Ravenswood’s chief scientist, supported by numerous university laboratory and commercial field studies, has perfected a proprietary technology that employs a multi enzyme formula for the process of soil stabilization that binds clay molecules together.  The process actually creates a permanent biochemical change in clay soil that results in the look, feel and density of shale. The enabling chemical composition is an all-natural product that is completely environmentally safe and it will not harm humans, animals, fish, or vegetation and is biodegradable.

There are endless applications for the technology including roadways, lake beds, parking lots, lining ponds, building and storage pads, livestock areas, natural earth blocks, homes, waste disposal sites, runways, and erosion control. The technology can be employed for any application that requires soil stabilization, the need to increase load-bearing capacity, and the reduction of plasticity and permeability.

It has been deployed successfully in virtually every type of climate ranging from the Arctic Circle to the southern regions of Africa, to the rain forest climates of South America and the Hawaiian Islands. It has received the appropriate level of certification in several continents and countries, including Canada and the United States. It has a demonstrated ability to increase the value of infrastructure funds devoted to maintaining road surfaces including dirt and gravel, chip seal and paved roads. In every instance, it creates road bases that provide for all weather travel, reduced ongoing maintenance requirements and increased longevity.

An enzyme is by definition an organic catalyst that speeds up a chemical reaction, that otherwise would happen at a slower rate, without becoming a part of the end product. The enzyme combines with the large organic molecules to form a reactant intermediary, which exchange ions with the clay structure, breaking down the lattice and causing the cover-up effect, which prevents further absorption of water and the loss of density. The enzyme is regenerated by the reaction and goes to react again. Because the ions are large, very little osmotic migration takes place and a good mixing process is required.

When mixed with water and applied prior to compaction, the enzyme acts upon organic fines contained in the soil through a catalytic bonding process, producing a strong “cementation” action. Unlike inorganic or petroleum-based products which temporarily hold soil materials together, this causes the soil to bond during compaction into a dense, permanent base which resists water penetration, weathering and wear. This process takes place in 72 hours under ideal conditions.

The enzymes are adsorbed by the clay lattice, and then released upon exchange with metals cations. They have an important effect on the clay lattice, initially causing them to expand and then to tighten. The enzymes can be absorbed also by colloids enabling them to be transported through the soil electrolyte media. The enzymes also help the soil bacteria to release hydrogen ions, resulting in pH gradients at the surfaces of the clay particles, which assist in breaking up the structure of the clay.

Compaction of aggregates near the optimum moisture content by construction equipment produces the desired high densities characteristic of shale. The resulting surface has the properties of durable “shale” produced in a fraction of the time (millions of years) required by nature. The idea of using enzyme stabilization for roads was developed from enzyme products used for treatment of soil to improve horticultural applications. A modification to the process produced a material, which was suitable for stabilization of poor ground for road traffic. When it is added to a soil, the enzymes increase the wetting and bonding capacity of the soil particles. The enzyme allows soil materials to become more easily wet and more densely compacted. Also, it improves the chemical bonding that helps to fuse the soil particles together, creating a more permanent structure that is more resistant to weathering, wear and water penetration.

University of Minnesota Department of Civil Engineering, 2005


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