UNF first in Florida to conduct large-scale lab testing on sinkholes
Source: UNF first in Florida to conduct large-scale l | EurekAlert! Jacksonville, Fla. – University of North Florida researchers will be the first in Florida to conduct large-scale laboratory testing of sinkhole mechanics. Dr. Ryan Shamet, civil engineering assistant professor, was recently awarded a Florida Department of Transportation project grant for “Validation and Update of the Sinkhole Index,” a project that will aim to better understand the potential of sinkhole formation prior to any collapse at the surface. This joint project between UNF and University of Central Florida includes $90,259 for UNF and new equipment coming to UNF labs. The new equipment consists of a large-scale soil box that will allow UNF researchers to recreate and monitor the geotechnical and hydraulic mechanics of sinkholes forming in north and central Florida. The researchers at UNF and UCF will collect data from active sinkhole sites throughout the state and then refine and update analysis techniques for varying geologic conditions or regions based on their data. This analysis technique will allow engineers to quantify a location’s relative vulnerability of conditions favorable to sinkhole collapse when raveling conditions are encountered using an investigation test called the Cone Penetration Test (CPT). CPTs are a common subsurface investigation tool used by geotechnical engineers to identify soil layers and measure the strength of the soil within a project location. Through quantifying the raveling phenomenon, local engineers can better discern which mitigation techniques, such as compaction grouting or road closure, should be performed to lower the associated risk of sinkhole collapse.