American Society of Civil Engineers

Soil Density from Ripping Force Measurement during Site Preparation

by Masafumi Iai, (Department of Geological Science and Engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology, 129 McNutt Hall, 1400 N. Bishop, Rolla, MO 65401 E-mail: and Leslie Gertsch, (Department of Geological Science and Engineering, and Rock Mechanics and Explosives Research Center, 1006 Kingshighway, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO 65401 E-mail:
Section: Symposium 1: 4th NASA/ARO/ASCE Workshop on Granular Materials in Lunar and Martian Exploration, pp. 231-238, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Earth and Space 2010: Engineering, Science, Construction, and Operations in Challenging Environments
Abstract: 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.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Soil properties