Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Committee Member

Barbara Luke, Chair

Second Committee Member

Dale Werkema

Third Committee Member

Aly Said

Graduate Faculty Representative

Wanda Taylor

Number of Pages



A laboratory testing apparatus was developed for the study of seismic body wave propagation through nanoparticles dispersed in pore fluid that is essentially saturating glass beads. First, the responses of water-saturated glass bead specimens were studied to establish baseline signatures. Then the seismic responses in the presence of engineered nanoparticles of various concentrations dispersed in the pore fluid of the specimen chamber were studied to observe variances from baseline.

The testing apparatus incorporates piezoceramic bender elements to actuate and receive seismic body waves through a cylindrical column filled with glass beads and back-saturated at ambient pressure with liquid. The system was calibrated in air, water, and water-saturated glass beads. System repeatability was checked after the system was saturated and flushed once to soak and seat the beads. The water-saturated glass bead specimens were tested for compression, shear, and spectral response, from which baseline signatures were established. Criteria were proposed to evaluate the detectability of nanoparticle dispersions.

Nanoparticle dispersions of zinc oxide (nZnO), titanium dioxide (nTiO 2 ), and silver (nAg) were tested. The testing system showed itself to be capable of registering subtle changes in the response caused by varying consolidation states of the glass beads and pore fluid content. The presence of nZnO was detectable for all the test methods except compression wave arrivals, nAg was detectable only by compression wave amplitude and spectral response and nTiO 2 showed only subtle detectability for spectral response.


Elastic waves; Nanoparticles; Pore water; Seismic waves; Silver; Titanium dioxide; Zinc oxide


Civil and Environmental Engineering | Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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