Towards the development of sustainable ground improvement techniques—biocementation study of an organic soil

Safdar, Muhammad Umair, Mavroulidou, Maria, Gunn, Michael J., Purchase, Diane ORCID logoORCID:, Gary, C., Payne, Ian and Garelick, Jonathan (2021) Towards the development of sustainable ground improvement techniques—biocementation study of an organic soil. Circular Economy and Sustainability . ISSN 2730-597X [Article] (Published online first) (doi:10.1007/s43615-021-00071-8)

PDF - Published version (with publisher's formatting)
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Ongoing research effort is dedicated to the development of innovative, superior and cost effective ground improvement techniques to mitigate natural and man-made hazards while minimising waste and other environmental impacts. In this context, the nature based process of biocementation of soils has been proposed as a potentially more sustainable technique than conventional chemical ground improvement practices. This paper focuses on the biocementation of an organic soil of the UK railway network. Having recently proven the feasibility of biocementing this soil using indigenous ureolytic bacteria, in this paper, the authors perform a parametric study to identify treatments successful in increasing the strength of the soil. Selected treatments are then applied to the soil to assess its volume change during consolidation, secondary compression and shrinkage upon drying. The results show that, depending on the treatments used, biocementation has increased the unconfined compressive strength by up to 81% compared to that of the control samples. For selected treatments and the range of water contents tested (55–33%), shrinkage upon drying reduced by 16%, while the volumetric strains of the soil upon 1-D compression reduced by 32–47%. This was reflected in the values of the coefficient of volume compressibility and the coefficient of secondary compression (the latter either reduced by up to an order of magnitude or secondary compression was not observed altogether in the testing period). Overall, the results proved that biocementation improved considerably the mechanical properties of the organic soil, which gives promise for addressing the settlement problems of this soil.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Biocementation, organic soil, urea hydrolysis
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Natural Sciences
Item ID: 33725
Notes on copyright: © The Author(s) 2021.This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Diane Purchase
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2021 11:31
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2022 14:58

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.