September 1, 2016
Assistant Professor Michael Gomez, who joins the CEE Department in March 2017, has been honored with a 2016 Telford Premium Journal Prize. The award recognizes authors of the top papers published in ICE journals, which are judged by peers to be of exceptional quality and benefit to the greater civil engineering community.
Gomez is recognized for a publication he co-authored with his Ph.D. adviser at the University of California, Davis, Professor Jason DeJong. The publication is also co-authored with collaborators from Geosyntec Consultants. Entitled “Field-Scale Bio-Cementation Tests to Improve Sands,” the paper was published in 2015 in the ICE Ground Improvement Journal.
The paper recognizes research that the authors have been developing during the past decade. The paper discusses results from one of the first successful field applications of bio-cementation ground improvement, which solidifies sands through biologically mediated calcite precipitation. In the pilot application, bio-cementation was used to stabilize the surface of loose mine sands in order to improve erosion resistance, slope stability, allow vehicle movement and enable revegetation.
When he joins CEE in the spring, Gomez will continue his geotechnical engineering research, investigating the use of chemical and biological processes in soils to develop new sustainable geotechnical technologies. As current soil improvement processes rely upon large amounts of energy and materials, Michael’s research leverages existing natural processes to strengthen soils, which addresses global challenges related to population growth, climate change, and material and energy demands. His current research focuses on strengthening weak granular soils using native soil microorganisms through a process called “microbially induced calcite precipitation,” which can reduce treatment costs and environmental impacts.
The paper of the year award will be presented to the authors at a ceremony at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London, UK, in October 2016.