Research Assignment - 2009
Title of research assignment
Generation and monitoring of gas bubbles in sand specimen to prevent ground
failure during earthquakes
Principal Investigator Mishac K. Yegian
Title Distinguished Professor
College/Department Civil and Environmental Engineering
Office address 401 Snell Engineering Office phone 617.373.2448
Lab address 050 Snell Engineering Lab phone 617.373.4482
Earthquakes can devastate communities killing people by destroying houses, schools, office
buildings, hospitals, bridges, and other essential structures. One of the major causes of failure
of a structure is liquefaction of soils leading to failure of the ground and building
foundations. During an earthquake, water pressure in a loose sand deposit may suddenly
increase causing loss of soil shearing resistance and the ability of foundations of a building to
carry loads. The objective of this research is to prevent the occurrence of liquefaction by
introducing air or gas bubbles in saturated sands, with the expectation that the presence of
such bubbles will prevent the build up of water pressure and hence liquefaction failure. This
research aims at demonstrating the technical feasibility of using entrapped air in sands as a
means of mitigating the potential damages from liquefaction during an earthquake.
A large size liquefaction box was designed and manufactured for testing sands under
earthquake motions. The shaking table facility at Northeastern University will be utilized to
subject various sand specimen prepared in the liquefaction box to earthquake shaking. The
presence of gas bubbles will be detected using a special probe. The effect of shaking on the
water pressures will be investigated using pore pressure transducers. In addition, a high
resolution camera will be used to quantify the volume of gas present in a sand specimen.
An important part of the research is to explore ways to introduce gas bubbles into a sand
specimen. Various techniques for introducing oxygen bubbles in a large sand specimen will
be evaluated. The migration of such bubbles will be observed and recorded.
The Northeastern University Young Scholars Program
c/o The Center for STEM Education · 360 Huntington Avenue, 940 Renaissance Park · Boston, MA 02115
tel: 617.373.2036 · fax: 617.373.7084 · http://www.youngscholars.neu.edu
YSP 2009 Research Assignment Page 2
The students will participate in the experimental research being conducted in the Earthquake
Engineering Laboratory. The research activites the students will engage include:
• Calibration and testing of new sensors and measuring instruments.
• Preparation of air/gas entrapped sand specimens in an instrumented liquefaction box
for testing on the shaking table.
• Preparation of sand specimens in a large tank and introduction of gas bubbles, and
observation of migration of bubbles within the specimen.
Expectations of YSP
Students are expected to show interest in learning and contributing to the progress of the
Special skills or interests that would help a YSP participant with this assignment (i.e., an interest in physics, experience with
specific laboratory equipment, etc.)
Interest in earthquakes, physics, chemistry, dynamics and experimental research.
Lab safety/issues unique to this laboratory. A general Lab Safety Overview will be presented by Environment Health and
Safety to both RET and YSP participants prior to the beginning of lab assignments.
Suggested literature to be reviewed prior to beginning this research assignment.
The articles on the website given above can be dowloaded and reviewed.
Research/Lab Summer Hours 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday
Monday through Friday
Scheduled Research/Lab Meetings : a.m. – : a.m. Daily Wednesday To be
Monday Thursday determined
Lab/research project URL
YSP 2009 Research Assignment Page 3
Research/Lab Supervisor Prof. Mishac K. Yegian
Email email@example.com Phone 781-910-6680
Research/Lab Assistant Seda Gokyer
Email firstname.lastname@example.org Phone 617-373-8260