IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement - September 2023 - 49

technology has made rapid progress. There are many new
solutions to obtain the hydrogeological engineering parameters,
which often need to be tested in water environments and
in rock and soil mass [10]. For example, new geological radar,
electromagnetic CT, digital borehole camera system and other
recent technologies greatly facilitate the investigation and application
of engineering geology. At the same time, modern
ultrasonic imaging technology has been gradually applied to
the model testing of hydraulic geological engineering across
disciplines from medicine [11]. The ultrasonic imager based
on a high-frequency ultrasonic echo imaging principle has the
advantages of good directivity, high resolution, and strong
transmission. It can dynamically display the macro and micro
structures of soil-rock mixture in real time. Its expansion and
crossing effect are visual and portable, which brings great convenience
to the investigation and research of soil-rock mixture.
Ultrasonic transmission imaging test systems can realize
the internal structure imaging of in-situ soil-rock mixture
outdoors, which can obtain the multiple ultrasonic profile
image of the in-situ mixture through ultrasonic transmission
imaging experiments. The ultrasonic sounding method
is widely used in most engineering surveys, but this multiple
ultrasonic imaging method may become a better choice
between an indoor MRI method and an outdoor acoustic
detection method. Therefore, using a multiple ultrasonic
imaging technique to obtain the internal structure profile
image of in-situ soil-rock mixture is more helpful for some
outdoor measurement and instrumentation. A portable ultrasound
imager is used to carry out a special transmission
imaging experimental study of the internal structural morphology
of soil-rock mixture, and an ultrasonic transmission
imaging detection method and experimental system are
proposed for the morphological reconstruction of internal
structure of soil-rock mixture. The novelty of this work
is that it is the first work to use an ultrasonic transmission
imaging technique to analyze and reconstruct the internal
structure of in-situ soil-rock mixture. MRI method is
unsuitable for outdoor or field test, and optical method is unsuitable
for mixed or turbid media, so this paper will provide
a new visualization analysis method based on this ultrasonic
imaging method for the detection of soil-rock mixture and a
way to precisely research the internal morphological structures
during geotechnical engineering and investigation.
Ultrasonic Transmission Imaging
Test System
In this paper, a portable phased array ultrasonic imager
is used to carry out a special ultrasonic transmission
imaging test for the morphological characteristics of internal
structure in the soil-rock mixture. According to the
requirements of geotechnical engineering testing, an ultrasonic
transmission imaging testing system for the internal
structure of soil-rock mixture was built. Thus, the visual
detection and intelligent reconstruction of the internal
structural characteristics of soil-rock mixture can be realized
by using this system.
September 2023
Principles of Ultrasound Imaging
An ultrasound imager is an ultrasonic scanning imaging device
using ultrasonic phased array technology, which can
realize the penetrating imaging of the internal structure of the
human body and objects, such as the commonly used ultrasound
scanning imagers for medical or veterinary purposes.
This paper uses the phased array ultrasonic probe which is the
most important part of the ultrasound imager.
The portable phased array ultrasound imager is mainly
composed of a host and ultrasonic probe. The ultrasonic probe
is usually made of piezoelectric ceramic wafers or array cells.
In the state of electricity, it can produce elastic deformation,
resulting in ultrasonic wave. On the contrary, when the ultrasonic
wave passes through the wafer, it can produce elastic
deformation, resulting in voltage changes, which are finally
transformed into the profile image of the detected object by
the signal processing unit of the ultrasonic imager. In this paper,
the main function of the ultrasonic probe is to generate
ultrasonic waves (emission waves) and transmit them into
the soil-rock mixture, and then receive the ultrasonic waves
(echoes) of reflection attenuation from soil-rock mixture in real
time. At the same time, the ultrasound imager transforms the
ultrasonic signal into electrical signal and digital signal, which
is convenient for data storage and data processing later. The
operating frequency of the phased array probe used in this paper
is mainly 3 MHz. Some profiles obtained by this probe are
shown in Fig. 1, which can reflect the profile image of the internal
structure of soil-rock mixture with several morphological
and structural characteristics under some certain conditions.
The ultrasonic images of soil-rock mixture's internal structure
obtained by using the ultrasonic probe and ultrasound
imager can reflect the ultrasonic reflection attenuation of the
upper and lower surface layers of soil-rock mixture and its
internal tissues in the rock mass. According to the reflection,
attenuation, and propagation characteristics of ultrasonic
wave in the soil-rock mixture, some abnormal spots, stripes,
and bright bands are presented in the ultrasonic scanning image.
These morphological characteristics constitute the main
ultrasonic imaging characteristics of the internal structural
morphology of soil-rock mixture.
(a)
(b)
Fig. 1. Ultrasonic profile images of soil-rock mixtures under some certain
conditions. (a) Water and large grains of gravel at the bottom; (b) Erosion of
soil and internal slabs.
IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine
49

IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement - September 2023

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