Sustainable Soil Particle Size Characterization Through Image Analysis
A rapid, clean, low-energy, image-based method for determining the grain size distribution of soils by image analysis has been developed. The method is called Sediment Imaging or “Sedimaging”. It develops the grain size distribution for particles in the range between a U.S. Standard Sieve No. 10 (2.0 mm openings) and U.S. Standard Sieve No. 200 (0.075 mm openings) range. The system utilizes a high resolution Nikon D7000 digital single lens reflex camera and image processing software developed specifically for interpreting the images and producing the resulting grain size distribution. The Sedimaging system is more sustainable and environmentally friendly than traditional sieving by virtue of its far lower power needs, less water consumption, longer equipment life and less maintenance. From the environmental and health perspectives, Sedimaging is less noisy, generates no vibrations and produces no airborne particulates. Sedimaging is also significantly faster than sieving and produces thousands of data points compared to typically 8 by sieving; it also automatically computes grain size distribution metrics such as the coefficients of uniformity and gradation.
KeywordsGrain size distribution Image analysis Sedimaging Sieving Sustainability
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CMMI 0900105. The authors obtained much of the information on sieving test details and practices used by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) from Joseph Muscat and Michael L. Cornacchia of MDOT. Their assistance is greatly appreciated. MDOT also partly supported Sedimaging development through Contract No. 2010-0296 Research No. ORE0908.
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