Acta Geotechnica

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 615–626 | Cite as

Soil bio-cementation using a new one-phase low-pH injection method

  • Liang Cheng
  • Mohamed A. Shahin
  • Jian ChuEmail author
Research Paper


Soil bio-cementation via microbially induced carbonate precipitation (MICP) has been extensively studied as a promising alternative technique to traditional chemical cementing agents for ground improvement. The multiple-phase injection methods are currently well adopted for MICP treatment, but it is rather complex and requires excessive number of injections. This paper presents a novel one-phase injection method using low-pH all-in-one biocement solution (i.e. a mixture of bacterial culture, urea, and CaCl2). The key feature of this method is that the lag period of the bio-cementation process can be controlled by adjusting the biomass concentration, urease activity, and pH. This process prevents the clogging of bio-flocs formation and thus allows the biocement solution to be well distributed inside the soil matrix before bio-cementation takes effect, allowing a relatively uniform MICP treatment to be achieved. Furthermore, the ammonia gas release would be reduced by more than 90%, which represents a significant improvement in the environmental friendliness of the technology. The new one-phase method is also effective in terms of the mechanical property of MICP-treated soil; an unconfined compressive strength of 2.5 MPa was achieved for sand after six treatments.


Bio-cementation Ground improvement Microbially induced carbonate precipitation Microscopy One phase 



We would like to acknowledge that part of this study is supported by Grant No. SUL2013-1 by the Ministry of National Development and Grant No. MOE2015-T2-2-142 provided by the Ministry of Education, Singapore. The authors would also like to thank Donovan Mujah (Ph.D. candidate) for his assistance in conducting some SEM and UCS tests.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environment and Safety EngineeringJiangsu UniversityZhenjiangPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Department of Civil EngineeringCurtin UniversityBentley, PerthAustralia

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