Table of Contents

The Giesa FL2 Frame and blade component of the Automated Vane Shear (AVS) equipment.


The AVS test is used for in situ determination of the undrained strength of intact, fully saturated clays (undrained strengths < 100 kN/m2); the test is not suitable for other types of soil or if the clay contains sand or silt laminations.

A four-bladed vane is inserted into the split core and rotated at a constant rate to determine the torque required to cause a cylindrical surface (with a diameter equal to the overall width of the vane) to be sheared by the vane. This destructive measurement is done in the working half, with the rotation axis parallel to the bedding plane. The torque required to shear the sediment along the vertical and horizontal edges of the vane is a relatively direct measure of the shear strength. Typical sampling rates are one per core section until the sediment becomes too firm for insertion of the vane.

The rate of rotation of the vane should be within the range of 6°–12°/min.

The GeoLab software that controls the AVS calculates shear stress as:

Stress (kN/m2) = torque (Nm) × Vane constant (1/m3) × 1/1000


Preparing the Instrument

     1. Click on the GeoLab Icon on the Desktop to start the GeoLAB application (Figure 1).

Figure 1. GeoLab Icon.

     2. Start a new project for each site: Project > new > project > Expedition_SiteHole (Figure 2).

     3. Start a new test in the project folder: Project > new > test > CoreTypeSection_Offset or TextID_Offset.

     4. Keep the subdirectory highlighted, and click on EXCEL from within the application (Figure 2).

Figure 2. New Project.

     5. Select the Excel template (e.g., AVS_master_XXXX.xls) (Figure 3). The PP technician will select and save a master file for each particular expedition.

Figure 3. Excel Templates.

     6. Check the rotation speed (1–1.5) and vane type (A, drop-down list) (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Rotation Speed and Vane Type.

Making a Measurement

     1. Insert the vane into the sediment, by turning the black handle clockwise, until the top of the wings are even with the sediment surface. Avoid obviously disturbed areas (cracks, gaps, bioturbation, etc.) and note that the test is not suitable for sand or gravel-sized material or for clay that contains sand or silt laminations.
IMPORTANT! If the brass fitting (Figure 5) pushes out of the support beam below the hand crank, the sediment is too hard for this test. Do not attempt to force the vane into the sediment as you may damage the instrument!

Figure 5. Brass fitting

     2. Open the Excel spreadsheet from within GeoLAB by clicking on the Excel icon (Figure 2) (Points 3 to 6 on the previous paragraph).

     3. Use the barcode gun to scan the section information into the yellow cell below the graph. Be sure to cut everything past the textID (e.g., TEST-U341PA…) and paste into an adjacent cell (Figure 7).

Figure 6. Monitor Acquisition.                                           

     4. Measure and enter the offset from top of section (blue cap) into the top interval field (light blue box), then click Enter.

Figure 7. Paste Barcode TEXT_ID (make sure to segregate the TEXT_ID and Label_ID so it will upload properly).

     5. Modify this information for each core measured.

     6. With GeoLAB already open, Click on init; set sample-time to 1 to 3 readings/sec (i.e., sampling rate), depending have often a measurement will be taken (Ex: 1 sec. means that a measurement each second.; and click the traffic light icon to start the measurement (Figure 8a). Set Input Speed to 1. Monitor the test curve on the Excel screen (Figure 6). When the maximum shear strength of the sediment (highest point of the curve) has been reached, stop the test by clicking the STOP sign icon in the GeoLAB application (Figure 8b).

          Figure 8a. Set Acquisition Parameters.               Figure 8b (click stop sign after the measurement).

     7.Copy the Text_ID from the Excel page.

     8. Save the Excel template with its data as a .CSV (comma delimited) file using Save As…CSV UTF-8 (Comma delimited) (*.csv) : Path = C:\data\gantry\in; Filename = TextID_offset_AVS.csv

     9. Click OK pn the pop-up window.

     9. Close the EXCEL application, without saving it again, (LIMS will not upload the file if it is in use). Click DON'T SAVE in the pop-up window.

Uploading Data to LIMS

     1. Launch MegaUploadaTron (MUT, Applications Folder: IODP) if it is not already running.

     2. Check to see if the AVS file(s) are present on the screen. If not, select the proper Upload Directory in the MUT application under File.

     3. Click on the directory of choice (e.g., C:/gantry/IN) and check the MUT dialog window. The files to be uploaded should be present in this window.

     4. Select the files to be uploaded, or use the Select All checkbox in the lower left corner of MUT.

     5. Click the Upload button to load the data into LIMS. Note: MUT will automatically search the .CSV data file and select the peak shear value.

     6. Users may also check the Automatic Upload checkbox for future uploads without any user intervention required.

Retrieve Data from LIMS

     1. Go to LIMS Reports at

     2. Under Select Report, choose Physical Properties > Shear Strength Automated Vane (AVS).

     3. Under Select Sample Range, specify Expedition, Site, Hole, and Section data to retrieve.

     4. Click View data or Download data file to view data on screen or download a CSV file.

LIMS Component Table

ANALYSISTABLENAME (expanded report)NAME (standard report)ABOUT TEXT
AVSSAMPLEExpExpExp: expedition number
AVSSAMPLESiteSiteSite: site number
AVSSAMPLEHoleHoleHole: hole number
AVSSAMPLECoreCoreCore: core number
AVSSAMPLETypeTypeType: type indicates the coring tool used to recover the core (typical types are F, H, R, X).
AVSSAMPLESectSectSect: section number
AVSSAMPLEA/WA/WA/W: archive (A) or working (W) section half.
AVSSAMPLEtext_idText IDText_ID: automatically generated database identifier for a sample, also carried on the printed labels. This identifier is guaranteed to be unique across all samples.
AVSSAMPLEsample_numberN/ASample Number: automatically generated database identifier for a sample. This is the primary key of the SAMPLE table.
AVSSAMPLElabel_idN/ALabel identifier: automatically generated, human readable name for a sample that is printed on labels. This name is not guaranteed unique across all samples.
AVSSAMPLEsample_nameN/ASample name: short name that may be specified for a sample. You can use an advanced filter to narrow your search by this parameter.
AVSSAMPLEx_sample_stateN/ASample state: Single-character identifier always set to "W" for samples; standards can vary.
AVSSAMPLEx_projectN/AProject: similar in scope to the expedition number, the difference being that the project is the current cruise, whereas expedition could refer to material/results obtained on previous cruises
AVSSAMPLEx_capt_locN/ACaptured location: "captured location," this field is usually null and is unnecessary because any sample captured on the JR has a sample_number ending in 1, and GCR ending in 2
AVSSAMPLElocationN/ALocation: location that sample was taken; this field is usually null and is unnecessary because any sample captured on the JR has a sample_number ending in 1, and GCR ending in 2
AVSSAMPLEx_sampling_toolN/ASampling tool: sampling tool used to take the sample (e.g., syringe, spatula)
AVSSAMPLEchanged_byN/AChanged by: username of account used to make a change to a sample record
AVSSAMPLEchanged_onN/AChanged on: date/time stamp for change made to a sample record
AVSSAMPLEsample_typeN/ASample type: type of sample from a predefined list (e.g., HOLE, CORE, LIQ)
AVSSAMPLEx_offsetN/AOffset (m): top offset of sample from top of parent sample, expressed in meters.
AVSSAMPLEx_offset_cmN/AOffset (cm): top offset of sample from top of parent sample, expressed in centimeters. This is a calculated field (offset, converted to cm)
AVSSAMPLEx_bottom_offset_cmN/ABottom offset (cm): bottom offset of sample from top of parent sample, expressed in centimeters. This is a calculated field (offset + length, converted to cm)
AVSSAMPLEx_diameterN/ADiameter (cm): diameter of sample, usually applied only to CORE, SECT, SHLF, and WRND samples; however this field is null on both Exp. 390 and 393, so it is no longer populated by Sample Master

AVSSAMPLEx_orig_lenN/AOriginal length (m): field for the original length of a sample; not always (or reliably) populated
AVSSAMPLEx_lengthN/ALength (m): field for the length of a sample [as entered upon creation]
AVSSAMPLEx_length_cmN/ALength (cm): field for the length of a sample. This is a calculated field (length, converted to cm).
AVSSAMPLEstatusN/AStatus: single-character code for the current status of a sample (e.g., active, canceled)
AVSSAMPLEold_statusN/AOld status: single-character code for the previous status of a sample; used by the LIME program to restore a canceled sample
AVSSAMPLEoriginal_sampleN/AOriginal sample: field tying a sample below the CORE level to its parent HOLE sample
AVSSAMPLEparent_sampleN/AParent sample: the sample from which this sample was taken (e.g., for PWDR samples, this might be a SHLF or possibly another PWDR)
AVSSAMPLEstandardN/AStandard: T/F field to differentiate between samples (standard=F) and QAQC standards (standard=T)
AVSSAMPLElogin_byN/ALogin by: username of account used to create the sample (can be the LIMS itself [e.g., SHLFs created when a SECT is created])
AVSSAMPLElogin_dateN/ALogin date: creation date of the sample
Legacy flag: T/F indicator for when a sample is from a previous expedition and is locked/uneditable on this expedition
AVSTESTtest changed_on
TEST changed on: date/time stamp for a change to a test record.
AVSTESTtest date_started

AVSTESTtest group_name

AVSTESTtest status

AVSTESTtest old_status

AVSTESTtest test_number

AVSTESTtest date_received
TEST date received: date/time stamp for the creation of the test record.
AVSTESTtest instrument
TEST instrument [instrument group]: field that describes the instrument group (most often this applies to loggers with multiple sensors); often obscure (e.g., user_input)
AVSTESTtest analysis
TEST analysis: analysis code associated with this test (foreign key to the ANALYSIS table)
AVSTESTtest x_project
TEST project: similar in scope to the expedition number, the difference being that the project is the current cruise, whereas expedition could refer to material/results obtained on previous cruises

AVSCALCULATEDtest order_number

AVSRESULTtest replicate_test

AVSRESULTtest replicate_count

AVSRESULTtest sample_number
TEST sample number: the sample_number of the sample to which this test record is attached; a foreign key to the SAMPLE table
AVSRESULTDepth CSF-A (m)Depth CSF-A (m)Depth CSF-A (m): position of observation expressed relative to the top of the hole.
AVSRESULTDepth CSF-B (m)Depth CSF-B (m)Depth [other] (m): position of observation expressed relative to the top of the hole. The location is presented in a scale selected by the science party or the report user.
AVSRESULTgiesa_raw_asman_id link
RESULT instrument: name of the instrument used
RESULT needle name: serial number of the needle used (H#### for half-space; V#### for full-space)
AVSRESULTmax_torque_angle (deg)
RESULT number of solutions: number of independent valid solutions the SAM method found; the higher this number, the better (and <100 should be carefully checked)
AVSRESULToffset (cm)Offset (cm)RESULT offset (cm): position of the measurement relative to the top of a sample (generally a section)
RESULT spreadsheet uploader ASMAN_ID: serial number of the ASMAN link for the spreadsheet uploader file
AVSRESULTrotation_rate (deg/sec)
RESULT spreadsheet uploader filename: file name of the spreadsheet uploader file
AVSRESULTshear_strength (kN/m²)
RESULT start time (s): the starting time of the experiment in seconds from initialization
RESULT average thermal conductivity (W/(m*K), SAM): mean result of successive thermal conductivity observations using the SAM method
AVSSAMPLEsample descriptionSample commentsSAMPLE comment: contents of the SAMPLE.description field, usually shown on reports as "Sample comments"
AVSTESTtest test_commentTest commentsTEST comment: contents of the TEST.comment field, usually shown on reports as "Test comments"
AVSRESULTresult commentsResult commentsRESULT comment: contents of a result parameter with name = "comment," usually shown on reports as "Result comments"


This document originated from Word document AVS_QSG_372.docx (see Archived Versions below for a file copy) written by T. Cobb (2017-12-18). Credits for subsequent changes to this document are given in the page history.

All improvements to the Quick Start Guides and User Guides are a communal effort, with honorable mention to the group of LOs, ALOs, and technicians who have helped.

Archived Versions

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  1. Unknown User (25dbb4e563432e130164eb68f519000c)

    Reviewed by Nicolette 6 August 2018