Dr James Minto

Strathclyde Chancellor's Fellow

Civil and Environmental Engineering


Personal statement

I am a Chancellor's Fellow in the Civil & Environmental Engineering department where I work on developing low viscosity alternative grouting materials for subsurface engineering works and investigate fundamental flow processes in fractured and porous media.

One such grout we are developing utilises naturally occurring soil bacteria Sporosarcina pasteurii to produce calcium carbonate via a biochemical reaction. The process is termed microbially induced carbonate precipitation (MICP) and is an exciting and multidisciplinary field combining microbiology, geology, hydraulics and subsurface engineering with the potential, for certain applications, to replace the use of cement and chemical grouts with a less expensive, less toxic and low CO2 “bio-grout”.

Our aim is to develop the MICP process for rock fracture sealing and ground improvement then demonstrate the feasibility of the process at the large scale. Our work combines micro-scale experiments characterised by 4D X-ray CT with large scale laboratory experiments and multi-scale numerical modelling.

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Meter-scale MICP improvement of medium graded very gravelly sands : lab measurement, transport modelling, mechanical and microstructural analysis
Sang Guijie, Lunn Rebecca J, El Mountassir Grainne, Minto James M
Engineering Geology Vol 324 (2023)
Transport and fate of ureolytic Sporosarcina pasteurii in saturated sand columns: experiments and modelling
Sang Guijie, Lunn Rebecca J, El Mountassir Grainne, Minto James M
Transport in Porous Media Vol 149, pp. 599-624 (2023)
Treatment of fractured concrete via microbially induced carbonate precipitation : from micro-scale characteristics to macro-scale behaviour
Turner Ronald, Castro Gloria M, Minto James, El Mountassir Grainne, Lunn Rebecca J
Construction and Building Materials Vol 384 (2023)
Contaminated or just dusty? Understanding the nature of contaminants found in biomass grown on historic mine sites to inform pre-treatment options
Nunn Benjamin, Lord Richard, Minto James, Davidson Christine, Manzoor Neelam
EGU General Assembly 2023 (2023)
Contaminated or just dusty? Understanding the nature of contaminants found in biomass grown on historic mine sites to inform pre-treatment options
Lord Richard, Nunn Benjamin, Davidson Christine, Minto James, Manzoor Neelam
31st European Biomass Conference & Exhibition (2023)
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)

More publications

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Professional Activities

GeoNetZero XCT Training course
Invited speaker
3D & 4D imaging - key skills for the Earth, Environmental & Planetary Sciences
Invited speaker
BTG Workshop - Net-Zero
XCT Imaging and Analysis Training Course
Invited speaker
Calcite Biomineralisation for the Repair of Damaged Concrete
Microbially Induced Carbonate Precipitation: from pore-scale observations to engineering applications

More professional activities


EPSRC Core Equipment: Thermal characterisation for engineering and geological materials
Minto, James (Principal Investigator) Burnside, Neil (Principal Investigator) Dobson, Kate (Principal Investigator)
EPSRC Core Equipment grant for a thermal conductivity meter and gas pycnometer to allow thermal characterisation of engineering and geological materials.
£63,919 (inc. VAT)
01-Jan-2023 - 31-Jan-2023
Development of novel grouting technology for subsurface engineering & the net-zero carbon revolution
Minto, James (Principal Investigator) Pedrotti, Matteo (Co-investigator) Roden, Jack (Post Grad Student)
SRSS PhD studenstship - This lab-based project focuses on developing micron- and nano-scale technology to create novel grouts for enhancing the hydro-mechanical properties of the subsurface.
01-Jan-2021 - 01-Jan-2025
Pulsed fluid pumping for remediation of leakage from geological storage
Minto, James (Principal Investigator) Roberts, Jen (Co-investigator) Edlmann, Katriona (Co-investigator) Shipton, Zoe (Co-investigator) Eriksson, Sandra (Post Grad Student)
01-Jan-2020 - 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.

More projects

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Dr James Minto
Strathclyde Chancellor's Fellow
Civil and Environmental Engineering

Email: james.minto@strath.ac.uk
Tel: Unlisted