Program: Collaborative Research with Industry (CRI)

Field: Geological and Geo-Resource Engineering

Principal Investigator: Dr. Hwa Kian Chai

Sending University: Universiti Malaya (UM)

Japanese Co-Investigator: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tomoki SHIOTANI

Japanese University: Kyoto University

Year: 2011


This proposed research is venturing into the emerging and potentially transformative research idea of establishing an AE-based warning system for soil slope failure to mitigate its disastrous consequences on the lives and social-economy. The research aims at catalyzing rapid and innovative advances in the monitoring technology for soil slopes in Malaysia, of which the promising fundamental outcome could help ignite future research work of similar kind among the stakeholders within the country. In the case for soil slopes, apart from understanding the release of wave energy associated with complicated mechanism of soil fracture, the main challenges for effective implementation of AE technique lie in aspects related to instrumentation (sensor choice, location etc.), signal processing (attenuation, frequency response, filtering process etc.) and data interpretation (considerations for intrinsic properties, slope gradient, water runoff etc.). Fundamental laboratory investigation utilising soil box samples and scaled-down slopes were undertaken to clarify the unique features of AE propagating in soil with different compositions of clay and sand as well as moisture content. The funding enable visits to coresearcher’s institution and some relevant private companies in Japan, enhancing relationship and help foster potential research collaborations in the future. Knowledge transfer from Japanese institution to UM was facilitated via this research project. The funding received enabled purchase of expensive test instrument. Students and research assistants attained knowledge in the use of theses equipments in the laboratory. This has enhanced their technical understanding in structural health monitoring and skills in experimental procedures. The research outcome confirmed indicative and qualitative changes of AE signals in event of soil layer movements caused by water flowing/ containment. The feasibility of of using AE technique to develop a costeffective early warning system for soil slope failure can be realised by more indepth research programmes in the future.