Soil Penetration a la Earthworms

Achievement date: 

The NSF-funded Engineering Research Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics (CBBG), headquartered at Arizona State University, developed a prototype of a cone penetration device, inspired by earthworms, that substantially reduced the resistance to soil penetration. This supports an ERC goal to develop bio-inspired self-excavating devices for geotechnical site characterization and in-situ process monitoring.


The prototype and follow-on developments that draw on its development have applications for more cost-effective, efficient, ecologically-friendly, and safer civil engineering and building projects. Lowering the resistance to soil penetration may also enable projects with lower environmental footprint and less damage to structures, as well as less nuisance to neighbors and businesses nearby.