Update on Bionic Soil Road in New Mexico

This is an update on a previous blog post about Bionic Soil that turns soil to stone. In this instance Bionic Soil is used on a road, but the same materials could turn an earthbag house into a stone house.

“A New Mexico company promised to deliver a pothole-proof, waterproof road to people in one of the most impassable communities in our region. 4 Investigates wanted to see if it held up. [KOB said their story about Bionic soil went viral last year.]

Bionic Soil is advertised to turn loose dirt into stone. KOB was the first to profile its manufacturer, Bionic Soil Solutions, in November 2014. The story generated interest from government agencies and companies worldwide.

The company, based in Santa Fe, tackled its first major project on Navajo Nation, which straddles the New Mexico and Arizona state line.
Travel has always been difficult there. Snow and rain routinely create several inches of sticky, slippery frustration in the form of mud year after year.

“When it gets wet, it’s impassable,” Council Delegate Benjamin Bennett said.

Last November, the Navajo decided to give Bionic Soil a try. It’s an environmentally-friendly liquid that accelerates Mother Nature’s natural lithification process.

The Navajo spent roughly $1 million on a six-mile stretch of traditionally one of their worst roads. They say regular asphalt would have cost roughly $12 million.

Twelve months later, the Bionic Soil road remains as compact and smooth as it was the day it was constructed.”

More at the source: KOB.com
Thanks to Paul for this tip.

3 thoughts on “Update on Bionic Soil Road in New Mexico”

  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.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.