Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

High-Resolution Acoustic System Detects Objects Buried In Soil

Date:
October 3, 2000
Source:
University Of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Archaeologists soon may be using sound waves to survey potential building sites for significant cultural artifacts, say researchers at the University of Illinois. They recently demonstrated a high-resolution acoustic system capable of detecting and imaging small buried objects.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Archaeologists soon may be using sound waves to survey potential building sites for significant cultural artifacts, say researchers at the University of Illinois. They recently demonstrated a high-resolution acoustic system capable of detecting and imaging small buried objects.

Related Articles


"There are thousands of potential building sites in the United States that must be carefully assessed before construction can begin," said William O'Brien Jr., a UI professor of electrical and computer engineering and the director of the Bioacoustics Research Laboratory at the university's Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. "What's needed is a quick and easy technique to identify those sites that contain important cultural or archaeological artifacts."

Current "dig and sift" methods are too time-consuming, expensive and imprecise, O'Brien said. Ground-penetrating radars don't work well in wet soils or for non-metallic objects, such as arrowheads, pottery shards or human remains. And technologies used in seismic exploration lack the resolution needed to identify small artifacts. The use of sound waves seemed like a good alternative.

To perform a feasibility study, O'Brien and his colleagues -- professors David Munson and Robert Darmody, and graduate students Catherine Frazier and Nail Cadalli -- used a single-element transmitter to send pulses of sound into the ground at a frequency of 6 kilohertz. For their receiver, the researchers used a 52-element acoustic array from the head of a torpedo. They also developed special image-reconstruction software to convert the sound waves reflected from buried objects into pictures.

"In principle, our technique is similar to those used in seismic exploration, where an explosive charge is detonated and the reflected sound waves are picked up by an array of receivers," O'Brien said. "Because we use a much higher frequency, however, our resolution is much greater."

Currently, the device can penetrate about a foot underground and resolve objects that are 2 inches in diameter. Future improvements are aimed at increasing both penetration depth and resolution. One goal is to build a better transduction device that would send more sound into the ground.

"The torpedo head was designed to propagate sound into water, not into soil," O'Brien said. "We are developing a transduction device that is much better matched to the impedance of soil."

The researchers are also experimenting with a transmitter array that could provide focusing of the transmit beam. "With a focused source, we could transmit more energy into the region of interest," O'Brien said. "That would allow us to penetrate farther and obtain better image quality."

With additional modifications, the system also could be used to detect land mines, O'Brien said.

The researchers described the acoustical imaging system in the July issue of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. The work was supported by the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. "High-Resolution Acoustic System Detects Objects Buried In Soil." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/10/001003072717.htm>.
University Of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. (2000, October 3). High-Resolution Acoustic System Detects Objects Buried In Soil. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/10/001003072717.htm
University Of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. "High-Resolution Acoustic System Detects Objects Buried In Soil." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/10/001003072717.htm (accessed April 17, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, April 17, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA Electric Rover Goes for a Spin

NASA Electric Rover Goes for a Spin

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 17, 2015) NASA&apos;s prototype electric buggy could influence future space rovers and conventional cars. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Self-Powering Camera

Scientists Create Self-Powering Camera

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 17, 2015) American scientists build a self-powering camera that captures images without using an external power source, allowing it to operate indefinitely in a well-lit environment. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The State Of Virtual Reality

The State Of Virtual Reality

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Virtual Reality is still a young industry. What’s on offer and what should we expect from our immersive new future? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tackling Congestion in the World's Worst Traffic City

Tackling Congestion in the World's Worst Traffic City

Reuters - News Video Online (Apr. 16, 2015) New transportation system and regulations aim to resolve gridlock in Jakarta, which has been named the city with the world&apos;s worst traffic. Angie Teo reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins