American Society of Civil Engineers


Case History: Sulfate-Induced Heave of Lime-Treated Soils beneath a Structure in Western Colorado


by Aaron D. Bagley, P.E., (Senior Engineer, Joseph A. Cesare and Associates, Inc./Construction Technical Services, 7108 South Alton Way, Building B, Centennial, Colorado 80112 E-mail: abagley@jacesare.com) and Joseph A. Cesare, P.E., (President/Senior Principal, Joseph A. Cesare and Associates, Inc./Construction Technical Services, 7108 South Alton Way, Building B, Centennial, Colorado 80112 E-mail: joecesare@jacesare.com)
Section: Soils I: Subsurface Conditions, pp. 234-243, (doi:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/41082(362)24)

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Forensic Engineering 2009: Pathology of the Built Environment
Abstract: A commercial structure in western Colorado constructed circa 2001/2002 began to exhibit drywall distress within a few months of completion. The foundation consisted of a monolithic, cast-in-place footing and structurally connected slab-on-grade bearing on 0.3 to 0.8 meters of lime-treated, clay soils. The clay soils were documented to have low expansion potential and high sulfate contents. A survey of the building in 2004 showed an elevation difference of 27.9 centimeters over 15.2 meters. A Scanning Electron Microscope showed the presence of ettringite beneath the foundation. Sulfate induced heave is caused by the volume change associated with the formation of ettringite. Water entered the lime-treated soils beneath the foundation and was the catalyst for soluble sulfates to react with calcium in the lime to form ettringite. This reaction resulted in the structure’s distress.


ASCE Subject Headings:
Colorado
Case studies
Frost heave
Sulfates
Walls