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Augmenting microbially induced carbonate precipitation of soil with the capability to self-heal

Botusharova, Stefani, Gardner, Diane ORCID: and Harbottle, Michael ORCID: 2020. Augmenting microbially induced carbonate precipitation of soil with the capability to self-heal. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering 146 (4) , 04020010. 10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943-5606.0002214

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Microbially induced carbonate precipitation (MICP) is increasingly being explored as a potential ground improvement mechanism, both for improved mechanical performance and groundwater control. However, the formation of a brittle cemented monolith will produce structures susceptible to chemical or physical deterioration over time, requiring potentially costly maintenance in future. Here, we present a demonstration of the potential for a simple and durable self-healing mechanism to be incorporated within the MICP process which allows the monolith to automatically respond to and heal damage. By selecting a bacterium capable of both causing MICP and surviving long periods and harsh conditions as a spore, it is demonstrated that such an organism can be entombed within calcium carbonate precipitates of its own making, survive in a senescent state and ultimately germinate upon damage to the encapsulating precipitate matrix. Subsequently, the organism is then capable of producing further calcium carbonate to heal the damage. It has further been shown that this mechanism can be used to initially cement a mass of sand, survive damage and deterioration and respond to restore the functionality of the stabilised mass, exhibiting the potential for such a system to provide ‘smart’, autonomous stabilised soil structures that offer enhanced durability and reduced maintenance.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Publisher: American Society of Civil Engineers
ISSN: 1090-0241
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 25 October 2019
Date of Acceptance: 22 October 2019
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 06:55

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