Experimental investigation on biopolymer strengthening of mine tailings

Rui Chen, Dan Ramey, Erick Weiland, Ilsu Lee, Lianyang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The dry surface strength of mine tailings (MT), or mill tailings, is closely related to their dust resistance. To explore biopolymer stabilization of MT to increase their dust resistance, uniaxial and triaxial compression tests are carried out on dry MT specimens treated with biopolymer solutions of different concentrations. The experimental results show that the elastic modulus, unconfined compressive strength (UCS), cohesion, and friction angle of MT all increase after biopolymer treatment, with higher biopolymer concentration leading to a greater increase. This is primarily because biopolymer treatment leads to aggregation of MT particles, creates bonding between biopolymer and MT particles, and forms a cross-linking network binding the detached particles and filling the voids between them, leading to a denser structure. As expected, the elastic modulus also increases with higher confining pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number06016017
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Biopolymer
  • Dust control
  • Mine tailings
  • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging
  • Uniaxial and triaxial compression tests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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