Effects of Potassium Solutions on Swell Potential of Mae Moh Expansive Soil


  • Juraluck Thongthang Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Chiang Mai University
  • Sethapong Sethabouppha Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Chiang Mai University




Expansive soil, Soil improvement, Potassium hydroxide, Potassium chloride, Potassium nitrate


This paper presents a field experiment of using potassium solutions to reduce swelling of expansive soil in the area of Mae Moh District, Lampang Province, Thailand. Based on the fact that the difference between montmorillonite in expansive soil and illite in non-expansive soil is the silica-gibbcite structure of the former was bonded by water molecules but those structures of illite was bonded by potassium ions. Therefore, an assumption of this research was if the expansive soil were soaked in potassium solution, monmorillonite may change to illite, and the soil should no longer swell. The field experiment was conducted by drilling holes of approximately 2 meters depth. Then, released potassium hydroxide in the forms of solution and flakes as well as potassium chloride solution and potassium nitrate solution into the holes. Kept the holes fill with the solutions at all time. After 30 days and 90 days, drilled other holes nearby the solution-fill holes to collect soil samples for laboratory tests. The investigation revealed that only the 20% potassium hydroxide can reduce the swelling of Mae Moh expansive soil. The X-ray diffraction test discovered that after 30 days of applying KOH solution to the expansive soil stratum, only illite and muscovite but montmorillonite was found, then after 90 days only muscovite was found. Based on academic articles in chemistry and geology, the transformation of montmorillonite to illite, and transformation of illite to muscovite are possible. The study of using potassium hydroxide solution should be studied extensively because it will be useful for existing buildings.


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How to Cite

J. Thongthang and S. . Sethabouppha, “Effects of Potassium Solutions on Swell Potential of Mae Moh Expansive Soil”, Eng. & Technol. Horiz., vol. 41, no. 1, p. 410101, Mar. 2024.



Research Articles