Recent advances in nature-inspired solutions for ground engineering (NiSE)

Arya Assadi-Langroudi, Brendan C. O'Kelly, Daniel Barreto, Federica Cotecchia, Henry Dicks, Abdullah Ekinci, Fernando E. Garcia, Michael Harbottle, Vito Tagarelli, Ian Jefferson, Pooneh Maghoul, Enrico Masoero, Gráinne El Mountassir, Balasingam Muhunthan, Xueyu Geng, Soheil Ghadr, Mehdi Mirzababaei, Helen Mitrani, Leon van Paassen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ground is a natural grand system; it is composed of myriad constituents that aggregate to form several geologic and biogenic systems. These systems operate independently and interplay harmoniously via important networked structures over multiple spatial and temporal scales. This paper presents arguments and derivations couched by the authors, to first give a better understanding of these intertwined networked structures, and then to give an insight of why and how these can be imitated to develop a new generation of nature-symbiotic ground engineering techniques. The paper draws on numerous recent advances made by the authors, and others, in imitating forms (e.g. synthetic fibres that imitate plant roots), materials (e.g. living composite materials, or living soil that imitate fungi and microbes), generative processes (e.g. managed decomposition of construction rubble to mimic weathering of aragonites to calcites), and functions (e.g. recreating the self-healing, selfproducing, and self-forming capacity of natural systems). Advances are reported in three categories of Materials, Models and Methods (3Ms). A novel value-based appraisal tool is also presented, providing a means to vet the effectiveness of 3Ms as standalone units or in combinations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Number of pages36
JournalInternational Journal of Geosynthetics and Ground Engineering
Issue number3
Early online date31 Dec 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Dec 2021


  • biomicry
  • soil improvement
  • self-heal
  • natural

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