Soil Density from Ripping Force Measurement During Site Preparation


This paper describes a method to deduce in situ soil density from ripping and raking force measurements. A clear understanding of the properties of the substrate - including density - is required for effective preparation of any site, whether on Earth, the Moon, or Mars. When the substrate is soil or regolith, the density often must be modified through compaction to meet stability requirements. Scaled experiments conducted with JSC-1A lunar regolith simulant form the basis for a potentially useful relation between soil or regolith density and ripping force, ripper tine spacing, and number of tines. The high data acquisition rates of modern instrumentation thus permit high-resolution density mapping of any site being subjected to ripping or raking. This would be valuable for scientific study. It also would provide calibration in situ for some aspects of remote sensing.

Meeting Name

12th International Conference on Engineering, Science, Construction, and Operations in Challenging Environments - Earth and Space (2010: Mar. 14-17, Honolulu, Hawaii)


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Measurement; Soil Properties; Substrates; Acquisition Rates; Density Mapping; High Resolution; In-Situ; Lunar Regolith; Modern Instrumentation; Scientific Studies; Site Preparation; Soil Density; Stability Requirements; Earth (Planet); Force Measurement; Lunar Surface Analysis; Remote Sensing

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2010 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Mar 2010