Agarose gel as a soil analogue for the development of advanced bio-mediated soil improvement methods

Corral, Javier Rodriguez, Mitrani, Helen, Dade-Robertson, Martyn, Zhang, Meng and Maiello, Pietro (2020) Agarose gel as a soil analogue for the development of advanced bio-mediated soil improvement methods. Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 57 (12). pp. 2010-2019. ISSN 0008-3674

cgj-2019-0496.R2.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (1MB) | Preview
Official URL:


Bio-mediated soil improvement methods (those that use biological processes) have potentially low cost and environmental impact but can be difficult to control to ensure effective results, especially if engineered bacteria are used. A novel application of using agarose gel as a soil analogue is proposed, which can enable development of advanced bio-mediated soil improvement methods by reproducing relevant mechanical properties while allowing complex biological processes to be studied in detail, before testing in soils. It is envisaged that agarose gel will be used instead of soil when developing early-stage prototype methods, as it provides an ideal environment to facilitate growth and monitoring of bacteria. A programme of geotechnical tests and Scanning Electron Microscopy on Agarose Low Melt (LM) gel is presented. The results demonstrate comparable pore size, undrained strength and permeability to soft clays and peats but more linear stress-strain behaviour and higher compressibility. This paper offers proof of this novel concept but further investigation is required as only a single type of agarose, at a single concentration is tested. By varying these factors, along with use of different solvents, there is significant potential to tune the behaviour of the analogue to particular soils or construction scenarios.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: hydrogel, agarose, soil analogue, soil improvement, bio-mediated
Subjects: D700 Agricultural Sciences
F200 Materials Science
F600 Geology
H200 Civil Engineering
H800 Chemical, Process and Energy Engineering
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering
Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Applied Sciences
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2020 14:59
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 13:47

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics