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RI-Cone

RI-Cone

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Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A
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Development and calibration of radio-isotopecone penetrometers
Abhay K. Shrivastava
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Visiting Scientist, M2C UMR 6143 CNRS, Centre de Geomorphologie, Universite´ de Caen, 24 rue des Tilleuls, 14000 Caen, France
Received 27 August 2004; accepted 16 September 2004
Abstract
Radio-Isotope cone penetrometers (RI-cones) are developed to measure the basic soil properties like water contentand soil density under in situ conditions in real time along with other parameters such as soil strength andhydrogeologic conditions of subsurface soils. In this paper, a brief description of these cone penetrometers is followedby their calibrations and the use of single calibration curve for different types of soils is discussed. Two case studies havebeen presented. It has been shown that under marine conditions a correction is required for the measured water contentas the presence of chloride ions, a very strong neutron absorber, can underestimate the measured water content.
r
2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
PACS:
07.88.+y; 89.20.Bb; 93.85.+q
Keywords:
RI-cones; In situ testing; Water content; Density; Calibration curve; Neutron absorber
1. Introduction
Cone Penetration Technology (CPT) has been inuse for more than six decades for site character-ization for geotechnical purposes. The last decadeor so has seen a rapid development in sensortechnology, in electronics, miniaturization of computers and augmentation of its processingpower has facilitated the incorporation of varioussensors in a cone penetrometer body for variousapplications. Site characterization whether forgeotechnical or geoenvironmental purposes, canbe very expensive and can sometimes account formore than 30 percent of the total budget. Beforeany foundation plan is laid, it is important todelineate the soil characteristics in detail. Tomeasure some of the basic soil properties, likewater content and the density of soil, samples arerequired which may be of suspected quality.This method is not only inefficient but alsoexpensive. To determine such properties under insitu conditions, two different types of cone
ARTICLE IN PRESS
www.elsevier.com/locate/nima0168-9002/$-see front matter
r
2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.nima.2004.09.044
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Tel.: +33231565709; fax: +33231565757.
E-mail address:
abhay.shrivastava@geos.unicaen.fr(A.K. Shrivastava).
 
penetrometers have been developed and are calledneutron moisture cone penetrometer (NM-cone)and nuclear density cone penetrometer (ND-cone)and collectively referred to as RI-cones. NM-coneis essentially a four-component cone penetrometerwhich can measure the water content of the soilalong with soil strength and delineate the hydro-geologic conditions in real time. ND-cone is asingle component cone, originally also a four-component one, as it uses the same hole as that of the NM-cone and measures the density of soil. Inthis paper, a brief description of these conepenetrometers is followed by their calibrationand the use of a single calibration curve fordifferent types of soils. RI-cones have been used atvarious sites and two field tests data are presented.
2. Description of RI-cones
 2.1. Neutron moderation by hydrogen
The design is based on the principle that whenfast neutrons are emitted from the source,neutrons go through the process of slowing down,thermalization and diffusion. This process of slowing down from the initial energy to theepithermal (1eV) or thermal energy (0.025eV) isgoverned mainly by the elastic collisions with thehydrogen nuclei[1], which for all practicalpurposes is present in the form of water in the soil.Since neutrons do not react appreciably withelectrons,they are always detected through the effectscaused by their collision with nucleus. Over the yearsvarious reactions have been proposed for thedetection of neutrons. The reaction used to detectneutrons in the construction of the NM-cone is
3
He
þ
n
!
T
þ
p
þ
0
:
764MeV
;
s
a
¼
5400b(1)in which He is helium,n is the neutron,T is tritium, pis the proton,
s
a
is the reaction cross-section and b isbarns.The fast neutron source is
252
Cf, the sponta-neous fission source of neutron and the half-life of neutron source is 2.65 years. The detector used isthe
3
He-filled proportional tube.Fig. 1shows theschematic diagram of the NM-cone.
 2.2. Principle of 
g
-ray interaction with matter
It is well known that a photon can interact withatoms through scattering, losing some or none of its energy (Compton or elastic scattering) or it candisappear in a single interaction (photoelectriceffect or pair production)[2]. Every processcontributes to the attenuation and is a functionof atomic number (
) of the element present in thesoil. Therefore, considering the chemical composi-tion of the soil, almost all interactions lead to theCompton process.The source of 
g
-photon employed in the ND-cone is
137
Cs with a half-life of 36.5 years NaI(Tl)scintillator mounted on a photomultiplier tube isused in the ND-cone to detect the incomingphotons.Fig. 2shows the schematic diagram of the ND-cone.
3. Calibration of RI-cones
Calibrations of both NM-, and ND-cones werecarried out in a laboratory calibration chamber.The diameter of the calibration chamber was650mm and the height or the depth of thecalibration chamber was 1000mm. Two different
ARTICLE IN PRESS
d
bae1184
35.6
a: cable leading to the data collection systemb: pre-amplifier; c:
3
He-filled proportional tubed:
252
Cf fast neutron source; e: porous ceramic filter(all dimension are in mm)
48.6
 
dc
Fig. 1. Schematic diagram of NM-cone.
d: lead (Pb) shield; e:
137
Cs gamma sourcea: cable leading to data collection systemb: pre-amplifier; c: photomultiplier tube(all dimension in mm)
Fig. 2. Schematic diagram of ND-cone.
A.K. Shrivastava / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A
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types of calibrations were carried out in thecalibration chamber. In the first case materialssuch as decomposed granite, coarse gravel, finegravel and mountain sand were used and in thesecond case only water was used to carry out thecalibration. The water content of the sample wasincreased slowly by means of an inlet valve locatedat the bottom of the calibration chamber. Samplewas prepared by pouring known mass of sand intothe calibration chamber. The water inlet valve wasfitted with a meter to measure the total amount of water supplied to the calibration chamber. Toobtain homogeneity in the sample and betweendifferent layers of the sample, a hammer with amass of 10kg was allowed to fall from a known ora predetermined height. Before either the NM- orND-cone was installed into the calibration cham-ber, a background count was taken. In thecalibration curve, we have used the count rateratio instead of the simple count rate. Theadvantage of this method is that the count rateof the isotope will change with time such as the oneshown for
252
Cf (Fig. 3); however, the count rateratio will remain the same. Calibration curves thusobtained are shown inFig. 4a and bfor NM- andND-cones, respectively.
4. Applicability of single calibration curve forvarious soil types
One may question the validity of using a singlecalibration curve for different types of soils. Soil isbasically composed of silica (Si) and oxygen (O)with other elements present in minor amounts. It isinteresting to note that the commonly encounteredelements in the soil have almost the same
/
A
ratiowhich is approximately about 0.5 (Fig. 5). Thoughthe
/
A
ratio for hydrogen is about 0.99 the factremains that hydrogen is present as water in thesoil medium and the
/
A
ratio for water is 0.5521.Similarly, if we look at the different materials suchas concrete, sand, and glass, though they all have
ARTICLE IN PRESS
050100150200elapsed time (days)
standardcountrate(CPM)
140160180x 10
2
Fig. 3. Decay curve of 
252
Cf.
1.00.80.60.40.2 000.51.01.52.0moisture density W
H
(t / m
3
)
countrateratio(R
w
)
R
w
= 0.065 + 2.936 W
H
- 1.417W
H2
(r = 0997; N = 28)1.31.41.51.61.71.81.91.21.41.61.82.02.22.42.0R
γ 
= 9.3978.e
-1.0314
ρ
t
r = 0.994; N = 30density
 
(t / m
3
)
countrateratio(R
      γ   
)
(a)(b)
Fig. 4. Calibration curve of (a) NM-cone and (b) Calibrationcurve of ND-cone.
A.K. Shrivastava / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A
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