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Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering

Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.    2020, Vol. 14 Issue (3) : 599-608     https://doi.org/10.1007/s11709-020-0606-7
RESEARCH ARTICLE
Strength-increase mechanism and microstructural characteristics of a biotreated geomaterial
Chi LI1, Siriguleng BAI2(), Tuanjie ZHOU1, Hanlong LIU3, Xiao QIN1, Shihui LIU1, Xiaoying LIU3, Yang XIAO3()
1. College of Civil Engineering, Inner Mongolia University of Technology, Hohhot 010051, China
2. College of Science, Inner Mongolia University of Technology, Hohhot 010051, China
3. College of Civil Engineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400045, China
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Abstract

Microbially induced calcite precipitation (MICP) is a recently proposed method that is environmentally friendly and has considerable potential applications in artificial biotreated geomaterials. New artificial biotreated geomaterials are produced based on the MICP technology for different parent soils. The purpose of this study is to explore the strength-increase mechanism and microstructural characteristics of the biotreated geomaterial through a series of experiments. The results show that longer mineralization time results in higher-strength biotreated geomaterial. The strength growth rate rapidly increases in the beginning and remains stable afterwards. The calcium ion content significantly increases with the extended mineralization time. When standard sand was used as a parent soil, the calcium ion content increased to a factor of 39 after 7 days. The bacterial cells with attached calcium ions serve as the nucleus of crystallization and fill the pore space. When fine sand was used as a parent soil, the calcium ion content increased to only a factor of 7 after 7 days of mineralization. The nucleus of crystallization could not normally grow because of the limited pore space. The porosity and variation in porosity are clearly affected by the parent soil. Therefore, the strength of the biotreated geomaterial is affected by the parent soil properties, mineralization time, and granular material pore space. This paper provides a basis for theory and experiments for biotreated geomaterials in future engineering practice.

Keywords biotreated geomaterial      microbially induced calcite precipitation      strength-increase mechanism      microstructural characteristics     
Corresponding Author(s): Siriguleng BAI,Yang XIAO   
Just Accepted Date: 11 March 2020   Online First Date: 10 June 2020    Issue Date: 13 July 2020
 Cite this article:   
Chi LI,Siriguleng BAI,Tuanjie ZHOU, et al. Strength-increase mechanism and microstructural characteristics of a biotreated geomaterial[J]. Front. Struct. Civ. Eng., 2020, 14(3): 599-608.
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http://journal.hep.com.cn/fsce/EN/10.1007/s11709-020-0606-7
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fsce/EN/Y2020/V14/I3/599
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Chi LI
Siriguleng BAI
Tuanjie ZHOU
Hanlong LIU
Xiao QIN
Shihui LIU
Xiaoying LIU
Yang XIAO
Fig.1  The particle size distribution curves of standard sand and fine sand.
Fig.2  Experimental process diagram of mineralized formation for loose sand particles iduced by microorganisms: (a) sand; (b) photomicrograph of sand; (c) reactor device; (d) full contact flexible mold (FCFM); (e) MICP specimen after mineralization; (f) specimens after 7 days of air-dried treatment.
Fig.3  Microscopic porosity testing: (a) cumulative pore volume vs. pore size diameter of MICP-treated standard sand; (b) cumulative pore volume vs. pore size diameter of MICP-treated fine sand; (c) relationship between the log of differential injection and pore size of MICP-treated standard sand; (d) relationship between the log of differential injection and pore size of MICP-treated fine sand.
time (d) unconfined compressive strength (MPa)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
standard sand 0.15 0.49 0.55 0.89 1.82 2.12 2.33 2.38
fine sand 0.19 0.37 0.41 0.46 0.51
Tab.1  Results of unconfined compressive strength testing
Fig.4  Variation in strength of bio-composite material with mineralization time for two types of parent soil.
Fig.5  Variation in main chemical elements in specimens before and after mineralization. (a) MICP-treated standard sand; (b) MICP-treated fine sand.
chemical elements (%) standard sand fine sand
before mineralization after mineralization (7d) before mineralization after mineralization (7d)
Al 8.39 8.41 10.85 10.46
Fe 0.34 0.36 1.72 1.21
Mg 0.25 0.25 0.64 0.45
P 0.02 0.13 0.05 0.12
K 0.3 0.08 1.72 0.65
Ca 0.3 11.71 1.48 10.39
Tab.2  XRF test results
Fig.6  Variation in formation rate of calcium carbonate with mineralization time.
time (d) formation rate of calcium carbonate w (%)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
standard sand 0.76 4.02 5.62 10.41 21.63 23.96 24.08
fine sand 7.58 10.63 12.14 12.36 12.56 12.63 12.66
Tab.3  Formation rate of calcium carbonate
Fig.7  Variation in porosity with mineralization time.
Fig.8  Relationships between UCS, CaCO3 formation rate and porosity.
Fig.9  SEM images of specimens: (a) 7d after MICP-treated standard sand; (b) the bonding of MICP-treated standard sand; (c) calcium carbonate crystal covered on the surface of standard sand; (d) 7d after MICP-treated fine sand; (e) the bonding of MICP-treated fine sand; (f) calcium carbonate crystal covered on the surface of fine sand.
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