Inducing Hydrophobicity to Improve Long Term Engineering Performance of Kaolinite Clay

  • Aisha M. S. HaquieEmail author
  • Megan L. Hart
Conference paper
Part of the Environmental Science and Engineering book series (ESE)


Engineered compacted earthen liners are significantly important for the disposal of municipal and industrial solid wastes. Compacted clay liners strain during seasonal wet and dry fluctuations, providing pathways for leachate to contaminate surrounding soil and groundwater. Although geosynthetic clay liners are utilized, GCLs may be infeasible in areas that undergo cyclic wet and dry seasonal or groundwater fluctuations. This study focuses on improving the properties of kaolinite silty-clay by minimizing permeability through induced hydrophobicity. Siloxane, a water repellent material, was mixed with kaolinite soil at concentrations between 0.5% to 20% by weight to determine optimal induced hydrophobicity for retention of mass during cyclic wetting and drying. Hydrophobicity was measured using sessile drop methodology and water drop penetration time. Fine particles are preferentially influenced, resulting in soil gradation differences on the portion passing No. 200 sieve. Resistance to water penetration was improved, resulting in greater adherence between soil particles without inducing any crystalline structural changes. Volume losses and moisture absorption from wetting and drying cycles were reduced in optimally treated siloxanated clay molds, as compared to untreated samples. These experimental results indicate siloxane treated kaolinite clay possess improved engineering characteristics, and have potential to improve the useful lifetime of clay liners.


Kaolinite Siloxane Hydrophobic Contact angle Grain size Wetting and drying cycle SEM 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Missouri Kansas CityKansas CityUSA

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