Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2017

Thesis Advisor(s)

Amvrossios C. Bagtzoglou

Honors Major

Civil Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Coastal erosion is a substantial problem in the United States and throughout the world. A novel approach to mitigating this problem is through the application of surface-modifying biopolymers to sand on beaches. Field research conducted by Dr. Amine Dahmani has shown that these organic complexes can coat granular sediments and increase sediment cohesion, thereby decreasing the erodability of the sediment. The goal of this thesis is to quantify the impact of proprietary surface-modifying biopolymer formulations on sand cohesion in order to better engineer this innovative solution for sand retention and potentially contaminated sediment sand cap stabilization. The impact of the biopolymer treatment on sand cohesion was evaluated with the use of the direct shear test (ASTM D3080). Testing was performed on both untreated control sand samples and sand samples treated with various dosages of biopolymer. Several variations of the testing method were evaluated in order to develop an appropriate testing protocol. The results indicate that treating sand with biopolymers can significantly increase sand cohesion. In addition, it was determined that this increased cohesion is directly related to the concentration of biopolymer.