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Clayey soils with medium to high plasticity are prevalent in several parts of the world, causing billions of dollars in damage annually to various civil infrastructures. Several ground-improvement techniques can be employed to counteract this issue. However, these methods are impractical in certain situations and unsustainable in others due to their economic and environmental impacts. Microbial-induced calcite precipitation (MICP) could provide a more sustainable alternative. Researchers have successfully used MICP to alter specific geotechnical properties of sands and silts. This research investigates the applicability of MICP via biostimulation to treat clayey soils with low to high plasticity. The goal is to determine the viability of this technique to alter the engineering behavior of clayey soils, especially given the low permeability of these soils. For this purpose, four soils were selected from four different locations in Idaho and Montana. The soils were selected such that their plasticity varied from low to high to study the effect of plasticity index on the effectiveness of MICP treatments. In addition to the four soils, three additional artificial mixes were studied to study the effect of clay content on MICP effectiveness. Both macroscale and microscale studies were conducted on untreated and biostimulated soils to observe strength gain, swelling reduction, and calcium carbonate precipitation. The results show that MICP via biostimulation would be a promising method to treat problematic clayey soils.

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This material may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the American Society of Civil Engineers. This material may be found at doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)MT.1943-5533.0003036