Microbially induced calcite precipitation effect on soil thermal conductivity

TitleMicrobially induced calcite precipitation effect on soil thermal conductivity
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsS Venuleo, L Laloui, D Terzis, T Hueckel, and M Hassan
JournalGéotechnique Letters
Pagination39 - 44
Date Published01/2016

Efficiency of energy piles is strongly affected by soil saturation conditions: low water contents considerably decrease their performance thus limiting the possibility to extend their application to arid environments. This paper investigates the microbially induced calcite precipitation (MICP) technique as a potential means of enhancing the soil–pile heat exchange rates by improving the thermal properties of soil. The study puts the focus on measuring the thermal conductivity of untreated and treaded sand at various degrees of saturation. Experimental results clearly show a significant improvement of the thermal conductivity of soil especially for low degrees of saturation. This enhancement is attributed to the mineralised calcite crystals acting as ‘thermal bridges’ between the soil grains, offering a larger surface area for heat exchange compared with the untreated material in which exchanges occur through smaller contact points.

Short TitleGéotechnique Letters