skip to main content

Title: Assessment of Soil Strength using a Robotically Deployed and Retrieved Penetrometer
This paper presents a method for performing free-fall penetrometer tests for soft soils using an instrumented dart deployed by a quadcopter. Tests were performed with three soil types and used to examine the effect of drop height on the penetration depth and the deceleration profile. Further tests analyzed the force required to remove a dart from the soil and the effect of pulling at different speeds and angles. The pull force of a consumer drone was measured, and tests were performed where a drone delivered and removed darts in soil representative of a wetland environment.
; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1646607 1849303 1553063
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
7324 to 7329
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Soil strength testing and collecting soil cores from wetlands is currently a slow, manual process that runs the risk of disturbing and contaminating soil samples. This paper describes a method using an instrumented dart deployed and retrieved by a drone for performing core sample tests in soft soils. The instrumented dart can simultaneously conduct free- fall penetrometer tests. A drone-mounted mechanism enables deploying and reeling in the dart for sample return or for multiple soil strength tests. Tests examine the effect of dart tip diameter and drop height on soil retrieval, and the requisite pull force to retrieve the samples. Further tests examine the dart’s ability to measure soil strength and penetration depth. Hardware trials demonstrate that the drone can repeatedly drop and retrieve a dart, and that the soil can be discretely sampled.
  2. This paper presents the results of soil characterization and element tests of Ottawa F65 sand. The data presented is intended to be used as calibration material for the prediction exercise conducted as part of the Liquefaction Experiments and Analysis Project (LEAP 2017). The databank generated includes soil specific gravity tests, particle size analysis, hydraulic conductivity tests, maximum and minimum void ratio tests, and cyclic triaxial stress-controlled tests. An effort was made to ensure the consistency and repeatability of the test results by reducing the sources of variability in the sample preparations and increasing the number of tests. The uniformity of the soil was evaluated by conducting tests on samples from five different batches. The results showed that the sand is uniform among the five batches. Due to significant variability in previously reported maximum and minimum void ratio results, the effects of the test operator were studied by comparing test results obtained from three different operators. For the triaxial tests, a constant height dry pluviation method was used for sample preparation. To eliminate the effect of the human error in maintaining a constant drop height and to ensure consistency of the sand fabric between different samples, a device was developed tomore »facilitate the sample preparation. The cyclic triaxial experiments were performed using three different soil densities, and a liquefaction strength curve was obtained for each density based on a 2.5% single amplitude axial strain criteria. The developed databank in this study was made publicly available for the community through DesignSafe.« less
  3. Municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills are regarded as one of the major sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the world. In order to control these emissions, an innovative and sustainable biogeochemical cover system that consists of soil, biochar and basic oxygen furnace (BOF) slag is being developed to completely eliminate fugitive methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the landfills. The effectiveness of such cover systems is highly dependent on the survival and activity of methanotrophs under highly alkaline conditions induced by the presence of slag. In this study, a series of microcosm batch tests on landfill cover materials in different proportions were investigated to study the effect of cover materials on microbial CH4 oxidation in the mixed as well isolated systems. Results demonstrated negligible CH4 oxidation and substantial CO2 sequestration when the BOF slag was integrated/mixed with soil (pH~7) and biochar-amended soil (pH~11). However, layered or separated cover material conditions (biochar-amended soil overlain by slag and soil overlain by slag) demonstrated promising CH4 oxidation potential, thus concluding that extreme alkaline conditions inhibit the CH4 oxidation. Overall, this study showed that a layered system consisting of the soil or biochar-amended soil layer overlain by BOF slag layer ismore »optimal for CH4 oxidation and subsequent CO2 sequestration. Large column experiments and field test plots are being performed to evaluate the long-term performance of the proposed geochemical cover system under dynamic environmental (moisture and temperature) conditions.« less
  4. Drywall partition walls are susceptible to damage at low-level drifts, and hence reducing such damage is key to achieving seismic resiliency in buildings. Prior tests on drywall partition walls have shown that slip track connection detailing leads to better performance than other detailing, such as fully-fixed connections. However, in all prior testing, partition wall performance was evaluated using a unidirectional loading protocol (either in-plane or out-of-plane) or in shake table testing. Moreover, all details are susceptible to considerable damage to wall intersections. Two phases of the test have been performed at the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) Lehigh Equipment Facility to develop improved details of drywall partition walls under bidirectional loading. The partition walls were tested alongside a cross-laminated timber (CLT) post-tensioned rocking wall subassembly, wherein the CLT system is under development as a resilient lateral system for tall timber buildings. In the Phase 1, the slip behavior of conventional slip-track detailing was compared to telescoping detailing (track-within-a-track deflection assembly). In the Phase 2, two details for reducing the wall intersection damage were evaluated on traditional slip-track C-shaped walls. First, a corner gap detail was tested. This detail incorporates a gap through the wall intersection to reduce the collisionmore »damage at two intersecting walls. Second, a distributed gap detail was tested. In this approach, the aim was to reduce damage by using more frequent control joints through the length of the wall. All walls were tested under a bidirectional loading protocol with three sub-cycles: in-plane, a bi-directional hexagonal load path, and a bi-directional hexagonal load path with an increase in the out-of-plane drift. This loading protocol allows for studying the bidirectional behavior of walls and evaluating the effect of out-of-plane drift on the partition wall resisting force. In the Phase 1, the telescoping detailing performed better than conventional slip track detailing because it eliminated damage to the framing. In Phase 2, the distributed gap detailing delayed damage to about 1% story drift. For the corner gap detailing, the sacrificial corner bead detached at low drifts, but the wall itself was damage-free until 2.5% drift. Bidirectional loading was found to have an insignificant influence on the in-plane resistance of the walls, and the overall resistance of the walls was trivial compared to the CLT rocking.« less
  5. Impact penetration into soils is one of the most challenging phenomena to model using numerical techniques due to the very rapid large-deformations and water-soil-structure interaction problems involved in the process. In this work, portable free fall penetration testing (FFP) in dry and saturated sands is modeled using the material point method (MPM). MPM is a powerful tool for large-deformation applications in history-dependent materials. A parametric analysis is performed to understand the influence of the soil stiffness and the water excess pore pressures produced during the impact. The effect of the sand stiffness is studied by modifying its Young’s modulus, and the effect of the water is considered by comparing a fully dry model with a fully coupled hydro-mechanical model. The results indicate that the stiffness of the sand strongly controls the appearance of a general bearing capacity failure, which produces deceleration responses with more than one peak, dissimilar to physical tests. In the case of fully saturated sand, the penetration depth is lower than for dry sand with the same properties and the kinematical response of the FFP is consistent with experiments. The results are promising and encourage further development of the simulations.