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Slag-Cement-Bentonite Slurry Walls Essay

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Updated: Mar 29th, 2020


The construction industry faces enormous challenges from the proper selection of building sites, to the identification of qualified engineers to work on sensitive structures (Milberg and Tommelein 120). Building grounds differ in their capabilities to support structures in the designed building form and the desired structure firmness.

As the construction techniques continue to evolve with the increasing construction technology, constructors and engineers have formulated means of dealing with complex construction sites such as the waterlogged areas (Milberg and Tommelein 121). Central to such perceptions, this essay investigates the involved techniques, the reasons, and the duration of construction pertaining to the designing of the concrete slurry walls.

Meaning of a Slurry Wall

A slurry wall is a form of a modern structure primarily designed to reinforce cement walls on marshy grounds, waterlogged areas, and grounds with raised groundwater table. Opdyke and Evans state that a slurry wall constitutes a concrete perimeter wall with a stable foundation and interlocking construction panels that constructors build underground to prevent the percolation of the groundwater in places with raised water tables (674). Slurry walls are environmental protection structures with impermeable barriers that constructors and engineers design predominantly to evade the percolation of fresh and contaminated groundwater into the houses of people or the residential places (Opdyke and Evans 675).

Why Constructors Build Slurry Walls

Slurry Walls have some significant functions when it comes to environmental protection and infrastructural development. In terms of environmental protection, slurry walls avert the seepage of hazardous waste such as contaminated groundwater and sewage, which are significant soil or water pollutants (Opdyke and Evans 673). Water seepage can also make roads and bridges impassable. Slurry walls are structural units that are essential in supporting the development of the state-of-the-art infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and flyovers that refurbish city traffics (Opdyke and Evans 677). Slurry walls also make agricultural land productive through allowing the construction of bridge berths, deep wells, canal wails, and underground water storage tanks.

When Constructors Construct Slurry Walls

A region with a raised groundwater table is unfit for agricultural use, construction purpose, or any meaningful utilization of land as a natural resource. When groundwater in the highly marshy areas or zones with raised underground water table becomes a threat to the human survival or a barrier to any form of infrastructural development, construction of slurry walls becomes necessary (Opdyke and Evans 675). Engineers and environmental experts recommend for the construction of slurry walls to control hazardous waste, control underground water seepage, or advocate for land reclamation through structural means. Slurry Walls are subsurface barriers with impermeable blockades that support innovative construction, infrastructural development, land rehabilitation, and the control of hazardous waste (Opdyke and Evans 678).

How Constructors Build Slurry Walls

Stage 1: Location and the deep excavation process- Before beginning the construction process, engineers analyze the worksite to establish the area permeability and recommend the form of a slurry barrier that would be suitable (Milberg and Tommelein 121). Slurry barriers can be up gradient, down gradient, or circumferential.

The initial process of the construction of a slurry wall begins with the excavation process. Excavation entails the digging of a trench or an underground channel of the desired width and depth using a hydraulic excavator or a clamshell digger (Milberg and Tommelein 122). Constructors then immediately fill the dug trench with bentonite slurry that reinforces the excavated channel and excludes water due to its shear thinning abilities.

Stage 2: Designing the Steel Cages and Beams- The second process in the construction of a slurry barrier is the construction of the steel beams or the vibrating beams (Milberg and Tommelein 122). The constructors vibrate a steel beam of approximately 10 inches wide into the bentonite slurry to form an entry trench within the steel walls.

The wide-flange beams are useful in forming wall joints and allow the constructors to use a tremor to fill the steel trench with a reinforcing concrete that displaces the bentonite slurry (Milberg and Tommelein 123). The reinforcing concrete displaces the bentonite slurry into the recycling units, as the process continues repeatedly until the completion of the slurry wall.

Stage 3: For the best performance, constructors must ensure a continuous and regular process of delivering concrete. As the gradual process of pumping the reinforcing concrete commences, the pumped concrete slowly dries up in the soil to form stable concrete panels (Milberg and Tommelein 125).

The constructors excavate the areas adjacent to the concrete wall to develop the rock anchors, the tiebacks, or the backfills. The backfill consists of a mixture the dried bentonite, the excavated fine soil, and the bentonite slurry. A mixture of the three construction components forms an impermeable wall (Milberg and Tommelein 126). The main function of the tieback anchors is to ensure internal bracing.


Land is increasingly becoming a scarce natural resource and the means of reclaiming unproductive land and protecting the environment are evolving. Engineers invented the construction of slurry walls as an innovative strategy to allow the control of hazardous waste that permeates through underground water, and provide space for infrastructural development in the waterlogged areas. Construction of a slurry wall is a gradual process that begins with the excavation of the selected place, setting concrete walls through the steel cages and beams, and completing the process with the construction of tiebacks or the rock anchors that reinforce the elevated walls.

Works Cited

Milberg, Colin and Iris Tommelein. “Tolerance and Constructability of Soldier Piles in Slurry Walls.” Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities 24.2 (2010): 120-127. Print.

Opdyke, Shana and Jeffrey Evans. “Slag-Cement-Bentonite Slurry Walls.” Journal of Geotechnical and Geo-environmental Engineering 131.6 (2005): 673-681. Print.

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