Standardizing Methods for Disaggregation of Slakable Rock and Fat Clay

Project ID: 21100
Principal Investigator: Richard Bearce
Research Topic: Improving Geotechnical Infrastructure Reliability
Funded Fiscal Years: 2021, 2022 and 2023
Keywords: None

Research Question

Reclamation has numerous facilities where the local geology contains rock that breaks down when exposed to water or the atmosphere (termed slakable material) such as shale or claystone. These types of rock are notoriously difficult to sample and cannot be tested using typical rock-type physical property testing. This research seeks to study the variables associated with ball mill processing on a variety of rock and clay materials obtained from active Reclamation projects. The researchers will study the effects of ball size and milling duration on estimated physical properties, study the effects of ball material (e.g., metal vs. rubber) on sand pulverization, and develop a standardized method to process slakable rock and desiccated clay to be adopted by TSC and Regional geotechnical laboratories.

Need and Benefit

This research meets the identified research needs of the following S&T Roadmaps

1. Pipeline Roadmap – Tunnel Geotechnical - Faster and more accurate investigation methods for collecting geological and geotechnical properties
2. Infrastructure Roadmap – Foundation – Improved tools to better characterize foundation materials and properties.
3. Geotechnical Roadmap - Improved Laboratory Testing (this Roadmap is currently under development and in draft form)

Contributing Partners

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Research Products

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Last Updated: 6/22/20