CAREER: Modeling Soil-Machine Interaction for Advances in Civil Construction and Terrestrial Robotics

Project: Research project

Project Details


The aim of this project is to create new mathematical models that will underpin a long-term program of research and education in the emerging, multidisciplinary area of Soil-Machine Interaction (SMI), a subject concerned with the forces and deformations that occur as machines come into contact with soils. The project will formulate a new class of theoretical models, informed and validated by fundamental experimental results and sophisticated numerical simulations, that fills a crucial knowledge gap and will facilitate the design, optimization, and control of machines for civil construction, off-road mobility, and exploration. The project formally launches the Soil-Structure and Soil-Machine Interaction (SSI-SMI) Laboratory at Northwestern University, an experimental facility that includes a fully instrumented 6-axis robotic armature for actuation and control of earth manipulation devices. This facility together with newly created educational and outreach programs, including tinkering labs created in collaboration with the Chicago Children’s Museum and local maker fairs, will attract and educate a diverse learner population and expand the reach of civil engineering in the broader community.
Effective start/end date3/1/192/29/24


  • National Science Foundation (CMMI-1846817)


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