Zhuang, Y.F., Zou,
W., Wang, Z., Tan, X., Hu, P., Hu, S., Yan, Y., Wang, Y., 2012. Electrically
conductive PVD. Chinese Patent. Grant Number: ZL201210197981.4.
The first field trial using E-board in China:
Zhuang, Y.F., Huang,
Y., Liu, F., Zou, W., Li, Z., 2014. Case study on hydraulic reclaimed sludge
consolidation using electrokinetic geosynthetics. In: 10th International Conference
on Geosynthetics. DGGT, Berlin, Germany.
After the field trial, it was found that power requirement, instead of energy consumption, is the biggest challenge for field application using electro-osmosis. And I believe this is the case for most applications using electrokinetic technique in Geo.
Zhuang, Y.F., 2015.
Challenges of electro-osmotic consolidation in large scale application. In:
Conference of Geosynthetics 2015. IFAI, Portland, Oregon, USA, pp. 447–449.
Therefore, I have been focusing on Smart DC Power Source and looking for a way to reduce both power requirement and energy consumption. Roll Polling Program seems to be a solution. It reduces the requirement of current intensity to 1/3; it also decreases the energy consumption to less than 1 kW⋅h/m3. Following contents are direct quote from the publication:
Zhuang, Y.F., 2021. Large scale soft ground consolidation using electrokinetic geosynthetics. Geotext. Geomembranes 49 (2021) 757–770.
This is a paper from Nature. There are a lot of researches as well as applications at micro scale level. In my early stage of research, I did most on macro scale about its application in civil engineering. Recently, I am interested in developing something that bridges mechanisms of micro and macro level. Let’s see how far we can move forward.
Some papers on EK in early 1950s are available thanks to growing of book and issue digitization, the famous Project Ocean. Those papers are very interesting. Quite a lot of phenomena discovered in that early stage of research are still attractive up to now. However, it seemed that research on EK had been suspended for a while. It may be because both mechanism and engineering application of EK are very complicated.
In the past decade, there were quite a lot of breakthroughs on EK technique. One among those was EKG materials, a new category of geosynthetics which provides corrosion proof electrode; another one was smart DC power supply. Smart DC power supply is truly important and to some extent, it makes large scale application of EK possible. This is a key technique that tackles the challenge of power demand and energy consumption; and it is still evolving. This is a fruitful area to explore.
In 1950s publications, we can see some discussions on compressibility and consolidation effect after EK treatment. This is another interesting area that inspires completely new constitutive model, which may help understanding of not only consolidation issue but also mechanism of unsaturated soil.
Breakthroughs in this overlapping research area are very encouraging. Researchers on polymer, power supply, sensor, mathematics, mining are welcome to communicate and collaborate.
The following sample pages from the book “Ground Improvment Techniques” contain chapter of electro-osmosis. This book is provided by Prof. Arun Prasad. He contacted me a year ago about including part of my research work in this book. I am looking forward to further research work on electro-osmosis from Prof. Arun Prasad’s team in IIT (BHU).
Today’s news that Chang’e 5 landed on the moon and planning to
bring a sample of lunar soil back, called to my memory of my time in Tsinghua.
As I remember this Chang’e mission started about 15 years ago, almost the same time that I started in Tsinghua. If you are not a soil mechanics expert, you may not be able to imagine how this mission could be linked to soil mechanics. Actually, at the very beginning of the Chang’e mission, we were involved. The first task was to estimate the response of soil to the reentry capsule when it landed as planned somewhere in Inner Mongolia. (The planned landing spot for Chang’e 5 this time is still in Inner Mongolia.) The second task was to build a test area in Beijing, modelling the soil in Inner Mongolia, so that some experiment could be carried out in Beijing instead of Inner Mongolia. During those time, discussion on lunar soil sampling project already began, it is about 15 years ago. Now, finally, we see this mission carried out.
To model soil that does not exist on the earth is difficult. Our focus is on the mechanical behaviours of soil so that to provide basis for design of sampling machine and lunar vehicle. Some of issues that need to be considered include low gravity (1/6 of earth), vacuum condition and dry condition. The issue of gravity is especially concerned, because it effects confining pressure so that effects the strength. And this issue effects design of some experiments . For example, when design a triaxial test, distribution of confining stress due to the size of soil sample is always neglected, but when the confining stress is very low, this kind of difference due to soil sample size may not be negligible.
It is the first time that I put on a post to say “Hey! Join
us, if you are interested in.”
We are doing amazing research here with incredible enthusiasm
and broad interests.
There are tons of reasons that people choose to do research; it could be a hobby, or to make a living, or any reason you name it, but my favourite reason is always that you love it. If you love your job, then you will do it with passion and happiness. 996 is never a problem only if you love it. (Well, it doesn’t mean 996 in our team…I never advocate that. See the photo, people played badminton; and we should do it more later on.)
My interests include (but not limited to)
1. Impact of electricity on clay minerals
By applying electric voltage on clay minerals, we look at
the variation of its mineral structure and engineering behaviours. This could
be a scientific research on clay mineral level (chemical & micro level); it
could also be linked to potential engineering application in the area of geotechnical
and geoenvironmental engineering.
2. Soil remediation and ground water treatment
This is a research area on removal of pollutants from
contaminated soil or protection of ground water. This research topic can be
linked to EK technique as well. And another possibility is to use Fe-rich clay
minerals as redox materials for ground water treatment.
3. Dewatering and consolidation
This topic is about removal of water from very fine-grained
soil, like sludge, slurry, clay, etc. These kinds of materials have very low
hydraulic conductivity, but electro-osmosis can be an effective method for dewatering
and consolidation of them. We are looking at the challenges of this EO technique
in large scale of application.
We are interested in application of geosynthetics.
1) Reinforcement, which is a very popular application for
decades and lots of people from academy and industry are doing it.
2) Filtration and drainage. This topic is related to
dewatering and consolidation. One of the special issues that we are especially
interested in is the clogging problem of geotextiles. There are lot of things
to do, include mechanism of clogging, update of manufacturing and design code,
invention of novel types of geotextiles.
3) One more thing about geosynthetics, which is special for
our research is EKG. This novel material presents a new category of
geosynthetic and I’ve been staying in this topic for over decade.
5. Unsaturated soil, constitutive model and numerical
We are carrying out this research partially also because of
EK technique. When applying EK technique, it is related to unsaturated soil and
suction. Therefore, we’ve been developing completely new constitutive model and
trying to apply it in suction measurement, EK design and also trying to develop
code for numerical modelling and software for EK design.
6. Mining, tailing, liquefaction, etc.
More researches that are related to my basic interests previously
mentioned are being explored, we will see more ideas and fantastic work coming