Our research group has developed the Soil-Structure and Soil-Machine Interaction Laboratory (SSI-SMI Lab) for advanced physical modeling that will help assess computational models for simulating processes as structures and machines interact with soils. The lab uses a fully instrumented six-axis industrial robot and 3D printing to complete tests with a variety of small-scale models for structures and tools operating on a range of soils, including rapidly reconstituted simulants and samples extracted from field sites. Leveraging advances in 3D printing, we can also test a variety of configurations for the model structures and tools, from traditional forms to more innovative and exploratory designs. The lab’s findings will enhance the performance and safety of geotechnical infrastructure and form the basis for future long-term studies on the optimization and automation of earthmoving machinery and off-road vehicles, enabling new machine designs and techniques.
Watch the short clip above for a snapshot of the lab, or see the full video here: https://youtu.be/Tcn2jjhXH58.