Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering

, Volume 43, Issue 10, pp 5573–5583 | Cite as

Geotechnical Properties of Plastic Marl Contaminated with Diesel

  • Yassir M. Mustafa
  • Omar S. Baghabra Al-Amoudi
  • Shamsad Ahmad
  • Mohammed Maslehuddin
Research Article - Civil Engineering


The reported study was conducted to assess the geotechnical properties of plastic marl contaminated with diesel. The geotechnical properties of the uncontaminated soil, including gradation, Atterberg limits, compaction characteristics, angle of internal friction, cohesion and unconfined compressive strength (\(q_u )\), were initially evaluated. Thereafter, the soil was contaminated with four dosages of diesel (3, 6, 9 and 12% by weight of the dry soil) and the changes in the geotechnical properties, due to the contamination, were assessed. The liquid limit increased with an increase in the contamination level of up to 9%. A further increase in the contamination level decreased the liquid limit. A similar trend was noted in the plasticity index. However, no significant changes were noted in the compaction characteristics, namely the maximum dry density and optimum moisture content. A large increase in the unconfined strength was measured in the soil contaminated with 3% diesel. However, the strength decreased up to 9% contamination and thereafter an increase in this strength was noted. A similar trend was noted in the cohesion value. This trend in the unconfined compressive strength and cohesion may be ascribed to the agglomeration of soil particles at low contamination levels, while the lubrication effect dominates at high contamination levels, as noted in the scanning electron micrographs. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy analysis was carried out to measure the elemental composition of the contaminated soil, and a high percentage of carbon was observed as an indication of the presence of hydrocarbons.


Marl Diesel contamination Geotechnical properties Scanning electron micrographs 


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Copyright information

© King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringKing Fahd University of Petroleum and MineralsDhahranSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Centre for Engineering Research, Research InstituteKing Fahd University of Petroleum and MineralsDhahranSaudi Arabia

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