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Title:
SOIL PENETRATING DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/054855
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a soil penetrating device, comprising: a liquid feed line configured for feeding a pressurized liquid, and a soil penetrating lance comprising a substantially straight hollow cylinder having a first end with an liquid inlet and a second end with an liquid outlet, wherein the first end is in fluid communication with the liquid reservoir, wherein the soil penetrating lance is configured for transporting the pressurized liquid from the first end to the second end and for ejecting pressurized liquid supplied by the liquid reservoir from the liquid outlet as the soil penetrating lance is inserted in the soil by penetration, the soil penetrating device further comprising an imaging device which is provided within the soil penetrating lance, wherein the imaging device faces the liquid outlet and is configured for imaging the environment adjacent to the second end of the soil penetrating lance.

Inventors:
VAN DER ROEST, Dick (Broekstraat 19 B, 7217 CN Harfsen, NL)
Application Number:
NL2018/050573
Publication Date:
March 21, 2019
Filing Date:
September 06, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
VOLKERWESSELS INTELLECTUELE EIGENDOM B.V. (Podium 9, 3826 PA Amersfoort, NL)
International Classes:
E02D1/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2014066852A22014-05-01
Foreign References:
FR2691257A11993-11-19
US20160076203A12016-03-17
FR2691257A11993-11-19
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VAN TRIER, Norbertus Henricus Gerardus (Octrooibureau Vriesendorp & Gaade B.V, Koninginnegracht 19, 2514 AB Den Haag, NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
C L A I M S

1. Soil penetrating device, comprising: a soil penetrating lance comprising a substantially straight hollow cylinder having a first end with a liquid inlet and a second end with a liquid outlet, wherein the first liquid inlet is connectable to a liquid feed line,

wherein the soil penetrating lance is configured for transporting pressurized liquid from the first end to the second end and for ejecting pressurized liquid from the liquid outlet as the soil penetrating lance is inserted in the soil by penetration,

the soil penetrating device further comprising an imaging device which is provided within the soil penetrating lance, wherein the imaging device faces the liquid outlet and is configured for imaging the environment adjacent to the second end of the soil penetrating lance.

2. Soil penetrating device according to claim 1, wherein the imaging device is removable arranged within the soil penetrating lance.

3. Soil penetrating device according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the imaging device is configured to be maintained in position by the liquid being transported through the soil penetrating lance.

4. Soil penetrating device according any one of the preceding claims, wherein the imaging device comprises an imaging body and an umbilical line which is attached to the imaging body, and wherein the umbilical line extends from the imaging body towards the first end of the soil penetrating lance.

5. Soil penetrating device according to claim 4, wherein the soil penetrating lance comprises a line outlet, preferably at or near the first end of the soil penetrating lace, wherein the umbilical line exits the soil penetrating lance via the line outlet and wherein, preferably, the umbilical line is engaged by the line outlet.

6. Soil penetrating device according to claim 4 or claim 5, wherein the imaging body is located at or near the second end of the soil penetrating lance.

7. Soil penetrating device according to any one of the claims 4 to 6, wherein the imaging device is coupled to the soil penetrating lance by the umbilical line.

8. Soil penetrating device according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a gas pipe having a first end with an gas inlet, and a second end with a gas outlet, wherein the gas inlet is connectable to a gas feed line, wherein the gas outlet is positioned at or near the liquid outlet, and

wherein the gas pipe is configured for transporting pressurized gas from the first end to the second end and for ejecting pressurized gas from the gas outlet .

9. Soil penetrating device according to claim 8, wherein the gas pipe comprises a first part and a second part, wherein the second part is orientated at an angle with respect to the first part.

10. Soil penetrating device according to claim 9, wherein the gas pipe, in particular the second part thereof, in longitudinal direction extends beyond the second end of the soil penetrating lance, or wherein the second part of the gas pipe is placed at least partially inside the hollow cylinder of the soil penetrating lance.

11. Soil penetrating device according to claim 9 or 10, wherein the soil penetrating lance has an outer surface, wherein the first part of the gas pipe is secured to the outer surface of the soil penetrating lance, and the second part of the gas pipe is directed towards the center line of the soil penetrating lance.

12. Soil penetrating device according to any one of the claims 8 to 11, wherein the gas pipe comprises a valve which is moveable between an open position, in which gas is allowed to pass, and a closed position, in which gas is prevented from passing, preferably wherein an actuator is provided for alternately moving the valve between the open position and the closed position.

13. Soil penetrating device according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a detachable nozzle with a flow channel extending there through and a nozzle outlet at a side facing away from the soil penetrating lance, wherein the detachable nozzle is detachably attached to the soil penetrating lance at or near the second end thereof, such that liquid ejected from the liquid outlet flows through the flow channel and is ejected from the nozzle outlet.

14. Soil penetrating device according to claim 13, wherein the detachable nozzle and/or the flow channel thereof have the shape of a conical elliptical frustum.

15. Soil penetrating device according to claim 13 or 14, wherein the detachable nozzle is manufactured from a polyamide, such as nylon.

16. Soil penetrating device according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a return pipe having a first end with a return inlet and a second end with a return outlet, wherein the first end with the return inlet is positioned at or near the second end of the soil penetrating lance.

17. Soil penetrating device according to claim 15, wherein the second end of the return pipe is configured to be coupled to an analyzing device configured for analyzing the return fluid.

18. Soil penetrating device according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the soil penetrating lance is further configured to receive a sampling device, such as a clipper or gripper, for taking a sample of soil present at or near the liquid outlet of the soil penetrating lance.

19. Soil penetrating device according to claim 18, wherein the soil penetrating lance comprises a sample pipe having a first end with a sample inlet and a second end with a sample outlet, wherein the first end with the sample inlet is positioned at or near the second end of the soil penetrating lance, wherein the sample pipe is configured to receive the sampling device.

20. Soil penetrating device according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the imaging device is selected from a group comprising an endoscopic camera, a CCD camera, a CMOS camera and a thermal camera.

21. Soil penetrating device according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a liquid reservoir for holding and/or pressurizing a liquid, and a liquid feed line configured for feeding a pressurized liquid which is connected to the liquid inlet of the soil penetrating lance.

22. Soil penetrating device according to any one of the claims 8-12, further comprising a gas reservoir for holding and/or pressurizing a gas, and a gas feed line for feeding a pressurized gas which is connected to the gas inlet of the gas pipe.

23. Soil penetrating device according to claim

21, wherein the liquid within the liquid reservoir is water or a mixture comprising water.

24. Soil penetrating device according to claim

22, wherein the gas within the gas reservoir is air.

25. Soil penetrating device according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the soil penetrating lance is configured to receive a sensing device, such as a sensor, for sensing a parameter of the soil or of an object adjacent to the liquid outlet of the soil penetrating lance.

26. Soil penetrating device according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the hollow cylinder of the soil penetrating device has a cross-section shape selected from the group comprising circular, quadrangular and elliptical.

27. Method using a for imaging the environment adjacent to a second end of a soil penetrating lance by means of a soil penetrating device according to any one of the preceding claims, the method comprising the steps of driving the soil penetrating lance into the soil, wherein the second end of the soil penetrating lance is driven into the soil first; and

imaging the environment adjacent to the second end of the soil penetrating lance,

wherein a liquid is ejected from the liquid outlet of the soil penetrating lance during the steps of driving and imaging.

28. Method according to claim 27, wherein the step of driving the soil penetrating lance into the soil further comprises the step of ejecting a gas from a gas outlet of a gas pipe at or near the liquid outlet of the soil penetrating lance.

29. Method according to claim 28, wherein the gas is ejected in a pulsed manner.

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Description:
Soil penetrating device

BACKGROUND

The invention relates to a soil penetrating device .

When surveying sites for installing, replacing or removing submerged objects, for instance underground infrastructures such as pipes for transport of liquid or gas, communication lines and/or electrical power lines, it is desirable to know whether at a specific location of the site such an object is embedded in the soil beneath the surface.

It is known in the art that the presence of an object, such as a pipe or power line, that is submerged in a relatively soft soil, may be detected by driving a soil penetrating device into the ground and pushing the soil penetrating device downwards until it either hits the object or extends into the ground to a depth at which the object is expected to lie. When the soil penetrating device hits an object, the person driving the soil penetrating device into the ground can determine the location of the submerged object based on how deep the soil penetrating device has been pushed into the ground. When no object is hit, it can be concluded that no such submerged object was present in the soil at the locations where the soil was pierced by the soil penetrating device.

A soil penetrating device is known from FR 2 691

257 Al . FR 2 691 257 Al describes a penetrometer having a rod which slides in a cylinder under the action of a piston. The cylinder contains a gas filled chamber which is used as the energy source. This chamber is pressurized before the descent of the penetrometer. A second chamber is charged with a pressurized liquid having a remotely calibrated liquid pressure loss. The rod of the penetrometer is free to move in the second chamber.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The known soil penetrating device has as a disadvantage that it is unclear to the person driving the soil penetrating device into the soil, whether the soil penetrating device did hit a submerged object of interest or whether the penetrating device did hit for example a tree root or a rock.

It is an object of the present invention to ameliorate or to eliminate one or more disadvantages of the prior art, or to at least provide an alternative soil penetrating device.

According to a first aspect, the invention provides a soil penetrating device, comprising:

a soil penetrating lance comprising a substantially straight hollow cylinder having a first end with a liquid inlet and a second end with a liquid outlet, wherein the first liquid inlet is connectable to a liquid feed line,

wherein the soil penetrating lance is configured for transporting pressurized liquid from the first end to the second end and for ejecting pressurized liquid from the liquid outlet as the soil penetrating lance is inserted in the soil by penetration,

the soil penetrating device further comprising an imaging device which is provided within the soil penetrating lance, wherein the imaging device faces the liquid outlet and is configured for imaging the environment adjacent to the second end of the soil penetrating lance.

During use of the soil penetrating device, the soil penetrating lance is driven into the soil by a user. The second end of the soil penetrating lance is driven into the soil firstly. When driving the soil penetrating lance into the soil, liquid is ejected from the liquid outlet at the second end of the soil penetrating lance. The ejected liquid impinges on soil directly below the liquid outlet and subsequently moves upwards along the soil penetrating lance. Due to the ejected liquid impinging on the soil and moving through the soil, the soil at or near the second end of and around the soil penetrating lance becomes liquefied and/or is flushed away. It is therefore relatively easy to drive the soil penetrating device into the soil.

Additionally, by means of the imaging device it is possible for the user to see what is located beneath the soil penetrating device when being driven into the soil. For example, the user can see that the soil penetrating device has hit for example a rock, instead of an object of interest. The user is then aware of that further detection for submerged objects is necessary and is prevented from for example digging a hole for replacing the object of interest. Furthermore the imaging device may be used for determining whether the correct of object has been found, for example by identifying the found object on basis of a readable identificator which is present on the found object. It is therefore possible to determine which pipe or power line is placed on a certain position, such that the user knows or has an indication that the object of interest has been found or not. The soil penetrating device according to the invention thus prevents the user from doing unnecessary work and saves the user time.

Further, it is possible to acquire information of the soil itself by means of the imaging device, in particular an imaging device with a light source. By illuminating the soil by the light source and subsequently collecting reflected light for generating an image of the soil, it is possible to acquire information for example about texture distribution of the soil material, roots, soil life, fungi and color of soil particles. This information can be used for studying the soil.

In an embodiment the imaging device is removable arranged within the soil penetrating lance. A longer stay of in the imaging device in a humid environment can be detrimental to the imaging device. For example when the soil penetrating device remains placed in the soil for a longer time period for any reason, it may beneficial for the imaging device to be removed from the soil penetrating device. An advantage of this embodiment is thus that it is possible to remove the imaging device when desirable.

In an embodiment the imaging device is configured to be maintained in position by the liquid being transported through the soil penetrating lance. It is advantageous that the transport of liquid through the soil penetrating lance contributes to the maintenance of the position of the imaging device.

In an embodiment the imaging device comprises an imaging body and an umbilical line which is attached to the imaging body, and wherein the umbilical line extends from the imaging body towards the first end of the soil penetrating lance. In a further embodiment the soil penetrating lance comprises a line outlet, preferably at or near the first end of the soil penetrating lace, wherein the umbilical line exits the soil penetrating lance via the line outlet and wherein, preferably, the umbilical line is engaged by the line outlet. An advantage of this embodiment is that the imaging device can be arranged within the soil penetrating lance relatively easily. It is only necessary to place the imaging device with the soil penetrating lance and to pass the umbilical line through the line outlet by which the umbilical line is engaged, in order to provide the imaging device within the soil penetrating device.

In an embodiment the imaging body is located at or near the second end of the soil penetrating lance. In this position of the imaging device, the distance between the imaging device and the soil or object to be imaged is kept to a minimum, causing the amount of details of the soil or the object imaged by means of the imaging device to be larger.

In an embodiment the imaging device is coupled to the soil penetrating lance by the umbilical line. By coupling the imaging device to the soil penetrating lance by only the umbilical line, the imaging device can be coupled to the lance relatively easily without the need for complex coupling constructions.

In an embodiment the soil penetrating device further comprises a gas pipe having a first end with an gas inlet, and a second end with a gas outlet, wherein the gas inlet is connectable to a gas feed line, wherein the gas outlet is positioned at or near the liquid outlet, and

wherein the gas pipe is configured for transporting pressurized gas from the first end to the second end and for ejecting pressurized gas from the gas outlet .

In an embodiment the gas pipe comprises a first part and a second part, wherein the second part is orientated at an angle with respect to the first part. In a further embodiment the gas pipe, in particular the second part thereof, in longitudinal direction extends beyond the second end of the soil penetrating lance, or the second part of the gas pipe is placed at least partially inside the hollow cylinder of the soil penetrating lance. In a further embodiment the soil penetrating lance has an outer surface, wherein the first part of the gas pipe is secured to the outer surface of the soil penetrating lance, and the second part of the gas pipe is directed towards the center line of the soil penetrating lance. Because of the second part of the gas pipe being directed towards the center line of the soil penetrating lance, the gas ejected from the gas pipe gets mixed with the liquid ejected from the soil penetrating lance. The gas will be present in the liquid in the form of bubbles. The combination of liquid and bubbles with gas have a positive effect on flushing away the soil beneath the soil penetrating lance.

In an embodiment the gas pipe comprises a valve which is moveable between an open position, in which gas is allowed to pass, and a closed position, in which gas is prevented from passing, preferably wherein an actuator is provided for alternately moving the valve between the open position and the closed position. By alternating the valve between the closed position and the open position, preferably at a predetermined speed, a pulse of gas is generated when the valve is moved from the closed position to the open position. A pulse of gas has a higher momentum on the soil in comparison with a constant flow of gas. By delivering a series of gas pulses, the effect of a gas hammer is effectuated and the soil will be loosened more effectively. Therefore, driving the soil penetrating device into the soil becomes easier.

In an embodiment the soil penetrating device further comprises a detachable nozzle with a flow channel extending there through and a nozzle outlet at a side facing away from the soil penetrating lance, wherein the detachable nozzle is detachably attached to the soil penetrating lance at or near the second end thereof, such that liquid ejected from the liquid outlet flows through the flow channel and is ejected from the nozzle outlet. In a further embodiment the detachable nozzle and/or the flow channel have the shape of a conical elliptical frustum. The soil penetrating device can also be used for generating one or more slits in the soil. By providing a flow channel with the shape of a conical elliptical frustum, the shape of the jet of liquid ejected from the nozzle outlet is diverging in at least one plane. In other words, the jet of liquid is fan shaped in at least one plane. As a result the liquid impinges on a larger area of soil and therefore a larger amount of soil is removed simultaneously, whereby a slit is formed in the soil. An advantage of a slit is that the soil penetrating lance can be tilted around a tilting axis substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the soil penetrating lance. By tilting the soil penetrating device, for example over an angle in a range between 1° and 35°, a larger part of soil can be inspected by the user while the soil penetrating device needs to be driven into the soil only once.

In an embodiment the detachable nozzle is manufactured from a polyamide, such as nylon. An advantage of using nylon is that it is relatively easy to use it in a manufacturing process and, additionally, it gives a reliable and rigid result.

In an embodiment the soil penetrating device further comprises a return pipe having a first end with a return inlet and a second end with a return outlet, wherein the first end with the return inlet is positioned at or near the second end of the soil penetrating lance. In a further embodiment the second end of the return pipe is configured to be coupled to an analyzing device configured for analyzing the return fluid. This is advantageous as it gives to possibility to analyze the return fluid relatively easily or continuously, since there is no need to collect return fluid from the upper surface of the soil.

In an embodiment the soil penetrating lance is further configured to receive a sampling device, such as a clipper or gripper, for taking a sample of soil present at or near the liquid outlet of the soil penetrating lance. In a further embodiment the soil penetrating lance comprises a sample pipe having a first end with a sample inlet and a second end with a sample outlet, wherein the first end with the sample inlet is positioned at or near the second end of the soil penetrating lance, wherein the sample pipe is configured to receive the sampling device.

In an embodiment the imaging device is selected from a group comprising an endoscopic camera, a CCD camera, a CMOS camera and a thermal camera.

In an embodiment the soil penetrating device comprises a liquid reservoir for holding and/or pressurizing a liquid, which is in fluid communication with the liquid feed line. In an embodiment the liquid within the liquid reservoir is water or a mixture comprising water. It is advantageous to use water as it is environment friendly, easy to get and requires no safety measures in order to be used. The mixture may comprise a solvent and/or a preservative in addition to the water. The preservative is used for preventing the volatile hydrocarbons present in the soil from evaporating, such that the volatile hydrocarbons are flushed away together with the mixture and can be used or is ready for further analytical purposes.

In an embodiment the soil penetrating lance is configured to receive a sensing device, such as a sensor, for sensing a parameter of the soil or of an object adjacent to the liquid outlet of the soil penetrating lance. The sensing device can be a coil for detection of a current and/or a phase impurity in a three-phase current, a temperature sensor, a sensor for detecting the wall or coating thickness of a submerged pipe, a microphone, and/or a false light source, optionally in combination with the imaging device.

In an embodiment the soil penetrating device comprises a gas reservoir for holding and/or pressurizing a gas, which is in fluid communication with the liquid feed line. In an embodiment the gas within the gas reservoir is air. It is advantageous to use air as it is environment friendly, easy to get and requires no safety measures in order to be used.

In an embodiment the hollow cylinder of the soil penetrating device has a cross-section shape selected from the group comprising circular, quadrangular and elliptical.

According to a second aspect, the invention provides a method using a for imaging the environment adjacent to a second end of a soil penetrating lance by means of a soil penetrating device according to the first aspect of the invention, the method comprising the steps of driving the soil penetrating lance into the soil, wherein the second end of the soil penetrating lance is driven into the soil first; and

imaging the environment adjacent to the second end of the soil penetrating lance,

wherein a liquid is ejected from the liquid outlet of the soil penetrating lance during the steps of driving and imaging.

This method has at least the same advantages as mentioned above in relation to the soil penetrating device.

In an embodiment the step of driving the soil penetrating lance into the soil further comprises the step of ejecting a gas from a gas outlet of a gas pipe at or near the liquid outlet of the soil penetrating lance. In a further embodiment the gas is ejected in a pulsed manner

The various aspects and features described and shown in the specification can be applied, individually, wherever possible. These individual aspects, in particular the aspects and features described in the attached dependent claims, can be made subject of divisional patent applications .

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be elucidated on the basis of an exemplary embodiment shown in the attached drawings, in which :

Figure 1A and IB show an isometric view of an embodiment of a soil penetrating device according to the invention and a cross-section view of the soil penetrating device along line IB-IB, respectively;

Figure 2A and 2B show an isometric view of another embodiment of a soil penetrating device according to the invention and a cross-section view of the soil penetrating device along line IIB-IIB, respectively;

Figure 3A-3C show an isometric view of an embodiment of a soil penetrating device with a detachable nozzle according to the invention, a cross-section view of the soil penetrating device along line IIIB-IIIB, and an isometric view of the detachable nozzle, respectively; and

Figure 4A and 4B show an isometric view of another embodiment of a soil penetrating device according to the invention and a cross-section view of the soil penetrating device along line IVB-IVB, respectively.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION An embodiment of a soil penetrating device 1 according to the invention is shown in figure 1A. The soil penetrating device 1 comprises a liquid reservoir 101 for holding and pressurizing a liquid, such as water. The soil penetrating device 1 further comprises a soil penetrating lance 102. The soil penetrating lance 102 has a substantially straight hollow cylinder 103, in this example a circular hollow cylinder 103. The hollow cylinder 103 has a first end 104 with a liquid inlet 105, and a second end

106 with a liquid outlet 107. As shown in figure IB the liquid inlet 105 is in fluid communication with the liquid reservoir 101 by means of a fluid feed line 110 via which pressurized liquid is transported from the liquid reservoir 101 to the hollow cylinder 103. The liquid that has entered the hollow cylinder 103 is subsequently transported from the first end 104 of the hollow cylinder 103 to the second end 106 of the hollow cylinder 103. The pressurized liquid is ejected from the hollow cylinder via the liquid outlet

107 thereof in the direction E.

At the first end 104 of the hollow cylinder 103, the hollow cylinder 103 comprises a handle 108 with an operating lever 109. The operating lever 109 is mutually moveable in operating direction A between an open position, which is shown in figure 1A, and a non-shown closed position. The transport of pressurized liquid from the liquid reservoir 101 to the liquid inlet 105 of the soil penetrating lance 103 can be controlled via the operating lever 109 and a non-shown operating mechanism. In use, the soil penetrating device 1, in particular the soil penetrating lance 102 is driven into soil. The second end 106 of the soil penetrating lance 102 is driven into the soil first. During driving the soil penetrating lance 102, pressurized liquid is ejected from the liquid outlet 107, wherein the pressurized liquid has a pressure of for example 6 bar. The ejected liquid impinges on the soil which becomes liquefied and/or is flushed away, such that a hole is created in the soil. After the liquid has been ejected from the soil penetrating lance 102, the liquid or at least a part thereof moves upwards along the soil penetrating lance 102 towards the upper surface of the soil .

The soil penetrating device 1 is intended for determining the presence of an object, such as a pipe or power line, that is submerged in relatively soft soil. During determining the presence of a submerged object, the soil penetrating device 1 can hit an object which is not a pipe or power line, but for example a tree root or a rock. The soil penetrating device 1 can also be intended to acquire information of the soil itself.

In order to be able to see what kind of object the soil penetrating device 1 has hit, an imaging device 111 is provided within the hollow cylinder 103 of the soil penetrating lance 102. As best shown in figure IB the imaging device 111 has an imaging body 112 and an umbilical line 113, for example a flexible umbilical line 113. Although not shown, it is noted that the imaging body comprises the components necessary for imaging, such as a lens and a processor. The imaging body 112 is placed at or near the second end 106 of the hollow cylinder 103, such that the field of view 115 of the imaging device 112 is directed towards and through the liquid outlet 107 of the hollow cylinder 103, as shown in figure IB. The imaging device 111 is further provided with an umbilical line 113 which is connected to the imaging body 112 and extends from the imaging body 112 towards and beyond the first end 104 of the soil penetrating lance 102. As shown in figure 1A the umbilical line 113 is connected with a display 114. The umbilical line 113 is configured for transferring power, data or commands to the imaging body 112, or to transfer imaging data from the imaging body 112 toward the display 114. At the display 114 the object hit by the soil penetrating device 1 is shown.

As shown in figure IB the imaging device 111, in particular the imaging body 112 thereof is mounted loosely in the hollow cylinder 103 of the soil penetrating lance 102. The imaging device 111 is connected to the soil penetrating lance 102 at the second end 104 thereof by means of the umbilical line 113, which in this example is clamped in the handle 108. In use, when the second end 106 of the hollow cylinder 103 is pointed downwards and liquid is flowing through the hollow cylinder 103 towards the second end 106 thereof, the imaging device 111, in particular the imaging body 112 thereof, is kept in place by the liquid flowing through the hollow cylinder 103 and around the imaging device 111. Further, it is noted that the imaging device 111 is able to image the soil or object beneath the liquid outlet 107 while liquid, in this example water, is present between the imaging device 111, in particular the imaging body 112, and the soil or object beneath the liquid outlet 105.

Although in figure IB it is shown that the umbilical line 113 of the imaging device 111 is clamped in the handle 108, it is possible that the imaging device 111 can be removed from the hollow cylinder 103. For example, it may be possible to remove or to replace an upper part of the handle 8 to remove the imaging device 111 from the soil penetrating device 1.

It is noted that in this embodiment of the invention the imaging device 111 is endoscopic camera which optionally comprises a non-shown light source for illuminating the area beneath the imaging body 111. In this case the imaging body 112 has a substantially circular cylindrical shape. Furthermore, it is noted that the liquid reservoir 101 and the display 114 as shown in figure IB can be placed or mounted in or on a vehicle, such as a quad or a car, or may be combined in a backpack adapted for carrying the liquid reservoir 101 and the display 114.

The hollow cylinder 103 of the soil penetrating lance 102 of figures 1A and IB has an outer diameter 116 of approximately 16 mm and an inner diameter 117 of approximately 12 mm. The imaging body 112 of the imaging device 111 has an outer diameter 118 of approximately 7 mm.

Another embodiment of a soil penetrating device 1 according to the invention is shown in figures 2A and 2B. The soil penetrating device 1 as shown in figures 2A and 2B has the features described in relation to the embodiment shown in and described in relation to figures 1A and IB. The reference numbers of figures 2A and 2B correspond to the reference numbers of figures 1A and IB, but then increased by 100.

The soil penetrating device 1 as shown in figures 2A and 2B is additionally provided with a gas reservoir 221 for holding and pressurizing a gas, and a gas pipe 216. The gas pipe 216 has a hollow cylinder 217 with a gas outlet 222 and a gas inlet, and is attached to the outer surface of the soil penetrating lance 202. The gas inlet is in fluid communication with the gas reservoir 221 via the gas feed line 220, such that gas is transported from the gas reservoir 221 to and through the hollow cylinder 217. As best shown in figure 2B the hollow cylinder 217 has a first part 218 which is substantially parallel to the soil penetrating lance 202, and a second part 219 which is slanted with respect to the first part 218. The second part 219 is directed towards the center line of the hollow cylinder 203 and extends through the wall of the hollow cylinder 203 of the soil penetrating lance 202, as is shown in figure 2B. Thus, in use, the air is ejected from the gas pipe 216 towards the liquid ejected from the liquid outlet 207 of the soil penetrating lance 202. Gas ejected from the gas outlet 222 in the direction A gets therefore mixed with the liquid ejected from the liquid outlet 207, thereby generating a gas-liquid mixture.

As shown in figure 2B a valve, in particular a ball valve 223 is arranged within said hollow cylinder 217. The ball valve 223 is moveable between a non-shown open position, in which gas is allowed to pass, and a closed position as shown, in which gas is prevented from passing. An actuator 224 is arranged at the outside of the hollow cylinder 217, wherein the actuator 224 is operatively coupled with the ball valve 223. The ball valve 223 can alternately be moved between the open position and the closed position manually or automatically by means of the actuator 224. By alternating the ball valve between the open position and the closed position at a predetermined speed, the gas leaving the gas outlet 222 will be ejected therefrom in a pulsed manner. This may be accomplished by means of rotating the ball valve 223 at a predetermined speed via the actuator 224. It is noted that the pressurized gas, such as air, may have a pressure of about 8 bar .

Another embodiment of a soil penetrating device 1 according to the invention is shown in figures 3A and 3B. The soil penetrating device 1 as shown in figures 3A and 3B has the features described in relation to the embodiment shown in and described in relation to figures 2A and 2B. The reference numbers of figures 3A and 3B correspond to the reference numbers of figures 2A and 2B, but then increased by 100.

The soil penetrating device 1 as shown in figures

3A and 3B is additionally provided with a detachable nozzle 330 which is attached to the soil penetrating lance 302 at the second end 306 thereof. The detachable nozzle 330 has a nozzle body 332 which defines a flow channel that extends through the detachable nozzle 330. The flow channel ends in an elliptical nozzle outlet 331. As shown in figures 3A-3C the detachable nozzle 330 has the shape of a conical elliptical frustum, which is also the case for the flow channel thereof. Liquid ejected from the liquid outlet 307 enters the flow channel of the detachable nozzle 330 and is subsequently ejected from the nozzle outlet 331. During use, liquid ejected from the liquid outlet 307 is subjected to a pressure drop, so that the liquid jet exiting the liquid outlet 307 expands throughout the entire flow channel and follows the inner contours of the flow channel. The shape of the liquid jet ejected from the nozzle outlet 331 is a continuation of the inner contours of the flow channel, such that the liquid jet has a fan shape in at least one plane.

Another embodiment of a soil penetrating device 1 according to the invention is shown in figures 4A and 4B. The soil penetrating device 1 as shown in figures 4A and 4B has the features described in relation to the embodiment shown in and described in relation to figures 2A and 2B. The reference numbers of figures 4A and 4B correspond to the reference numbers of figures 2A and 2B, but then increased by 200.

The soil penetrating device 1 as shown in figures 4A and 4B is additionally provided with a return pipe 440. The return pipe 440 comprises a hollow cylinder which is attached to the outer surface of the soil penetrating lance 402. The return pipe 440 has a first end 443 with an return inlet 444 and a second end 442 with a return outlet 445, wherein the first end 443 is positioned adjacent to the second end 406 of the soil penetrating lance 402, and the second end 442 is positioned near the first end 404 of the soil penetrating lance 402.

The return pipe 440 is configured for returning a mixture of soil and liquid to for example the upper surface of the soil. During use, liquid is ejected continuously from the soil penetrating lance 402 in order to make a hole in the soil. Due to the constant flow of liquid, the pressure within the space surrounding the second end 406 of the soil penetrating lance 402 is sufficient high to force the mixture of liquid and soil into the return pipe 440 and to move the mixture upwards through the return pipe 440. Subsequently the mixture of liquid and soil is ejected from the return pipe 440 via the return outlet 445.

Alternatively a non-shown analyzing device, such as a spectrograph, is in fluid communication with the return outlet 445 of the return pipe 440, such that the mixture of fluid and soil can be analyzed.

Optionally, the return pipe 440 has an increased diameter, which optionally has an elliptical cross-section, wherein a non-shown suction system is in fluid communication with the return outlet 445 of the return pipe 440. By providing a suction force at the return outlet 445, the liquefied soil can be removed quicker. The soil penetrating device 1 can therefore be used for making a slit in the soil in order to clear an area for digging activities. The slit can also be used to place for example cables or pipelines in the soil.

It is to be understood that the above description is included to illustrate the operation of the preferred embodiments and is not meant to limit the scope of the invention. From the above discussion, many variations will be apparent to one skilled in the art that would yet be encompassed by the scope of the present invention.