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Earthquake defense to be tested

U.S. scientists ready to field-test a new method of minimizing soil liquefaction in earthquakes

BOISE, Idaho | February 10, 2012

"The outcome of this research is far reaching"

—Arvin Farid

U.S. scientists say they're ready to field-test a new method of minimizing soil liquefaction in earthquakes to protect buildings and structures.

Soil liquefaction occurs when loose, water-saturated soils lose shear strength in response to the sudden shaking from an earthquake and begin behaving like a liquid, reducing the ability to support the foundations of buildings and bridges

Engineers at Boise State University said a technique called Induced Partial Saturation, or IPS, where non-hazardous chemicals are injected into the ground to create gas bubbles to reduce saturation, has worked in the lab and is ready for field-testing.

"The outcome of this research is far reaching, because it can be implemented in urban areas with a lot of infrastructure in place, which can have a worldwide impact on human safety and protection of properties from liquefaction hazard of earthquakes," Arvin Farid, a professor of civil engineering, said. "This is a very non-destructive method that will work in both places that have buildings and places that do not."

In field studies made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation, researchers will pump the non-hazardous chemical solution into different types of soils and measure the ability of the generated gas to mitigate the potential liquefaction caused by earthquakes, a Boise State release said Thursday.

2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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