazard in some countries. In the United States damage caused by clayey soils exceeds the combined average annual damage from floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes. (Jones and Holtz, 1973). Documented evidence of  the problems associated with clayey soils is worldwide, having occurred in such countries as the United States, India, China, Canada and regions in Europe. (Popescu, 1986). It is reasonable that studies on the problem of clayey soils become more important day by day if the durative deficit of World resources and economy is taken into consideration. (Ipek, 1998). When geotechnical engineers are faced with clay soils, the engineering properties of those soils may need to be improved to make them suitable for construction. (Muntohar and Hantoro, 2000).


Clayey soil is a term used for soils which exhibit moderate to high plasticity, low to moderate strength and high swell and shrinkage characteristics (Holtz and Gibbs, 1956). They are often considered a potential natural hazard, likely to cause extensive damage to structures, roads etc if not adequately treated. These soils are more difficult to deal with than collapsible soils because collapsible is a one way process, whereas clayey soils can shrink and swell as the case may be. Such soils swell when given an access to water and shrink when they dry out (Al-Rawas et al. 2002). Some saturated clayey soils are partially very sensitive to variations in water content and show excessive volume changes. Such soils increase in volume as a result of an increase in water content.

Generally, they have high plasticity and are relatively stiff or dense. Its nature is most obvious near the ground surface where the profile is subjected to seasonal and environmental changes. The pore water pressure is initially negative and the deposit is generally unsaturated. These soils often have some montmorillonite clay mineral present. The higher the amount of monovalent cations absorbed to the clay mineral (e.g. sodium), the more severe the soil problem (Fredlund and Rahardjo, 1969).

Termite clay is obtained from termite mound, while mound is a pile of earth made by termite resembling a small hill. It is made of clay whose plasticity has further been improved by the secretion from the termite while being used in building the mound ( Minjinyawa et al. 2007) It is therefore a better material than the ordinary clay in terms of utilization for moulding lateritic bricks ( Minjinyawa and Odumodu et al. 2007) and this type of clay has been reported to perform better than ordinary clay in dam construction ( Yohanna et al. 2003). The clay from the termite mound is capable of maintaining a permanent shape after moulding because of its plasticity; it is also less prone to crack when compared with ordinary clay. In addition, it has low thermal conductivity and expectedly reduced solar heat flow and temperature fluctuation within an enclosure( Minjinyawa et al. 2007).

The problem of these soils has appeared as cracking and break-up of pavements, railways, highway embankments, roadways, building foundations slab-on-grade members, channel, reservoir linings, irrigation systems, water lines and server lines ( kehew 1995). Detailed and documented evidence of the problems associated with  soils that are clayey in nature is worldwide. It occurs in most of these countries such as India, Canada, Australia, China, United states, regions in Africa and Europe ( Popescu 1986).

It is important and reasonable that, studies regarding the problem of clay soils become imperative day by day if the durative deficit of the world resources and economy is taken into consideration. When geotechnical engineers are faced with clay soils, the engineering properties of these soils need to be improved to make them suitable for construction ( Okafor et al. 2009). To study the model of strength determination of soil to the processed termite stabilized soil using Scheffe’s second degree polynomials, to check the empirical models results and compare it to the experimental results in the absence of strenuous laboratory results, to check the unconfined compressive strength ofprocessed  termite and the CBR values of expansive soil. The purpose of this experimental study is to investigate the potential ofprocessed termite as a stabilizing agent for expansive soil.



  • To investigate the potentials of processed termite mound as a stabilizing agent in clay soils.
  • To determine if there exist, a relationship between processed termite mound model and the experiment.


  • To develop empirical models that can be used to predict the behaviour of soil processed termite mound stabilization.
  • It will help reduce pressure on the use of cement for soil stabilization thereby conserving the country foreign reserve.
  • To cut-down the cost of unsuitable materials in road construction.


This research work, only covers soils that are clayey in nature.



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