SERDP 2021 Project of the Year Award for Munitions Response

Storm waves or currents can cause munitions underwater to bury, become unburied, or move into new, potentially dangerous locations. SERDP is supporting research to understand these processes and, ultimately, lead to a model to predict them. Both laboratory and in situ measurements of munitions behavior are being conducted to support development of a predictive model and validate that model once completed. 

The 2021 SERDP Project of the Year for Munitions Response was headed by Dr. Arthur Trembanis from the University of Delaware. Dr. Trembanis and Dr. Carter DuVal, who conducted work at the University of Delaware and is currently at the Naval Research Laboratory Stennis Space Center, expanded 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 mostly contribute to the fate of MEC. Leveraging existing resources and knowledge gained from previous and ongoing SERDP Munitions Response studies, this project coupled periodic site-wide geophysical surveying with coincident in-field geotechnical sediment characterization through repetitive sampling and application of a SERDP supported penetrometer (Dr. Nina Stark, Project Overview) at a munitions mobility and burial study site.

University of Delaware R/V Joanne Daiber equipped with Edgetech 6205 Phase-measuring Echo Sounder.

This combined effort improved characterization of munitions mobility as influenced by cohesive sediment geotechnical properties, and it provided an in-field demonstration of the penetrometer technology and methods being refined by another SERDP project led by Dr. Nina Stark. Data from this study contributed significantly to the munitions mobility and burial analysis presented in a different SERDP project led by Dr. Trembanis and assists in the continued development of existing expert system modeling of UXO burial and mobility (e.g., Underwater Munitions Expert System, Sarah Rennie, Project Overview). The methods and results presented in this project provide additional information pertinent to Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) site management.

Geotechnical site characterization was provided by Dr. Nina Stark and her team. Data was collected with a portable freefall penetrometer (A), and ground-truthed with sediment samples and gravity cores (B).

For this important work, Dr. Arthur Trembanis and his team received the 2021 SERDP Project of the Year Award for Munitions Response.

Project Team:

  • Arthur Trembanis – University of Delaware
  • Carter DuVal – University of Delaware
  • Nina Stark – Virginia Tech