I-Corps: Soil Fines Content Measuring Device

Project: Research project

Project Details


The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is the development of a device to accurately measure fines content in the field. The proposed technology is aimed at the geotechnical engineering industry to reduce the time and cost of traditional laboratory testing methods. The amount of fines in soils often controls the microscopic behavior as well as the macro response of geologic formations. A wide spectrum of applications in geotechnical engineering can be appreciably affected by the presence of fine material in soils, e.g., foundation design, seepage analyses for earth structures, evaluation of well permittivity, material suitability for borrow sites, and liquefaction potential of foundations. Therefore, field identification of soil types and their basic characteristics is of great importance in geotechnical engineering. The proposed device is a portable, low-cost solution to provide real-time data, allowing faster and more efficient decision-making during site investigations. Data analysis and interpretation of the soil particle size distribution is included do, which will be helpful to engineering firms, material testing businesses, regulatory organizations, and environmental monitoring organizations. The proposed technology may help site investigation and environmental monitoring efficiency, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness. This will ultimately result in higher quality and safety for infrastructure projects and environmental management.This I-Corps project is based on the development of a technology to assess the principle of estimating fines in soil content by measuring relative volumes of coarse-grained to fine-grained soil fractions. Currently, for evaluation of soil characteristics, extensive laboratory testing comprised primarily of grain size analysis is needed. A dedicated device was developed and tested comparing the proposed volume-based principle to measure fines to the standard sample washing methods to verify the measurements. The study indicated the device provided high accuracy of ± 5 and showed that the device is comparable for measuring fines content in soils. In addition, compared with the results of the standard wash tests that take a few hours to perform, the proposed device was found to be time efficient, taking 5 to 15 minutes to complete. The proposed device's volume-based principle may reduce the need for extensive laboratory testing, reducing reliance on traditional testing methods and providing rapid results in the field.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Effective start/end date6/1/2311/30/24


  • National Science Foundation: $50,000.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.