Sticky stuff: biological cohesion for scour and erosion prevention

Schindler, R. and Whitehouse, R.J.S. and Harris, J. (2022) Sticky stuff: biological cohesion for scour and erosion prevention. Environmental Technology.

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This study examines the potential for biological cohesion to arrest scour erosion at marine infrastructure. Biological cohesion occurs naturally in sedimentary environments, and is caused by extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) which result from the life cycles of microorganisms. EPS is known to dramatically increase the resistance of natural biomediated sediment to erosive hydrodynamic forces. In this study, we test, for the first time, whether EPS can be deliberately added to a sediment to mitigate against scour erosion – a process we term ‘biostabilisation’. A systematic laboratory experiment is used to investigate the effects of an EPS additive on scour erosion around a monopile in a sand substrate. Results show that increasing EPS content causes a progressive reduction in equilibrium scour depth, the volume of excavated material and the timescale required to reach equilibrium scour morphology. These parameters are linearly related to EPS content, showing that the effects of EPS on the physical processes required for erosion to occur are concentration dependent. It can be concluded that biostabilisation offers a potential new ecologically engineered, nature-based solution to a range of scour and erosion scenarios. The economic and environmental advantages are discussed, and a methodology for biostabilisation use in individual erosion mitigation scenarios is proposed.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Ahead of print
Uncontrolled Keywords: Biostabilisation, Erosion, Scour protection, EPS, Monopile, Cohesion
Subjects: Maritime > General
Divisions: Maritime
Depositing User: Helen Stevenson
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2022 12:34
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2022 12:34

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