Laterite Based Stabilized Products for Sustainable Building Applications in Tropical Countries: Review and Prospects for the Case of Cameroon
Lateritic soils are formed in the tropics through weathering processes that favor the formation of iron, aluminum, manganese and titanium oxides. These processes break down silicate minerals into clay minerals such as kaolinite and illite. Iron and aluminum oxides are prominent in lateritic soils, and with the seasonal fluctuation of the water table, these oxides result in the reddish-brown color that is seen in lateritic soils. These soils have served for a long time as major and sub-base materials for the construction of most highways and walls of residential houses in tropical and sub-tropical countries of the world. Civil engineering applications of these lateritic soils are continually being developed with the use of different types of stabilizers. The stabilized soil-based products are as such viewed as environmentally-friendly and low-cost energy materials for sustainable building applications. This work aims at presenting a global view of what has been done in the field of lateritic soil improvement for construction purposes in tropical countries such as Cameroon. This shall be discussed through the presentation of the structure, composition and properties of lateritic soils, the various ways of improving their properties for construction purposes, the properties of products obtained and other prospects.
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