Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Computing, Engineering & Construction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. School of Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Raphael Crowley

Second Advisor

Dr. Donald Resio

Third Advisor

Dr. Ryan Shamet

Department Chair

Dr. Osama Jadaan

College Dean

Dr. William Klosermeyer


Surfactant-induced soil stabilization (SISS) is a new method for soil stabilization whereby anionic surfactants and alkaline earth metals are introduced to a soil matrix. This research served as a preliminary study into SISS’ suitability as a temporary soil stabilization method that could be used to improve wheeled vehicle traction during amphibious type naval operations conducted on a beach head.

Beach sand specimens were treated with sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS; aka sodium lauryl sulfate) and calcium chloride using two methods: hand mixing in testing cylinders and surface percolation in bench scale sandboxes. Treated cylinders were tested for unconfined compressive strength (UCS) and treated sandboxes were tested for compressive strength, traction, treatment depth, and dissolution. Cylinder testing results appear to show a parabolic relationship between SDS content and UCS with an estimated local maximum of 48.4 psi corresponding to 81.4% of the pore volume (PV) filled with SDS. Sandbox testing results appear to show that the surface percolation treatment method can offer similar compressive strength improvements while using considerably less SDS. These strength improvements appear to also result in improved resistance to wheeled vehicle sinkage. Dissolution results show that beach sand treated with both SDS and CaCl2 tended to be resistive to dissolution in both seawater and distilled water.

Overall, the results of this preliminary study show that SISS may provide compressive strength improvements and traction improvements in beach sand. These results are encouraging however they are strictly bench-scale and also showed significant variability, therefore additional research is required.