Use of tank bottom sludge to construct and upgrade unpaved roads

Ramzi Taha*, Hossam Hassan, Amer Al-Rawas, Basma Yaghi, Ahmed Al-Futaisi, Ahmad Jamrah, Yahya Al-Suleimani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Citations (Scopus)


Tank bottoms are the liquids and residue, such as heavy hydrocarbons, solids, sands, and emulsions, that collect at the bottom of the treating vessel or that remain at the bottom of storage tanks after a period of service. Sludge composition is 50% to 65% crude oil, 20% to 35% water, and 5% to 20% solids. Disposal of tank sludge is a significant item of tank maintenance costs. Results are presented on the use of tank bottoms as a binder to construct and upgrade unpaved roads. Various sludge samples were initially characterized for chemical and physical composition, then three mixtures were prepared by using blends of aggregates and tank bottoms. No bitumen was used in the mixes. The mixtures include hot mix (aggregate and sludge were both heated), heated sludge and cold aggregate mix, and cold mix (no heat was applied). The Marshall mix design (ASTM D1559) was followed in the preparation and testing of the specimens. Results indicate that tank bottoms act as a binder to the aggregate and can provide significant strength. Heating both the sludge and the aggregate resulted in the highest stability value of 11.9 kN. An optimum sludge content of 6.5% by total weight of the mixture satisfied the requirements for low (3.3 kN) or medium (5.3 kN) trafficked surfaces or base layers according to Asphalt Institute specifications. Other mix properties, such as flow, air voids, voids in mineral aggregate, and voids filled with asphalt, were acceptable.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLow-Volume Roads
PublisherNational Research Council
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)0309104645, 9780309104647
Publication statusPublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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