An Evaluation of the Application of Plasma Arc Vitrification to Improve the Strength of Weak Soil and Weathered Rock

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Title: An Evaluation of the Application of Plasma Arc Vitrification to Improve the Strength of Weak Soil and Weathered Rock
Author: Nash, Andrew Alan
Advisors: Mohammed Gabr, Committee Chair
Roy Borden, Committee Member
Shamimur Rahman, Committee Member
Abstract: The applicability of Plasma Arc Vitrification (PAV) to improve the strength of weak soils and weathered rock is investigated. Destructive and non-destructive tests are conducted in the field along with laboratory testing to estimate the physical and strength parameters of potentially weak materials before and after the application of PAV. Data analyses are performed to estimate the properties of the in-situ materials and level of improvement related to PAV application. Since a planned field-scale test using PAV did not materialize, a limited scale laboratory application of PAV to site soils is conducted and improvements in strength properties are characterized. In addition, slope stability analyses are performed to determine the optimum placement of the vitrified zone and the corresponding improvement in the factor of safety of the slope. Placement of the PAV columns within a slope will improve its resistance to movement. For the US-1 site, a length of 20 feet with a diameter of 4 foot at a horizontal distance of 3D placed 20 feet up the slope was determined to be the ideal placement. Based upon the results of our laboratory work and PAV modeling, we propose further research to focus on alternative fuel sources. In addition, studying burn rates would be useful (time burn vs. amount of improvement). Finding improvement within these areas would reduce the expense of conducting PAV burns. Currently, constructibility and high operation costs prove this method of slope stabilization to be prohibitive in practical application.
Date: 2002-11-24
Degree: MS
Discipline: Civil Engineering
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/905


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