An Engineered Clay Soil System Using Functional Polymers

Open Access
Kim, Sung ho
Graduate Program:
Civil Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
October 05, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Angelica M. Palomino, Committee Chair
  • Mian C. Wang, Committee Member
  • James H. Adair, Committee Member
  • Coray M. Colina, Committee Member
  • Peggy A. Johnson, Committee Member
  • clay
  • pH-responsive polymer
  • clay-polymer nanocomposites
  • DPD
Soil modification is widely accepted to improve soil properties in the field of geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering. In the case of clay soil, it is well known that the clay fabric determines properties of the soil such as permeability, shear strength, and compressibility. Although clay fabric has successfully been modified using polymers, they are typically utilized as a static modification. That is, no further structural modification is expected due to the irreversible interactions between the polymer and clay particles. In this study, responsive polymers, those for which conformational behavior is affected by the surrounding environment such as pH and ionic strength, are used as a clay fabric modifier such that the final structures are “tunable”. Three studies were conducted to investigate (1) composite synthesis of clay and responsive polymer, (2) tunability of the composites at the meso-scale, and (3) computational studies of the tunability.