On electrokinetic material response in marine clays (EMPIRIC)

The aim of the proposal is to investigate the effect of electrokinetics on the hydro-mechanical behaviour of sensitive marine clays using an innovative combination of techniques from material science, geotechnical engineering and electrical engineering. Two extremes will be experimentally and theoretically investigated: (1) Rapid laboratory testing of marine clays by electrokinetically enhanced consolidation in element testing (2) Rapid electrokinetic enhancement of the hydraulical and mechanical soil properties for soil improvement. The first case will potentially offer a tenfold decrease of test duration for laboratory tests on marine clays enabling better material characterisation. The second case enables to develop novel new strategies for in situ improvement of marine clays using electrokinetics without detrimental side effects. The traditional geomechanical test setup for testing super-soft soils, such as marine clays, will be adapted for the application of electromechanical loading with multiple inductors of conductive plastic, and the application of static and modulated electrical excitation. The same set of electrodes will be used for the novel application of resistivity and capacitive sensing measurements of the soil properties. This will allow optimizing the electrokinetic method for rapid soft soil improvement and the rapid testing of soft soils in laboratory tests. The effect of the electrical excitation on the fundamental soil properties will be probed on the micro-scale using Fourier Raman Spectroscopy. Finally, the acquired fundamental insight of the material response will be used as basis for new continuum models, addressing the electrokinetic effects in the formulation, and validation of these models for the tested marine clays.


Jelke Dijkstra (contact)

Docent vid Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, GeoEngineering


European Commission (FP7)

Funding years 2014–2016

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