Erosion Control of Granular Soils Using PVA

by Robert M. Koerner, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Drexel Univ., Philadelphia, Pa.,
Thomas A. Okrasinski, Project Engr.; Exxon Research and Engrg., Florham Park, N.J.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Construction Division, 1978, Vol. 104, Issue 3, Pg. 279-294

Document Type: Journal Paper


One of a number of methods used to arrest soil erosion is by chemical means. Within this category is polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), a commercially available polymer. When applied to a highly erodable granular soil in the amount of 48g/m² (400 lb/acre) erosion was resisted during a 120 min duration rainfall of an intensity of 3.8 cm/hr (1.5 in/hr). Subsequent laboratory tests showed that the mechanism involved in the success of the PVA treated soil to resist erosion allowed for rainfall to penetrate into the soil rather than running off of the soil's surface. The PVA bonding was seen via micrographs to occur at the particle contact points but the resulting soil structure was still porous enough to allow for water infiltration. This situation was also seen to promote plant growth thereby further retarding soil erosion. A small field study on a micaceous sandy soil confirmed the laboratory findings in that the ratio of eroded soil from an untreated site adjacent to a PVA treated site was 28 to 1.

Subject Headings: Soil treatment | Granular soils | Penetration tests | Laboratory tests | Erosion | Soil structures | Sandy soils | Chemicals

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