With no more than a couple of thousand years of experience, humans have developed innovative geotechnical techniques for a variety of engineering problems. In contrast, nature has had the benefit of several billion years to evolve the manner in which flora and fauna engineer the subsurface.
This proposal seeks to study nature’s solutions for foundation anchorage and fluid flow in contrast to what humans have done, and then to identify enhancements that humans could better exploit in the future, through deliberate mimicking. In particular, we will study selected aspects of root-soil interactions, root system architecture and other biological networks, to discover significant potential in the emerging field of bio-geotechnics.
In particular, the specific focus of the project is to study root-soil interaction, root system deployment and biological network adaptation, using the unique and complementary expertise of both partners. The project consists of three work packages:
Wheat root growth test, image analysis and root system architecture calibration (on left: image processing of root growth on agar gel; on right: root system architecture simulation with or without water source, and with or without cut branches)
Experiments from Retter et al. (unpublished); simulations from Jin and Arson (unpublished)
This project involves a collaboration between the 3SR lab and the Georgia Institute of Technology