Bio-inspired Efficiency Enhancements for Micro-tunneling

Bio-inspired Efficiency Enhancements for Micro-tunneling


David Frost, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA United States
Karie Yamamoto, Georgia Institute of Technology

Abstract: It is estimated that ants use less than 0.1% of the energy of the most efficient human tunneling systems per unit volume of material removed. This paper describes experimental and numerical studies aimed at providing insight into how next generation human machines could begin to match the performance of ants. In particular, insights from bench-scale laboratory and field experiments along with numerical particulate modelling suggests that ants leverage fundamental soil mechanics principles and concepts such as real-time sensing, stress relief, arching and capillary effects amongst other to construct networks of tunnels using substantially reduced energy. Further, it is shown that the tunneling behavior of ants is cognizant of material properties such as grain size, moisture content and density. The manuscript discussed how these insights might be leveraged to generate next-generation equipment to catalyze a new range of tunneling systems and methods.

Publication Date: 2019

Presented at:
NASTT’s 2019 No-Dig Show Chicago, Illinois
March 17-21, 2019 | Paper Number: MM-T1-03

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