Dr Grainne El Mountassir


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Personal statement

Dr El Mountassir is a Senior Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering and Director for Research in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Her research focuses on developing novel technologies using biological and biochemical processes that can alter the hydraulic and mechanical behaviour of soils and rocks. Over the last ten year the team at Strathclyde have been developing microbially induced calcite precipitation as a technique for rock grouting, soil stabiliation, well sealing and concrete repair. More recently she has been leading investigations into the potential use of fungi and their hyphal networks in ground improvement applications.


Microbially induced calcite precipitation for sealing anhydrite fractures with gouges
Sang Guijie, Lunn Rebecca, Minto James M, El Mountassir Grainne
56th US Rock mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium (2022)
Biomineral sealing of cracks in degraded concrete structures
Lunn Rebecca J, Turner Ronald J, Minto James M, Salifu E, El Mountassir Grainne
Waste Management Conference 2022, pp. 1-5 (2022)
Reducing hazard in spent fuel removal using colloidal silica gel
Pagano Arianna G, El Mountassir Gráinne, Lunn Rebecca J
Waste Management Conference 2022 (2022)
Performance of colloidal silica grout at elevated temperatures and pressures for cement fracture sealing at depth
Pagano Arianna Gea, El Mountassir Gráinne, Lunn Rebecca Jane
Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering Vol 208 (2022)
Recent advances in nature-inspired solutions for ground engineering (NiSE)
Assadi-Langroudi Arya, O'Kelly Brendan C, Barreto Daniel, Cotecchia Federica, Dicks Henry, Ekinci Abdullah, Garcia Fernando E, Harbottle Michael, Tagarelli Vito, Jefferson Ian, Maghoul Pooneh, Masoero Enrico, El Mountassir Gráinne, Muhunthan Balasingam, Geng Xueyu, Ghadr Soheil, Mirzababaei Mehdi, Mitrani Helen, van Paassen Leon
International Journal of Geosynthetics and Ground Engineering Vol 8 (2021)
Micro-scale processes in microbially induced carbonate precipitation
Minto James M, Lunn Rebecca J, El Mountassir Grainne, Anderson Mary M
Proceedings of the Resilient Materials 4 Life 2020 (RM4L2020) International Conference , pp. 220-224 (2021)

More publications


I teach CL217 Soil mechanics and the Graduate Apprenticship module EO206 (Soils & Water 2), both to second year students.

Research interests

My research is largely experimental and focuses on understanding the hydraulic and mechanical behaviour of soils and rocks. I am particularly interested in the potential use of biological processes in geotechnical engineering. I am currently developing novel grouting technologies including microbially induced calcite precipitation as a technique for sealing fine aperture fractures and silica sol as a low viscosity grout. I am also investigating the possible deployment of fungi within ground engineering applications.

Professional activities

Applied Clay Science (Journal)
Peer reviewer
Invited speaker Cheltenham Science Festival 2022
Calcite Biomineralisation for the Repair of Damaged Concrete
Internal Examiner PhD Viva
Invited talk at Dundee Root Medal Workshop 2021
Invited talk at Nature-Inspire solutions for the Built Environment

More professional activities


DTP 2224 University of Strathclyde | Hughes-Buchanan, Adam
El Mountassir, Grainne (Principal Investigator) Ward, Andrew (Co-investigator) Hughes-Buchanan, Adam (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 01-Jan-2026
UKRI FLF - Soil-mycelia systems for slope stabilisation
El Mountassir, Grainne (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 30-Jan-2025
Doctoral Training Partnership 2020-2021 University of Strathclyde | Brittain, Rory
Dobson, Kate (Principal Investigator) El Mountassir, Grainne (Co-investigator) Phirani, Jyoti (Co-investigator) Pytharouli, Stella (Co-investigator) Brittain, Rory (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 01-Jan-2024
Doctoral Training Partnership 2020-2021 University of Strathclyde | Eriksen, Jason
El Mountassir, Grainne (Principal Investigator) Lunn, Rebecca (Co-investigator) Eriksen, Jason (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 01-Jan-2024
Mobile X-ray/MRI/PET cells to image 4D fluid flow in porous media
Minto, James (Principal Investigator) Pagano, Arianna Gea (Co-investigator) El Mountassir, Grainne (Co-investigator)
This is a modular and configurable system that enables injection of liquids through porous media (such as sand packs, glass bead packs, and cylindrical rock cores), is compatible with X-ray, MRI and PET imaging, and is suitable for reactive flow experiments e.g. mineral precipitation, dissolution, and biofilm growth.

The main components of this equipment are:
1) Two dual piston isocratic injection pumps (Watrex DeltaChrom P102). Flows from 0.01 to 10 mL/min, 10 MPa max pressure, PEEK flow path for chemical compatability, no limit of injection volume, with pulse dampener.
2) Dual channel syringe pump (Chemyx Fusion 4000) offering pulseless and programmable injection/extraction at extremely low flow rates, volume limited by syringe volume, pressure limited by syringe type.
3) PEEK HPLC columns of various lengths and diameters (30mm length, 4.6mm internal diameter, 100 x 4.6, 250 x 4.6, 50 x 7.5). 10 MPa max pressure. Can be packed with loose sand or glass beads and imaged with X-ray/MRI/PET, but more suitable for X-rays due to their small size.
4) In-house designed and built 1" (25.4 mm) rock core holder. Max pressure 4 MPa at 25 °C. Can be imaged with X-ray/MRI/PET.
5) Digital pressure transducers continuously recording inlet pressure, outlet pressure, and confining fluid pressure (for rock core holders) allowing measurement of permeability.
6) Range of fittings, tubing, backpressure regulators, and sample injection options.
7) Computer for recording data and controlling pumps.
8) Mobile system intended to be moved to different imaging facilities.
Biotechnology for Treatment and Repair of Concrete Nuclear Infrastructure
Turner, Ronnie (Researcher) Lunn, Rebecca (Principal Investigator) El Mountassir, Grainne (Principal Investigator)
Postdoctoral research project as part of the 'Transformative Science and Engineering for Nuclear Decommissioning' (TRANSCEND) research consortium. This project aims to develop new biotechnological methods for the treatment of damaged cement and concrete structures in the UK civil nuclear industry.
03-Jan-2018 - 03-Jan-2021

More projects


Civil and Environmental Engineering
James Weir

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