Research into erosion of silicate grouting

NWO grants for Open Technology Programme research projects

The research project SilPit receives funding from the NWO Domain Applied and Engineering Sciences through the Open Technology Programme. SilPit (Erosion of silicate grouting in construction pits) conducts experimental and numerical research into the erosion processes of silicate grout, which is used to build dry construction pits for underground construction below groundwater.

Urbanisation drives a growing demand for underground constructions like bicycle storage, parking facilities and infrastructure. Construction below groundwater requires dry pits. For this purpose, silicate grout gels are typically injected into the soil. They solidify and thus prevent inflow of groundwater into the construction pit. However, in recent years silicate grout is used beyond its traditional limits, like larger and deeper construction pits in more challenging environments. This yields uncertainties of its applicability, lifetime, and environmental impact. SilPit addresses these uncertainties by experimentally and numerically investigating erosion processes of silicate grout, under varying physical, chemical and configurational conditions.

Porous media

SilPit is headed by Dr Amir Raoof (Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Geosciences). Raoof is director of the Faculty’s Multiscale Porous Media Lab. In addition, he leads the Structures of Strength (SoS) platform for Unusual Collaborations, a geo-initiated initiative in which various disciplines, ranging from history to medicine, study porous media. A documentary has also been made about SoS.

Applicable knowledge

The Open Technology Programme provides funding for excellent research, with a view to potential application of the results. The programme gives companies and other organisations a low-threshold way to join scientific research that should lead to applicable knowledge.

Seven projects

In addition to SilPit, six other projects receive funding from the Open Technology Programme. In total, NWO is funding these projects with 5.8 million euros, companies involved and other organisations are investing 950 thousand euros in these projects.