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News Archive 2001 - 2010

Advanced Device to Evaluate Soil Stresses/Strain Responses

August 22, 2002

Civil engineering researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington's College of Engineering have received a grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct a four-year investigation of unsaturated soils under simultaneous strain-, temperature- and suction-controlled conditions. Results from the study will aid engineers in improving the design, safety and lifetime of civil infrastructure resting on these types of soils.

One aspect of the project involves the development of a true triaxial testing apparatus to test soil samples. The apparatus will have the ability to accurately duplicate soil conditions found in nature. "We'll be able to induce a wide range of stress states that are not achievable in conventional triaxial devices," said Laureano Hoyos, an assistant professor of civil engineering and co-principal investigator in the project. "This includes even simulations of dynamic loads caused by machinery and earthquakes." The device will be the first of its kind to be used in any academic setup in the nation and will constitute a major advance in instrumentation for research and integrated research/education activities in geomechanical studies at UTA. Anand Puppala, an associate professor of civil engineering, is the co-principal investigator with Hoyos.

The study, titled Development of a Strain/temperature/suction-controlled, True Triaxial Testing Device for Modeling Unsaturated Soil Behavior Under Multi-axial States, will involve assistance from organizations outside of UTA. For the testing device, The University of Colorado at Boulder will manufacture the core of the device; GCTS, an instrument developer in Tempe, Arizona, will supply operating software and electronics; and UTA will supply the hardware and suction-controlled accessories. Development of the equipment is aimed at promoting partnerships between academic and private researchers interested in the advancement of unsaturated soil mechanics. The total value of the project is $316,578.

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