Acta Geotechnica

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 673–683 | Cite as

Microbially induced calcite precipitation along a circular flow channel under a constant flow condition

  • Chuangzhou Wu
  • Jian ChuEmail author
  • Shifan Wu
  • Liang Cheng
  • Leon A. van Paassen
Research Paper


Biogrouting is a new ground improvement method that has been studied in recent years. This method involves mainly the use of a microbially induced calcite precipitation process to bind soil particles to increase the strength or to fill in the pores of soil or joints of rock for seepage control. There are two major challenges in the use of biogrout for seepage control through rock joints. The first is how to inject the biogrout solutions, and the second is to understand the mechanisms for the formation of calcite under seepage flow. In this paper, a study on the injection of biogrout solution and the formation of precipitates along a circular 1D flow channel is presented. To minimize the influence of flow, a new one-phase injection method to inject bacterial solution and cementation agents simultaneously was adopted in this study. Factors affecting the formation and distribution of precipitates along the flow channel such as flow velocity, flow rate, and aperture of flow channel were investigated. The experimental results indicated that less calcite was precipitated at locations further away from the injection point due to depletion of the reactants’ concentrations along the flow path. Using the one-phase injection method, the bacterial activity had a major effect on the accumulation of the calcite on the inner surface of the flow channel. The total calcite precipitated on the surface of the flow channel increased slightly with increasing bacterial activity or flow rate. An equation to predict the distance travelled by the biosolution has been derived based on the testing results.


Calcite Fracture sealing Microbially induced calcite precipitation (MICP) Seepage control 



We would like to acknowledge that this study is supported by Grant No. SUL2013-1 by the Ministry of National Development, Singapore. We would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for the good comments which helped in the improvement of this paper.


  1. 1.
    Akbari M, Sinton D, Bahrami M (2011) Viscous flow in variable cross-section microchannels of arbitrary shapes. Int J Heat Mass Transf 54(17–18):3970–3978Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Carman PC (1997) Fluid flow through granular beds. Chem Eng Res Des 75:S32–S48Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Cheng L, Qian C, Wang R, Wang J (2008) Bioremediation process of Cd2+ removal from soil by bacteria A biomineralization. Kuei Suan Jen Hsueh Pao/J Chin Ceram Soc 36(SUPPL):215–221Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cheng L, Cord-Ruwisch R, Shahin MA (2013) Cementation of sand soil by microbially induced calcite precipitation at various degrees of saturation. Can Geotech J 50(1):81–90Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Choi SG, Park SS, Wu S, Chu J (2017) Methods for calcium carbonate content measurement of biocemented soils. J Mater Civ Eng 29(11):06017015Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Chu J, Stabnikov V, Ivanov V (2012) Microbially induced calcium carbonate precipitation on surface or in the bulk of soil. Geomicrobiol J 29(6):544–549Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cuthbert MO, McMillan LA, Handley-Sidhu S, Riley MS, Tobler DJ, Phoenix VR (2013) A field and modeling study of fractured rock permeability reduction using microbially induced calcite precipitation. Environ Sci Technol 47(23):13637–13643Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    De Muynck W, De Belie N, Verstraete W (2010) Microbial carbonate precipitation in construction materials: a review. Ecol Eng 36(2):118–136Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    DeJong JT, Fritzges MB, Nüsslein K (2006) Microbially induced cementation to control sand response to undrained shear. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 132(11):1381–1392Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Dejong JT, Soga K, Kavazanjian E, Burns S, Van Paassen LA, Al Qabany A, Aydilek A, Bang SS, Burbank M, Caslake LF, Chen CY, Cheng X, Chu J, Ciurli S, Esnault-Filet A, Fauriel S, Hamdan N, Hata T, Inagaki Y, Jefferis S, Kuo M, Laloui L, Larrahondo J, Manning DAC, Martinez B, Montoya BM, Nelson DC, Palomino A, Renforth P, Santamarina JC, Seagren EA, Tanyu B, Tsesarsky M, Weaver T (2013) Biogeochemical processes and geotechnical applications: progress, opportunities and challenges. Geotechnique 63(4):287Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Droppo IG, Ross N, Skafel M, Liss SN (2007) Biostabilization of cohesive sediment beds in a freshwater wave-dominated environment. Limnol Oceanogr 52(2):577–589Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fujita Y, Taylor JL, Gresham TL, Delwiche ME, Colwell FS, McLing TL, Petzke LM, Smith RW (2008) Stimulation of microbial urea hydrolysis in groundwater to enhance calcite precipitation. Environ Sci Technol 42(8):3025–3032Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Gargiulo G, Bradford S, Šimůnek J, Ustohal P, Vereecken H, Klumpp E (2007) Bacteria transport and deposition under unsaturated conditions: the role of the matrix grain size and the bacteria surface protein. J Contam Hydrol 92(3–4):255–273Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hammes F, Verstraete W (2002) Key roles of pH and calcium metabolism in microbial carbonate precipitation. Rev Environ Sci Biotechnol 1(1):3–7Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Harkes MP, Van Paassen LA, Booster JL, Whiffin VS, van Loosdrecht MC (2010) Fixation and distribution of bacterial activity in sand to induce carbonate precipitation for ground reinforcement. Ecol Eng 36(2):112–117Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    He B, Wang LZ, Hong Y (2017) Field testing of one-way and two-way cyclic lateral responses of single and jet-grouting reinforced piles in soft clay. Acta Geotech 12(5):1–14Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hilgers C, Urai JL (2002) Experimental study of syntaxial vein growth during lateral fluid flow in transmitted light: first results. J Struct Geol 24(6–7):1029–1043Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Holmqvist P, Lettinga MP, Buitenhuis J, Dhont JK (2005) Crystallization kinetics of colloidal spheres under stationary shear flow. Langmuir 21(24):10976–10982Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hommel J, Lauchnor E, Phillips A, Gerlach R, Cunningham AB, Helmig R, Ebigbo Anozie, Class H (2015) A revised model for microbially induced calcite precipitation: Improvements and new insights based on recent experiments. Water Resour Res 51(5):3695–3715Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hong Y, Ng CWW, Wang LZ (2015) Initiation and failure mechanism of base instability of excavations in clay triggered by hydraulic uplift. Can Geotech J 52(5):599–608Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ivanov V, Chu J (2008) Applications of microorganisms to geotechnical engineering for bioclogging and biocementation of soil in situ. Rev Environ Sci Bio/Technol 7(2):139–153Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Johnson CP, Li X, Logan BE (1996) Settling velocities of fractal aggregates. Environ Sci Technol 30(6):1911–1918Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Juniper SK, Martineu P, Sarrazin J, Gelinas Y (1995) Microbial-mineral floc associated with nascent hydrothermal activity on CoAxial Segment, Juan de Fuca Ridge. Geophys Res Lett 22(2):179–182Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Minto JM, MacLachlan E, El Mountassir G, Lunn RJ (2016) Rock fracture grouting with microbially induced carbonate precipitation. Water Resour Res 52(11):8827–8844Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Mitchell AC, Dideriksen K, Spangler LH, Cunningham AB, Gerlach R (2010) Microbially enhanced carbon capture and storage by mineral-trapping and solubility-trapping. Environ Sci Technol 44(13):5270–5276Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Mountassir GE, Lunn RJ, Moir H, MacLachlan E (2014) Hydrodynamic coupling in microbially mediated fracture mineralization: formation of self-organized groundwater flow channels. Water Resour Res 50(1):1–16Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Nollet S, Hilgers C, Urai JL (2006) Experimental study of polycrystal growth from an advecting supersaturated fluid in a model fracture. Geofluids 6(2):185–200Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Phillips AJ, Lauchnor E, Eldring J, Esposito R, Mitchell AC, Gerlach R, Cunningham AB, Spangler LH, Spangler LH (2012) Potential CO2 leakage reduction through biofilm-induced calcium carbonate precipitation. Environ Sci Technol 47(1):142–149Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Phillips AJ, Cunningham AB, Gerlach R, Hiebert R, Hwang C, Lomans BP, Westrich J, Mantilla C, Kirksey J, Esposito R, Spangler L (2016) Fracture sealing with microbially-induced calcium carbonate precipitation: a field study. Environ Sci Technol 50(7):4111–4117Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Rijn LCV (1984) Sediment transport, part II: suspended load transport. J Hydraul Eng 110(11):1613–1641Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Stoner DL, Watson SM, Stedtfeld RD, Meakin P, Griffel LK, Tyler TL, Pegram LM, Barnes JM, Deason VA (2005) Application of stereolithographic custom models for studying the impact of biofilms and mineral precipitation on fluid flow. Appl Environ Microbiol 71(12):8721–8728Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Tobler DJ, Maclachlan E, Phoenix VR (2012) Microbially mediated plugging of porous media and the impact of differing injection strategies. Ecol Eng 42:270–278Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Van Paassen LA (2009) Biogrout, ground improvement by microbial induced carbonate precipitation. Doctoral dissertation, TU Delft, Delft University of TechnologyGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    van Paassen LA, Ghose R, van der Linden TJ, van der Star WR, van Loosdrecht MC (2010) Quantifying biomediated ground improvement by ureolysis: large-scale biogrout experiment. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 136(12):1721–1728Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Wang JY, De Belie N, Verstraete W (2012) Diatomaceous earth as a protective vehicle for bacteria applied for self-healing concrete. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 39(4):567–577Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Wang LZ, He B, Hong Y, Guo Z, Li LL (2015) Field tests of the lateral monotonic and cyclic performance of jet-grouting reinforced cast-in-place piles. J Geotech Geo-environ Eng ASCE 141(5):06015001Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Whiffin VS, van Paassen LA, Harkes MP (2007) Microbial carbonate precipitation as a soil improvement technique. Geomicrobiol J 24(5):417–423Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Yao KM, Habibian MT, Omelia CR (1971) Water and waste water filtration. Concepts and applications. Environ Sci Technol 5(11):1105–1112Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Zhong L, Islam MR (1995, January) A new microbial plugging process and its impact on fracture remediation. In: SPE annual technical conference and exhibition. society of petroleum engineersGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chuangzhou Wu
    • 1
  • Jian Chu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shifan Wu
    • 1
  • Liang Cheng
    • 1
  • Leon A. van Paassen
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Civil and Environmental EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics (CBBG)Arizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA

Personalised recommendations