Evaluation of the Efficiency of Microbial Induced Carbonate Precipitation For Loose Sand Dunes Fixation

Document Type : Research Paper

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Abstract

Wind erosion is one of the main factors in soil and environment degradations and air pollution in arid and semi-arid areas. Existing methods of soil erosion control, including oil and chemical soil stabilizers, are too costly and they introduce toxic materials into the soil with significant environmental impact. Therefore, this research was conducted to determine the effectiveness of microbial induced calcite precipitation (MICP) as a biological and environmentally friendly method to improve the erosion resistance of loose sand dunes. For this purpose, the erosion of biocemented soil samples was measured experimentally in a wind tunnel under the wind velocities ranging from 10 to 55 kmh-1at a height of 10 cm above the tunnel floor. Results demonstrated that the weight loss of MICP-treated samples relative to the weight loss of control treatment was significantly decreased at all velocities. The effect of biological treatment on wind erosion control was even superior at the higher velocities. Erosion rate of MICP-treated samples was 2.13 against 240 kgm-2h-1 at the velocity of 55 km.h-1. The penetration resistance of the MICP-treated soil samples was observed up to three times higher than from control treatment, indicating a significant improvement of surface resistance in biologically treated samples. The result of SEM and XRD analysis shows that CaCO3 was mainly precipitated as vaterite crystals forming point-to-point contacts between the sand particles and improving surface resistance against wind shear velocity.

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