Volume 23, Issue 3 (September 2000)
The Influence of Biofilm on the Mechanical Behavior of Sand
The growth of microbes on the surface of an object results in the formation of a biofilm, which in sand can lead to a reduction of hydraulic conductivity and can be used for groundwater containment and remediation. Sample preparation and testing techniques for triaxial and oedometer experiments were devised for the purpose of examining the influence of biofilm on the stress-strain-time properties of Ottawa sand. Results have shown that biofilm has a negligible influence on the strength and stiffness of the sand but increases time-dependent creep deformation. An elasto-viscoplastic constitutive model was calibrated for biofilm and non-biofilm sand and implemented into a finite-element code for the purpose of predicting creep deformation of a slope and a foundation resting on level ground. Numerical simulations showed that additional creep behavior of the biofilm sand had a negligible influence on the behavior of these geotechnical engineering facilities.