The performance of stabilized and unstabilized minestone in an aqueous environment with emphasis on its erosion resistance
Britain's sea and flood defences are becoming increasingly aged and as a consequence, more fragile and vulnerable. As the government's philosophy on resources shifts against the use of prime quarried and dredged geo-materials, the need to find alternative bulk materials to bolster Britain's prone defences becomes more pressing. One conceivable source for such a material is colliery waste or minestone. Although a plethora of erosion-abrasion studies have been carried out on soils and soil-cements, very little research has been undertaken to determine the resistance of minestone and its cement stabilized form to the effects of water erosion. The thesis reviews the current extent to which soil-cements, minestone and cement stabilized minestone (CSM) have been employed for hydraulic construction projects. A synopsis is also given on the effects of immersion on shales, mudstones and minestone, especially with regard to the phenomena of slaking. A laboratory study was undertaken featuring a selection of minestones from several British coalfields. The stability of minestone and CSM in sea water and distilled water was assessed using slaking tests and immersion monitoring and the bearing on the use of these materials for hydraulic construction is discussed. Following a review of current erosion apparatus, the erosion/abrasion test and rotating cylinder device were chosen and employed to assess the erosion resistance of minestone and CSM. Comparison was made with a sand mix designed to represent a dredged sand, the more traditional, bulk hydraulic construction material. The results of the erosion study suggest that both minestone and CSM were more resistant to erosion and abrasion than equivalently treated sand mixes. The greater resistance of minestone to the agents of erosion and abrasion is attributed to several factors including the size of the particles, a greater degree of cement bonding and the ability of the minestone aggregate to absorb, rather than transmit shock waves produced by impacting abrasive particles. Although minestone is shown to be highly unstable when subjected to cyclic changes in its moisture content, the study suggests that even in an intertidal regime where cyclic immersion does takes place, minestone will retain sufficient moisture within its fabric to prevent slaking from taking place. The slaking study reveals a close relationship between slaking susceptibility and total pore surface area as revealed by porosimetry. The immersion study shows that although the fabric of CSM is rapidly attacked in sea water, a high degree of the disruption is associated with the edges and corners of samples (ie. free surface) while the integrity of the internal fabric remains relatively intact. CSM samples were shown to be resilient when subjected to immersion in distilled water. An overall assessment of minestone and CSM would suggest that with the implementation of judicious selection and appropriate quality control they could be used as alternative materials for flood and sea defences. It is believed, that even in the harsh regime of a marine environment, CSM could be employed for temporary and sacrificial schemes.