Rubber bark dust-zeolite composite improved mechanic strength of soft paddy soil through improved microstructure

Muhammad Rendana, Wan Mohd Razi Idris, Sahibin Abdul Rahim, Zulfahmi Ali Rahman, Tukimat Lihan


Soft paddy soils are not a stable soil structure that leads to the decline of rice production in Kedah, Malaysia. The soil had high compressibility and water content, and low soil strength thus the agricultural machines could not be operated above this soil. Therefore, this study was conducted to improve the mechanical strength of soft soils in paddy fields using an organic amendment. The organic amendment used in this study was made from amended materials comprising clinoptilolite, kieserite, humic acid, and rubber bark dust. The study was carried out in the paddy field area of Alor Pudak district, Kedah, Malaysia, and it was divided into five treatments of amendment dose, i.e: 0 kg (control or P0), 125 kg (P1), 250 kg (P2), 375 kg (P3) and 500 kg (P4) with each plot size about 0.20 ha. The soil samples were then analyzed using X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscope (SEM), and the unconsolidated undrained triaxial compression test (UU-test) to characterize their amended properties. The XRD results clearly exhibited changes in the mineralogical composition of all treated plots with an increasing smectite content (1200 to 1300 intensity). Furthermore, the SEM results showed that clay particles in the treated plots have been flocculated to form close-knit, more stable soil structures. After the organic amendment application, the mechanical strength of the treated plots increased to an optimum level (50 kPa in P2) for resisting mechanical pressure from agricultural machinery. Overall, this study of the efficacy of organic amendment offers new insight into a soft paddy soil remediation method that is more effective and economical than the conventional method.


Clinoptilolite; Rice production; Soil amendment; Soil physics

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