University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Engineering Department Geotechnical Research Seminars > Process Envelopes for and Biodegradation within Stabilised/Solidified Contaminated Soils

Process Envelopes for and Biodegradation within Stabilised/Solidified Contaminated Soils

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Stabilisation/solidification (S/S), which usually employs cementitious binders for treatment of contaminated soils, has emerged as a cost-effective and efficient remedial measure for such contaminated soils. This talk presents the findings of two related studies aimed at improving the robustness and sustainability of S/S technology. The first study dealt with development of process envelopes, which describe the limits of operating variables for acceptable performance of S/S treated soils, while the second study dealt with facilitation of biodegradation within S/S treated soils. The process envelope study utilised blended binder systems incorporating cement, fly ash, lime and blast furnace slag, while the combined S/S and biodegradation study utilised low-pH magnesium phosphate cements (MPC), for treatment of soils contaminated by organics and heavy metals. The mechanical and leaching performance of the treated soils was assessed over time. The results of the process envelope study demonstrated that compaction around the optimum water content can be used to achieve improved mechanical and leaching properties. Speciation of metal contaminants was similar in the different binder systems and leachability of metals was mainly pH-dependent. Hence, the quality of immobilisation of contaminants during S/S treatment would mainly be determined by adjustment of pH, for metals, and provision of sorption sites for organics. The combined S/S and biodegradation study showed that with the appropriate magnesia content in MPC , contaminant immobilisation and biodegradation can occur simultaneously without detrimental impacts on the structural integrity of the treated soils. The results show considerable promise for the application of MPC in contaminated land remediation.

This talk is part of the Engineering Department Geotechnical Research Seminars series.

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