Effects of Electromagnetic Stimulation on Soil Properties
In the past, electromagnetic (EM) waves have been used for detection of anomalies in soil as well as soil characterization. Although this is a good practice, the full potential of EM waves and its effects on soil properties are understudied. EM waves at proper power levels can impact different mechanisms in soil, which changes its properties. This research studies different effects of EM waves on soil properties, specifically, hydraulic conductivity. The hydraulic conductivity of soil is a measure of the ease that water can flow through pore spaces in soil. Hydraulic conductivity depends on the soil’s intrinsic permeability, water dynamic viscosity, and the degree of water saturation. The correlation between EM stimulation and the resulting change in the hydraulic conductivity, if well understood, can greatly benefit geoenvironmental and geotechnical engineering applications. Authors have demonstrated that using EM waves, soil hydraulic conductivity can be altered without changing important characteristics of the medium such as pH or temperature. We are further testing this effect on various soils (e.g., clay) by EM waves at different frequencies and power levels to quantify the effect and understand the underlying mechanisms.
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