Further Examining the Role of Cohesive Sediments in Munitions Mobility through Additional Infield Deployment of Smart Munitions and Application of a SERDP-developed Penetrometer

Dr. Arthur Trembanis | University of Delaware



While the mechanisms for munitions burial in non-cohesive sediments are well established, be it through scour-burial processes (Office of Naval Research mine burial studies) or granular sorting (Dr. Calantoni  MR-2320), the resistive nature of cohesive sediment to granular erosion reduces the likelihood of granular sorting as a primary mechanism for burial, inhibits scour (Inman and Jenkins, 2002), and may result in other mechanisms for burial not characteristic of non-cohesive sediments (Baeye et al., 2012; Sheremet et al. 2005). Given this data gap, this study intends to expand the research on munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) mobility and burial in cohesive sediments through a focused in field study on the geotechnical properties of cohesive sediments that most contribute to the fate of MEC.

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Technical Approach

Leveraging existing resources and knowledge gained from previous and ongoing SERDP Munitions Response studies, this study‚Äôs plan is to 1) conduct an in-field deployment of instrumented and acoustically-tracked surrogate munitions in a dynamic, cohesive-sediment study site, 2) continuously monitor site hydrodynamics and morphodynamics through in situ instrumentation, coupled with periodic site-wide geophysical surveying in order to inform 3) contemporaneous in-field geotechnical sediment characterization through repetitive sampling and application of a SERDP supported penetrometer (Dr. Stark  MR18-1233).

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Anticipated results from this combined effort include better characterization of munitions mobility as influenced by cohesive sediment geotechnical properties, as well as providing an in-field demonstration of the penetrometer technology and methods being refined by  MR18-1233. Data from this study will also provide additional information pertinent to formerly used defense site management and assist in the continued development of existing expert system modeling of unexploded ordnance burial and mobility (e.g. Underwater Munitions Expert System, Dr. Rennie  MR-2645).

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Points of Contact

Principal Investigator

Arthur Trembanis

University of Delaware

Phone: 302-831-2498

Program Manager

Munitions Response