Transporting Flowable Fill

CLSM as a highway construction material is becoming more widespread throughout the United States. Data received from questionnaires sent by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) in 1991 and the Transportation Research Board (TRB) in 1992 indicated that approximately 30 states had some experience with the use of flowable fill, and at least 24 states have a specification for flowable fill.

Most state transportation agencies have used flowable fill mainly as a trench backfill for storm drainage and utility lines on street and highway projects. Flowable fill has also been used to backfill abutments and retaining walls, fill abandoned pipelines and utility vaults, cavities, and settled areas, and help to convert abandoned bridges into culverts. The most frequent use of flowable fill is reported in the states of Minnesota, Maryland, Michigan, Iowa, and Indiana.

Although most states have somewhat limited experience to date with flowable fill, nearly all states that have used the material have thus far indicated satisfactory performance with little or no problems. Several states have noted that metal or plastic pipes tend to float unless anchored, and some states have reported some resistance to the use of the material by contractors or engineers. Since flowable fill is normally a comparatively low-strength material, there are no strict quality requirements for fly ash used in flowable fill or controlled low strength material mixtures. Fly ash is well suited for use in flowable fill mixtures. Its fine particle sizing (nonplastic silt) and spherical particle shape enhances mix flowability. Its relatively low dry unit weight (usually in the 890 to 1300 kg/m3 (55 to 80 lb/ft3) range) assists in producing a relatively lightweight fill, and its pozzolanic or cementitious properties provide for lower cement requirements than would normally be required to achieve equivalent strengths.