Soil-Structure Interface Resistance Changes due to Rigid Awns

Ryan D. Beemer, Joe Gain Tom, Kaylee Tucker, Ann C. Sychterz, Isabella Bernardi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper presents a study on the impact of rigid awns and their deployment on interface friction. Awns are appendages attached to the exterior surface of a geo-system and bio inspired by grass seeds. Awns provide frictional anisotropy and assist the seed in self-embedding into the soil or clinging to animal hair. In geo-systems, like piles, deployable awns can provide frictional anisotropy reducing installation effort and increasing global capacity. In addition, flexible awns can be folded up to enable space saving for transportation. This paper presents the results from a set of interface shear tests in a modified direct shear device. Single rigid awns were tested at various angles, from horizontal, as a pseudo-static simulation of deployment, in loose and dense sand, in both the cranial (towards the head) and caudal (towards the tail direction). It is shown that awns opened at larger angles provide higher interface friction and that shearing in the cranial direction provided more resistance than in the caudal direction. This demonstrates that deployable awns could be used in geo-systems to provide friction anisotropy and increase capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGeotechnical Special Publication
EditorsT. Matthew Evans, Nina Stark, Susan Chang
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers
Number of pages8
EditionGSP 350
ISBN (Electronic)9780784485309, 9780784485316, 9780784485323, 9780784485330, 9780784485347, 9780784485354
StatePublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes
EventGeo-Congress 2024: Foundations, Retaining Structures, Geosynthetics, and Underground Engineering - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: Feb 25 2024Feb 28 2024

Publication series

NameGeotechnical Special Publication
NumberGSP 350
ISSN (Print)0895-0563


ConferenceGeo-Congress 2024: Foundations, Retaining Structures, Geosynthetics, and Underground Engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


Dive into the research topics of 'Soil-Structure Interface Resistance Changes due to Rigid Awns'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this