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Update on Bionic Soil Road in New Mexico — 3 Comments

  1. Sounds like a geopolymerization reaction to me, especially after reading some of the literature available on their website. I’m guessing their stabilizer is the same sort of sodium silicate/sodium hydroxide solution that’s used as a geopolymer activator. When it touches silicon and aluminum-based minerals (e.g clay) it dissolves them and binds them together into a homogenous mass. Even if almost no aluminum is present, it can still work and just produces a different type of geopolymer–one that’s more of a synthetic zeolite.

    This kind of thing is what you’re looking for to increase the strength of the soil in earthbags, too. The problem is not that it doesn’t work but rather that it’s expensive in the dosages required, undermining one of the “dirt cheap” advantages of earthbag construction in low-labor-cost areas. But anyone who has access to cheap and abundant sources of lye can make basic geopolymers out of soil; just add lye to the mixing water and some lime, fly ash, or rice husk ash to the soil if any is available. It won’t be anywhere near what’s possible when engineered in a lab (e.g. 15,000 PSI compressive strength) but it’ll be far superior to unstabilized soil.

  2. Maybe I should interview the owner of Bionic Soil to learn more about using this product to create extra strong walls. What really intrigues me is they claim the soil actually turns to stone. It’s not just stabilized.

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