A C Plaisted, LRIC. This paper was first published in GE’s July 1974 edition.
It may seem surprising that what we regard as a modern development in ground engineering had its origin in the 19th century.
The subject of soil mechanics was in its infancy which no doubt was one reason why chemical grouting developed in a sporadic way in those early days. Jeziorsky first described the use of sodium silicate together with a gelling agent for soil treatment in a German patent published in 1886. Later Francois (1911) reintroduced the idea using aluminium sulphate.
These early attempts to consolidate the ground with chemicals arose out of the inability of cementitious grouts to perform effectively in sandy ballast and gravelly soils. Such ground conditions, though highly water permeable, prevented the cement particles from penetrating and so caused them to be filtered out.