Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Howard, Isaac L.

Committee Member

Schneider, Judith

Committee Member

DuBien, Janice

Committee Member

Vahedifard, Farshid

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Civil Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Cement stabilized material used for subbase or base pavement layers has been a widely accepted practice by many state Departments of Transportation (DOTs); particularly, for DOTs with limited access to quality crushed aggregates for pavement construction. Despite over 100 years of use, construction specifications governing cement stabilized pavement layers have largely remained the same and are primarily method based specifications (i.e. individual components evaluated and construction methods prescribed) rather than evaluating or testing mechanical properties of the end product. With the recent emergence of the Plastic Mold compaction Device (PM Device), multiple agencies are looking to depart from method based soil-cement specifications by implementing the PM Device for design and construction quality control and quality assurance (QC/QA) testing. Prior to this dissertation, PM Device protocols have been validated under lab conditions but only limited field validation had been performed. Additionally, time delay between initial mixing and compaction of cement stabilized soils is a known issue, which can affect compaction of PM Device specimens as well as construction target density values determined through AASHTO T134 Proctor testing. The main objectives of this dissertation are to investigate time delay effects on cement stabilized soil compactability during Proctor testing, develop a nationally recognized Standard Practice for PM Device specimen fabrication, and perform PM Device field evaluations for QC/QA testing. Lab experiments were conducted to investigate time delay effects and finalize PM Device Standard Practice protocols. Five field projects were evaluated to validate PM Device QC/QA applications and Standard Practice protocols in a construction environment. Time delay was observed to have a notable detrimental influence on compactability during AASHTO T134 Proctor testing and PM Device specimen fabrication. Recommended guidance was provided to characterize compaction delay effects. AASHTO PP92-19 was developed and published by AASHTO's Committee on Materials and Pavements to standardize specimen fabrication for the 3x6 inch and 4x8 inch versions of the PM Device. The PM Device fared well for construction activities when benchmarked relative to density, strength, and modulus of cores taken from constructed cement stabilized pavement layers. The PM Device was recommended for implementation consideration by state DOTs and other agencies.


Mississippi Department of Transportation