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CCEE Associate Professor Brina Montoya, Post-Doc Pegah Ghasemi win ASCE’s Collingwood Prize

CCEE Associate Professor Brina Montoya and Post-Doc Pegah Ghasemi were awarded the American Society of Civil Engineer (ASCE)’s 2023 Collingwood Prize for the paper “Field Implementation of Microbially Induced Calcium Carbonate Precipitation for Surface Erosion Reduction of a Coastal Plain Sandy Slope.” The paper was published in the Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering in July 2022.

Montoya and Ghasemi will receive a certificate during the society’s annual convention in Chicago in October. The Collingwood Prize was instituted and endowed in 1894 by Francis Collingwood, past Secretary of ASCE. It is administered by the Committee on Younger Members through the Honors and Awards Program.

Montoya and Ghasemi’s research aimed to assess the potential for biologically based methods to reduce erosion susceptibility of coastal subgrades.The research group used natural soil bacteria to cement the soil together, a process called microbial-induced carbonate precipitation (MICP). Three application systems — surface spraying, prefabricated vertical drains and shallow trenches — were compared. Improvement of the treated soil was assessed using dynamic cone penetration, impinging jet, and pocket penetrometer tests and was monitored for 331 days. Results indicated that MICP is an effective soil improvement method for surficial and deeper applications. You can read more about the study here.