Mitigation of soil liquefaction using microbially induced desaturation
Date of Issue2016
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Soil liquefaction can cause disastrous consequences to buildings and human lives. Regular countermeasures against soil liquefaction are often overly expensive for normal buildings and structures. This could be the major reason that liquefaction induced damage is still widely encountered in large- and mid-size earthquakes in recent years. In this paper, a new method for the mitigation of soil liquefaction using the microbially induced soil desaturation is proposed and tested. The desaturation effect in soil is achieved by the generation of nitrogen gas produced from the microbial denitrification process. Some major issues related to this method are experimentally investigated. These include soil desaturation procedures, shapes and distribution of gas bubbles in soil, mechanical responses and liquefaction resistance of desaturated soils, and stability of gas in soils. The desaturation treatment of soils is made simply by introducing denitrifying bacteria and a desaturation solution into soil pores by mixing, flushing, or injection. The degree of saturation can be reduced as the microbial reaction proceeds. Experimental results show that the final degree of saturation is related to the initial nitrate concentration added to the soil: the higher the concentration of nitrate in the desaturation solution, the lower the degree of saturation that can be achieved. The existence of gas bubbles in soil is evidenced by computer tomography (CT) technology. The CT images reveal that gas is in the form of small pockets which has a size a little larger than the mean size of sand grains. It is shown in the shaking table tests that microbially induced desaturation can effectively improve the liquefaction resistance of soil by showing a much lower pore pressure generation, much smaller volumetric strain, and much smaller settlement of the structure in desaturated soil, as compared with those in saturated soil. Triaxial consolidated undrained tests reveal that the desaturation treatment of soil can improve the undrained shear strength of loose sand. The stability of gas is tested under hydrostatic and water flow conditions. The gas phase is stable under the hydrostatic condition, but unstable under water flow conditions. So measures ought to be taken to prevent steady flow in practice.
Journal of Zhejiang University Science A
© 2016 Zhejiang University and Springer. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Journal of Zhejiang University Science A, Zhejiang University and Springer. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1631/jzus.A1600241].