What is wET?
The Water Extraction and Transfer (WET) system developed by Triton Norway offers a new and innovative approach to actively managing and controlling water content in earthworks.
The system works by combining Advanced Osmotic Pulse (AOP) technology (also developed by Triton Norway) with a closed loop control mechanism. By installing a series of embedded anodes and cathodes (Probes) powered by an extra low voltage current directly into the earthwork, these active electrodes can be controlled by the AOP control system in order to actively manage water content. This ensures that the geotechnical mechanisms are kept within the safe parameters of the target areas by ‘pushing’ or ‘pulling’ the water content out of the structure.
Under wet conditions the system forces moisture down, which effectively acts as a non-permeable barrier holding the water table back and pushes the moisture away from the upper surfaces. This enables the moisture content to be controlled at the level dictated by the engineer who can ensure that pore water pressure is maintained at the desired levels.
How does it work?
This effect is similar to wringing out a wet sponge, enabling the structure to remain stable, absorb higher levels of rainfall, and avoid runoff. The system can even dry out the structure allowing for greater absorption of water as a result of prolonged or torrential rain/storms. This essentially reverses the negative effect of climate change (increased rainfall patterns) and rising water tables and returns the operating environment of the structures back to their original profiles.
Conversely, in dry conditions the system works in reverse and pulls the water table up to maintain the desired level of moisture and eradicate desiccation; another effect which causes detriment to earthwork structures. In addition to the automatic proactive controlling mechanism, the system can also be remotely monitored to provide a continuous available state and demonstrate time lapse changes, for example, this allows engineers to remotely monitor and set desired levels, such as ‘drying out’ the structure before an impending storm. The WET system will use this feedback to further adjust electric current flow which in turn will control the water content/pore pressure to safe/desired levels.
This innovative application provides the opportunity to restore equilibrium to earth structures and therefore deliver a step change to managing infrastructure assets ensuring safe operations and reduced costs associated with failures. By integrating WET with standard earthwork monitoring techniques, an active management solution can be deployed and operated for decades rather than just years.