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Stabilisation of crustal sand layer using biocementation technique for wind erosion control

Zomorodian, Seyed Mohammad Ali, Ghaffari, Hamideh, O'Kelly, Brendan C.
Aeolian research 2019 v.40 pp. 34-41
bacteria, calcite, carbonates, dew, erosion control, sand, shear strength, silica, technology, wind, wind erosion, wind tunnels
This paper examines biocementation via the microbial-induced carbonate precipitation (MICP) process as an appropriate and promising new technology for stabilisation of loose sand and silty sand deposits as a method to mitigate wind erosion. The technique involves spray treating the sand surface layer with a mixture of cementation and bacterial-cell solutions, the ensuing reactions causing calcite precipitation to occur between the sand grains, thereby lightly cementing them together over time. The bench-scale experimental programme presented investigates the proposed technique’s effectiveness for stabilisation of silica and carbonate sands with different gradations, determination of the optimal reagent concentrations, the time-dependent shear strength development for the crustal sand layer following single- and double-MICP spray treatments, as well as wind tunnel experiments. Of particular novelty were investigations of the effect of dew formation on crustal shear strength development with curing period and the efficiency of the MICP treatment for the outdoor environment compared to laboratory-controlled test conditions. The wind tunnel experiments demonstrated that 28-day cured singly MICP-spray-treated crustal sand layers were stable to simulated 20 m·s−1 winds measured at 20 cm above the layer surface.