Abstract

Natural sisal fiber is an environment-friendly and efficient material for soil reinforcement. Many studies have reported that the shear strength of soil has been improved by the addition of fiber. However, the mechanical properties of sand can be more effectively improved by the incorporation of water-based polymer and sisal fiber. An extensive laboratory testing program was conducted to determine the effect of water-based polyurethane and sisal fiber reinforcement on sand. Laboratory tests included sieve analysis, X-ray diffraction, conventional triaxial compression, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) tests. The effects of polymer content (PC), fiber content (FC), fiber length (FL), and sample dry density (ρ) are thoroughly investigated. The results indicate that the increases of PC, FC, and ρ all improve the mechanical properties of sand. For FL, this improvement in shear strength was maintained to FLs of up to 18 mm. Beyond 18 mm, the shear strength decreased with further increase in FL. The mixing of polymer and fiber changes the failure mode from shear faulting to ductile flow. This indicates that the ductility of sand is improved. From the SEM images we found that sisal fibers, binding with colloidal materials formed by polymer, fill the sand voids and join the sand particles. This demonstrates that mixing of fiber and polymer can enhance the bonding of sand particles.

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