2024 journal article

Development of a reactive transport model for microbial induced calcium carbonate precipitation in unsaturated conditions


By: Z. Faeli n, B. Montoya n & M. Gabr n

author keywords: microbial induced calcium carbonate precipitation; numerical analyses; reactive transport model; soil-water re- tention curves; unsaturated soil
Source: Web Of Science
Added: April 15, 2024

Microbial induced calcium carbonate precipitation (MICP) offers a sustainable technique to improve geologic properties of soils in engineering structures. The applications encompass improved soil strength, scour mitigation, fracture sealing, and in situ contaminant immobilization. Previous studies have presented fundamental processes and implementation in lab- and field-scale. Most of these studies were examined in saturated conditions despite many MICP applications including those in coastal and riverside areas which will likely take place under unsaturated conditions. The study herein investigated the effect of soil water retention curve (SWRC) parameters and attachment coefficient ( Kat ) on CaCO3 precipitation in sand. Using numerical analyses, a continuum model was developed in which unsaturated flow and transport were coupled with biological and chemical reactions in variably saturated conditions. Predictive modeling results compare mass percentage of calcium carbonate resulting from MICP at degrees of soil water saturations of 20%, 40%, 80%, and 100% in sandy soil media. The results indicate the bacteria attachment coefficient increases by a factor of 3 as the degree of saturation is decreased from 100% to 20%, as the higher suctions at lower saturation levels improve bacteria fixation. The drying branch of SWRC versus wetting front yields higher CaCO3 for identical MICP treatment. Numerical results show the trend in hydraulic conductivity with increasing cementation level.