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Category: Publications: Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory (GSL)
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  • Expeditionary Ground Rehabilitation for Military-Vehicle Traffic

    Abstract: The research objective for this study is to identify and evaluate techniques for soil stabilization to support military-vehicle ground maneuver in contested environments. Various types of stabilizers mixed with silty sand are evaluated in the laboratory for their compressive strength at various soil moisture contents and in the field for their rutting performance. Field data are analyzed for the ability to withstand trafficking from a military ground vehicle by evaluating the rut depth and measured instrumentation data. The field testing shows that the rapid soil stabilization materials and techniques can produce repairs that withstand required traffic without traditional pavement surface materials.
  • Laboratory Evaluation of Recycled Asphalt Pavement and Engineered Polymer Binder for Small Airfield Repairs

    Abstract: Conducting small asphalt repairs on airfields in remote locations can be technically and logistically challenging. An alternative to cold patch products is using an engineered polymer binder (EPB) mixed with recycled asphalt pavement (RAP). This paper presents the results of a laboratory evaluation of EPB with both wet and dry RAP. Compacted specimens were tested for rut resistance, indirect tensile strength (ITS), and Cantabro mass loss (ML). The results indicate that RAP mixed with EPB exhibited substantial rut resistance with ITS and ML similar to that of conventional dense-graded asphalt. Overall, the EPB and RAP blend appears to be a promising alternative for airfield repairs.
  • Performance of Army Corps of Engineers Mat System Using Anchorless Connections: A Follow-on Study of Site Stabilization for the Improved Ribbon Bridge Bridge Supplemental Set

    Abstract: The US Army Engineer Research and Development Center conducted testing of the Army Corps of Engineers mat system with improved anchorage and connection hardware. Low-profile screw anchors replaced the ground anchorage of the existing system to reduce wear to tracks and wheels of vehicles while trafficking the system. Anchorless connections allowed the system to be placed over soils where the use of screw anchorage would be obstructed or would cause hazards to trafficking vehicles. Test tracks were constructed to evaluate the matting system with new anchorage and connection hardware over three different soils of weak sand and clay. Channelized traffic was applied to the test tracks using a loaded common bridge transporter. Performance of the updated system was evaluated with respect to results from previous testing, indicating that the improved anchorage and connection hardware increased the versatility of the matting system without sacrificing system performance.
  • Finite Element, Petrographic, and Mechanical Analyses of Field-Cored Concrete Fairlead Beam Anchor Rods from Luke Air Force Base

    Abstract: The fairlead beam is used to accomplish installation of the Barrier Arresting Kit 12 energy absorber for setback aircraft arresting system (AAS) installations at permanent operating facilities. Typical fairlead beams are affixed to a Portland cement concrete (PCC) foundation pad by a series of anchor assemblies made up of steel anchor rods set in grout inside galvanized pipe sleeves. US Air Force Civil Engineering Center (AFCEC) subject matter experts have identified a pattern of premature failures in these steel anchor assemblies when they are nondestructively inspected during AAS overhauls. The US Army Engineer Research and Development Center was tasked by AFCEC to investigate potential reasons for these premature failures. This report outlines methods and results of a finite element analysis of the anchorage, a visual and petrographic analysis of field-cored PCC anchor rods from Luke Air Force Base, and a mechanical analysis of specimens taken from the anchor rods within the PCC cores. Multiple modes of PCC distress were observed, and corrosion was evident in and around the anchor assemblies. Mechanical testing of specimens from the anchor rods indicated that an inferior grade of steel was used to fabricate these particular assemblies. Finally, observed deviations from design intention are discussed.
  • Railroad Infrastructure Management: A Novel Tool for Automatic Interpretation of GPR Imaging to Minimize Human Intervention in Railroad Inspection

    Abstract: Regular monitoring and inspection of military railroad tracks are necessary to ensure the safe transportation of military freight. Manual railroad inspection has drawbacks and limitations that can impact accuracy and efficiency. This study introduces a novel tool designed to automate Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) imaging interpretation for railroad ballast condition assessment, aiming to reduce human intervention in inspections. The tool uses advanced signal processing techniques, such as the Short-Time Fourier Transform (STFT) and Wavelet Transform (WT), to quantify ballast fouling levels accurately, enhancing maintenance and safety protocols for railroad tracks. Validation through comprehensive testing, including two case studies, demonstrates the tool’s superior efficacy over traditional manual inspection methods. This research represents a pivotal step towards more efficient and reliable infrastructure management, ensuring critical railroad systems’ safety and operational integrity.
  • A Dynamic Aircraft Response Model for Determining Roughness Limits

    Abstract: Runway roughness poses significant risks to aircraft and aircraft personnel. Roughness irregularities can be found in both civilian and military airfields, from rutting to bomb-damaged repairs. Various methods exist for determining roughness criteria, such as discrete surface deviation evaluation and dynamic response models. Although validated dynamic response models such as TAXI-G were used extensively in the HAVE BOUNCE program from the 1970s up to the late 1990s, modern military aircraft have not undergone the same formal analysis. This paper presents the mathematical formulation and validation of the WESTAX dynamic response model. The computer program is capable of simulating the responses of different critical aircraft components while trafficking over idealized runway profiles. The validation results showed that the numerical model was capable of closely matching field data over single- and double bump events. The findings suggest that the WESTAX dynamic response model is a capable candidate for establishing aircraft roughness limits.
  • Application of Multi-fidelity Methods to Rotorcraft Performance Assessment

    Abstract: We present a Python-based multi-fidelity tool to estimate rotorcraft performance metrics. We use Gaussian-Process regression (GPR) methods to adaptively build a surrogate model using a small number of high-fidelity CFD points to improve estimates of performance metrics from a medium-fidelity comprehensive analysis model. To include GPR methods in our framework, we used the EmuKit Python package. Our framework adaptively chooses new high-fidelity points to run in regions where the model variance is high. These high-fidelity points are used to update the GPR model; convergence is reached when model variance is below a pre-determined level. To efficiently use our framework on large computer clusters, we implemented this in Galaxy Simulation Builder, an analysis tool that is designed to work on large parallel computing environments. The program is modular, and is designed to be agnostic to the number and names of dependent variables and to the number and identifying labels of the fidelity levels. We demonstrate our multi-fidelity modeling framework on a rotorcraft collective sweep (hover) simulation and compare the accuracy and time savings of the GPR model to that of a simulation run with CFD only.
  • Application of Limited-Field-Data Methods in Reservoir Volume Estimation: A Case Study

    Abstract: The conventional approach to estimating lake or reservoir water volumes hinges on field data collection; however, volume estimation methods are available that use little or no field data. Two such methods—the simplified V-A-h (volume-area-height) and the power function—were applied to a set of six anthropogenic reservoirs on the Fort Jackson, South Carolina, installation and checked against a validation data set. Additionally, seven interpolation methods were compared for differences in total volume estimation based on sonar data collected at each reservoir. The simplified V-A-h method overestimated reservoir volume more than each technique in the power function method, and the categorical technique underestimated the most reservoir volumes of all three techniques. Each method demonstrates high Vₑᵣᵣ variability among reservoirs, and Vₑᵣᵣ for the Power Function techniques applied here is consistent with that found in previous research in that it is near or less than 30%. Compared with Vₑᵣᵣ in other studies evaluating the simplified V-A-h method, Vₑᵣᵣ in this study was found to be 10%–20% higher.
  • Computationally Efficient Modeling of Lightweight Expeditionary Airfield Surfacing Systems at Large Length Scales

    Abstract: Expeditionary airfield matting systems are lightweight, portable surfaces that enable the rapid deployment of infrastructure to support aircraft operations. Individual matting components are assembled via interlocking joints to construct arrays that serve as temporary aircraft operating surfaces. The paper outlines the homogenization of the AM2 portable airfield matting system and its interlocking mechanisms to permit computationally efficient analyses toward understanding mechanisms that influence the global behavior of these arrays and underlying subgrade during aircraft maneuvers. An equivalent orthotropic two-dimensional continuum was developed from finite element analysis of a detailed three-dimensional model and its flexural behavior was validated against experimental data and solid finite element models. Interlocking joints were characterized using node-to-node connector elements based on subscale finite element studies. Both components were implemented into a full-scale model representative of a typical test section, and responses to static high tire pressure aircraft loads were analyzed over a soil foundation representing a California bearing ratio of 6%, yielding promising agreement with experimental data. Results of this study reveal an inherent coupling between load transfer, mat deflection, and near-surface subgrade stress with dependence on tire location, mat core shear flexibility, and joint stiffness.
  • 2D Fluorinated Graphene Oxide (FGO)-Polyethyleneimine (PEI) Based 3D Porous Nanoplatform for Effective Removal of Forever Toxic Chemicals, Pharmaceutical Toxins, and Waterborne Pathogens from Environmental Water Samples

    Abstract: Although water is essential for life, as per the United Nations, around 2 billion people in this world lack access to safely managed drinking water services at home. Herein we report the development of a two-dimensional (2D) fluorinated graphene oxide (FGO) and polyethylenimine (PEI) based three-dimensional (3D) porous nanoplatform for the effective removal of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), pharmaceutical toxins, and waterborne pathogens from contaminated water. Experimental data show that the FGO-PEI based nanoplatform has an estimated adsorption capacity (qm) of ∼219 mg g−1 for perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and can be used for 99% removal of several short- and long-chain PFAS. A comparative PFNA capturing study using different types of nanoplatforms indicates that the qm value is in the order FGO-PEI > FGO > GO-PEI, which indicates that fluorophilic, electrostatic, and hydrophobic interactions play important roles for the removal of PFAS. Reported data show that the FGO-PEI based nanoplatform has a capability for 100% removal of moxifloxacin antibiotics with an estimated qm of ∼299 mg g−1. Furthermore, because the pore size of the nanoplatform is much smaller than the size of pathogens, it has a capability for 100% removal of Salmonella and Escherichia coli from water. Moreover, reported data show around 96% removal of PFAS, pharmaceutical toxins, and pathogens simultaneously from spiked river, lake, and tap water samples using the nanoplatform.