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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-13-046
Date: October 2013


Federal Highway Administration Design Manual: Deep Mixing for Embankment and Foundation Support

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The deep mixing method (DMM) is an in situ soil treatment in which native soils or fills are blended with cementitious and/or other materials, typically referred to as binders. Compared to native soils or fills, the soil-binder composite material that is created has enhanced engineering properties such as increased strength, lower permeability, and reduced compressibility. The treated soil properties obtained by DMM reflect the characteristics of the native soil, binder characteristics, construction variables, operational parameters, curing time, and loading conditions.

The purpose of this report is to provide user-oriented DMM design and construction guidelines for the support of embankments and typical transportation-oriented foundations. The use of DMM for liquefaction mitigation and excavation support is also discussed in general terms, since these applications are often associated with DMM projects for embankments and foundations. The embankment and foundation applications addressed in this manual include embankment support (both new embankments and embankment widening), culvert support through an embankment founded on DMM, bridge abutment support, retaining wall foundations, and bridge pier support.

This manual includes guidelines required for U.S. transportation engineers to plan, design, construct, and monitor deep mixing projects for embankment and foundation support. Information includes background on the use of DMM for transportation projects in the United States; a glossary of commonly used terminology and nomenclature; a description of applications, feasibility, and flow of design and construction for DMM projects; site investigation and characterization considerations; ranges of treated soil properties and a procedure for determining treated soil strengths for design; recommended design procedures for embankment and foundation applications and a design example; a description of contract procurement vehicles and recommendations; guidance for developing plans and specifications for contract documents; guidance for developing bench-scale testing and full-scale field testing programs; a description of means, methods, and materials for DMM; an overview of available and recommended quality control/quality assurance procedures and monitoring techniques; and typical costs and methods for estimating costs of DMM projects for comparison with alternative technologies.

Jorge E. Pagán-Ortiz
Director, Office of Infrastructure
Research and Development


This document is distributed under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade and manufacturers’ names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the object of the document.


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United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration