Geotechnical and Geological Engineering

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 173–182 | Cite as

Impact of Carpet Waste Fibre Addition on Swelling Properties of Compacted Clays

  • M. Mirzababaei
  • M. Miraftab
  • M. Mohamed
  • P. McMahon
Original paper


Municipalities and recycling and environmental authorities are concerned about the growing amount of carpet waste produced by household, commercial and industrial sectors. It is reported that 500,000 tonnes of carpet waste fibre are plunged into landfills annually in the UK. In the United States of America, around 10 million tonnes of textile waste was generated in 2003. In geotechnical engineering, expansive clay soils are categorised as problematic soils due to their swelling behaviour upon increase in the moisture content. The problematic nature of such soils is intensified with the increase in the plasticity index. This paper presents results of a comprehensive investigation into utilisation of carpet waste fibres in order to improve the swelling characteristics of compacted cohesive soils. Therefore, two different clay soils with markedly different plasticity indices (i.e. 17.0 and 31.5 %) were treated with two different types of carpet waste fibre. Waste fibres were added to prepare specimens with fibre content of 1, 3 and 5 % by dry weight of soil. Soil specimens with different dry unit weights and moisture contents were prepared so as to the swelling behaviour of fibre reinforced compacted clays is completely attained under various scenarios. The results indicated that the behaviour of the fibre reinforced soils seems highly dependent on the initial compaction state and secondary on the moisture content. It was found that the swelling pressure drops rapidly as the percentage of fibre increases in samples prepared at the maximum dry unit weight and optimum moisture content. Reducing the dry unit weight, while maintaining constant moisture content or increasing the moisture content at constant dry unit weight was found to reduce the swelling pressure.


Carpet waste fibre Fibre reinforced soils Compacted clay soils Swelling pressure Fibre pockets 



The team involved in carrying out this work is indebted and grateful to Envirolink North West who has generously supported this work. The authors also wish to thank Carpet Recycling UK as well as Milliken Industries for providing the fibrous waste materials for this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Mirzababaei
    • 1
  • M. Miraftab
    • 1
  • M. Mohamed
    • 2
  • P. McMahon
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Materials Research and InnovationUniversity of BoltonBoltonUK
  2. 2.School of Engineering Design and TechnologyUniversity of BradfordBradfordUK
  3. 3.School of Built Environment and EngineeringUniversity of BoltonBoltonUK

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