Researcher Aids Arkansas Highway Projects Through Subsurface Analysis

Source: Researcher Aids Arkansas Highway Projects Through Subsurface Analysis | University of Arkansas FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A University of Arkansas geotechnical engineer is collaborating with the Arkansas Department of Transportation to map subsurface conditions before road construction begins to identify issues early and help keep highway construction projects on track and on budget. Clint Wood, a civil engineering associate professor and geotechnical engineer, creates profiles of subsurface conditions and soil composition by sending stress waves into the ground and measuring their response at the surface. The non-invasive technology is similar to how ultrasound imaging works on the human body. The technology provides important information for highway designers and construction contractors, who’ve had to rely on imperfect methods for determining subsurface conditions, such as exploratory drilling, a strategy that can miss changes between limited drilling locations. Wood compares designing based on limited exploratory drilling to navigating with an incomplete map. The research is conducted for and in conjunction with the Arkansas Department of Transportation. With an additional $115,318 grant, the transportation department has provided a total of $561,427 in funding. The work focuses on estimating the depth and stiffness of bedrock for new highway alignments and understanding subsurface conditions that cause slope instability. The latter is especially important for understanding how water moves through a slope. Unexpected changes in bedrock depth near slopes can also create pockets where water collects, which can cause the soil in the slope to become saturated, leading to instability. Projects that encounter these issues can face substantial extra costs and delays while designers and contractors adapt the original plan or have to attempt another repair. Those problems can be avoided, or at least minimized, by better understanding the subsurface conditions through non-invasive testing. LIDAR AND DRONE ACCURACY In a separate project, Wood and several other U of A [...]

Collaborative summer at ERIC for freshwater research

Source: Freshwater research: A collaborative summer at ERIC | All In Wisconsin When Amanda Stickney learned about chemistry in sixth grade, her love of math and science clicked.   Amanda Stickney analyzes samples at the ERIC lab. “In high school, I went to a semester boarding school that focused on environmental science and stewardship,” says the recent graduate of UW-Stevens Point’s chemistry program. “That’s when I knew I wanted to do something with environmental chemistry.” Last summer, Stickney had a unique opportunity to expand her laboratory skills at UW Oshkosh’s Environmental Research and Innovation Center (ERIC), the UW System’s most comprehensive research and testing center. Each year ERIC hires about 40 students for its various programs. Historically, most of them have been undergraduates from UW Oshkosh.   A grant from the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin (FCW) helped give students from other UW campuses, including UW-Eau Claire, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout, UW-Superior, UW-Parkside and UW-Whitewater, the opportunity to train at one of ERIC’s three locations — Oshkosh, Manitowoc, or Door County. The FCW grant funded four positions, and an additional three-and-half positions were funded through matching grants.   “We provide opportunities for students to learn the techniques, the workflow and the environment of this type of laboratory,” says Greg Kleinheinz, Viessmann Chair of Sustainable Technology and professor of environmental engineering technology at UW Oshkosh. “One of the goals of our Freshwater Collaborative project was to make inroads with other campuses and bring students from the different campuses together.”   Students spent a week in the ERIC lab training and learning analytical techniques. Because of her major, Stickney worked in the lab all summer, learning how to run the equipment, analyze samples and follow standard operating procedures.   “If I want to work in a lab, I wanted to really learn chemical safety,” she says. “Not everyone can follow an SOP  [Standard Operating Procedure] for [...]

Microbial material modification helps to control frost heave and saline soil solidification

Source: Microbial material modification helps to control frost heave and saline soil solidification Chinese researchers recently conducted a study on process of biogas generation improving physical and mechanical properties of soil. A research team led by Sheng Yu from the Northwest Institute of Eco-Environmental Resources (NIEER) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), together with their colleagues from Southeast University, has implanted Pseudomonas Stutzeri in the soil pores and induced it to produce nitrogen bubbles, and they also analyzed the influence mechanism of mitigation of sand liquefaction using biogas bubbles. In the natural environment, there are many microorganisms in rock and soil masses, and its metabolic activities will change physical and mechanical properties of rock and soil. These microbial activities can be controlled, enhanced and used to solve geotechnical problems, and such methods have been named as biogeotechnologies. As an emerging interdisciplinary field, it has developed rapidly in recent years due to its advantages of low carbon and friendly environment. From the perspective of practical application, biogeotechnologies can be used for rock and soil reinforcement, sealing of water leakage, prevention of sand liquefaction, soil erosion resistance control, and contaminated soil treatment and so on. Based on the above research results, the NIEER research group is exploring to apply biogeotechnologies to frost heave control and saline soil solidification, and has achieved some preliminary results. In this study, the researchers applied biogas generation process to soil frost heaving treatment, and studied improvement of biogas production performance under low temperature conditions. Results showed that sealing effect of bubbles and microorganisms on the water migration path can reduce soil permeability coefficient by one order of magnitude. Besides, they also introduced biomineralization to solve the prominent problem of saline soil with high chloride content in Northwestern China. Based on excellent curing effect, they analyzed the deterioration mechanism of [...]

WIU Graduates First Civil Engineering and Electrical Engineering Students

Source: WIU Graduates First Civil Engineering and Electrical Engineering Students Associate Professor of Engineering Blair McDonald and Jeremy May, new alumnus of WIU Civil Engineering MACOMB, IL - - The Civil Engineering and Electrical Engineering programs on Western Illinois University's Quad Cities campus have marked their first graduates. Jeremy May, of Geneseo, IL, received his degree in Civil Engineering, and Dakota Wilson, of East Moline, IL; Jeffrey Latham, of Davenport IA; and Travis Ohlsen, of Moline IL received their degrees in Electrical Engineering in May. In Spring 2019, the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) approved new degrees in Electrical Engineering (EE) and Civil Engineering (CE) within the WIU School of Engineering, which began in Fall 2020. Western's Civil Engineering program prepares graduates to work in the structural, geotechnical, transportation and water resources areas of either government (local or federal) or private practice. While May is the first Civil Engineering graduate from this new program, several students have graduated in recent years with a civil engineering emphasis, and all are now working with companies such as Shive-Hattery, Inc., Bruner, Cooper & Zuck, Inc., the US Army Corps of Engineers and Illinois Department of Transportation. Many WIU Engineering graduates have gone on to obtain their professional licensures, which involves a four-year process following graduation. Electrical Engineering develops students' knowledge of rapidly expanding technologies in electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. One of the requirements of an EE degree is to take an additional math course, Linear Algebra, which allows all EE students to automatically obtain a minor in Mathematics. Latham, Ohlsen and Wilson all make up the EE Senior Design Team for an Autonomous Tracked Vehicle. Latham plans to continue his education with the University of Arizona's Engineering-Robotics and Automation graduate program. Ohlsen recently completed his internship with KONE Escalator Supply Unit and began working full [...]

UD researchers study climate change impacts on soils at military installations

Source: The Ground Underfoot - Civil and Environmental Engineering UD researchers study climate change impacts on soils at military installations We walk over it, drive over it and build on it. Yet, it is probably safe to say, most of us rarely think about the ground beneath our feet. Underneath the grass, concrete, asphalt and other materials in our built environment, however, soil provides structure and stability for what lies above. The United States military wants to understand the role that climate impacts, such as flooding, storm surge or sea level rise, will have on soils at its coastal military bases and facilities, which are critical to national security. Soil conditions can affect the integrity of the ground underpinning buildings, roads, bridges and more. For example, if a soil’s pH were to rise significantly, due to increased salt content-containing ions such as sodium from storm surge, it could create saline conditions that could hamper the ground’s ability to support this necessary infrastructure. Understanding these threats will enable faster and more accurate routing and maneuverability for U.S. forces. The Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) is collaborating with the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Louisiana State University to understand how vulnerable military installations along coasts may be affected by soil changes due to sea level rise and coastal flooding. DENIN has received $3.79 million in first- and second-year funding from the U.S. Department of Defense to start this work, and is eligible for an additional $3.82 million in continued funding over the following two years. Led by DENIN Director Don Sparks, Unidel S. Hallock du Pont Chair of Soil and Environmental Chemistry in UD’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, the UD effort includes interdisciplinary collaboration with Yan Jin, Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor [...]

3D Finite Element Analysis of a Contiguous Pile Wall

Source: 3D Finite Element Analysis of a Contiguous Pile Wall Source: RS3 | 3D Finite Element Software For Advanced Analysis | Rocscience 3D Finite Element Analysis of a Contiguous Pile Wall Introduction This article provides a brief summary of a 3D finite element analysis carried out using RS3 to model a contiguous pile retaining wall at the site of a proposed commercial development in the UK. The development site is located on sloping ground approximately 35 m from a motorway cutting. Due to the sloping topography of the site, cut and fill earthworks are to be undertaken to form a level development plateau upon which a large warehouse is to be built. This will require the construction of a circa 400 m long contiguous pile retaining wall to support the ground along the site’s upslope boundary where ground levels will be reduced by up to 8.4 m. Wall Design A plan showing the arrangement of the piles and the 2.0 m wide by 0.8 m deep capping beam is shown in Figure 1. The main 900 mm diameter piles are 17 m long and are staggered in a zigzag arrangement at 0.25 m offsets either side of the capping beam centerline. Interspersed mid-way between the main piles are 600 mm diameter infill piles. The infill piles are located along the capping beam centerline and are 11 m long. Figure 1: Pile and capping beam arrangement Ground Conditions The ground conditions are summarized in Figure 2 which shows a 2D section perpendicular to the wall alignment at the location where the retained height attains its maximum value of 8.4 m. The succession of strata comprises a veneer of clay-rich Glacial Till overlying Coal Measures bedrock. The Coal Measures bedrock is dominated by siltstone and mudstone and has been divided into three [...]

Parameters Variation Model Customization and Sensitivity Analyses

Source: Parameters Variation: Model Customization and Sensitivity Analyses Parameters Variation Model Customization and Sensitivity Analyses A well-known engineering challenge in the framework of finite element (FE) analysis-based design is the large number of input factors involved in geotechnical computational models. There is always a significant amount of uncertainties associated with the properties of geomaterials, being naturally highly heterogeneous materials. In the context of model calibration and validation, conducting a sensitivity analysis is very important. This can determine the key factors which govern the system and efficiently characterize the geotechnical variability for any considered design problem.   Powerful mechanisms for the consideration of parameter variation are also very interesting for speeding up FE model creation and automating results in post-processing. These are also quite useful in reducing model definition for specific types of engineering problems (excavation wall of a specific type under simple ground conditions, simple tunnel shape in uniform rock mass, etc.) to a limited number of parameters that can be inputted in a text file or Microsoft Excel spreadsheet without expert knowledge of the PLAXIS user interface and different modeling techniques and FE know-how. The sensitivity analysis and parameter variation tool in PLAXIS A sensitivity analysis determines how different values of an independent variable affect a particular dependent variable under a given set of assumptions. In other words, sensitivity analyses study how various sources of uncertainty in a mathematical model contribute to the model's overall uncertainty. The Sensitivity Analysis and Parameter Variation tool (see Figure 1) can be used to evaluate the influence of model parameters on calculation results for any particular PLAXIS FE model: The Select Parameters tab sheet will first provide information about all the parameters that can be changed to perform the sensitivity analysis. Available parameters include most model parameters of the data sets for soil and [...]

A Climate Change-Induced Disaster in Denali National Park

Source: A Climate Change-Induced Disaster in Denali National Park | Time The Times has recently showcased an article on the current rockslide situation in Denali National Park. The effects of climate change have been dramatic with the current melting of the permafrost. The National Parks Service has recently upped through gravel removal of the Pretty Rocks Landslide in an effort to keep up as the rapidly thawing permafrost picks up pace. Alaska is right now recognized as the country’s fastest-warming state. The landslide hit unprecedented speed 4 weeks ago causing the team to close the back half of the park weeks earlier than anticipated. This only signals bad news as reservations are canceled in the short term and the long term implications are yet unknown. “This is the canary in the coal mine for infrastructure disruption in Alaska,” says the Camp Denali lodge owner Simon Hamm. “If things continue on the path they’re on, it’s not going to just be Pretty Rock—it’s going to be half of the Alaskan highway system.” Rapid deterioration Denali National Park is one of the U.S.’s largest national parks at 6 million acres, and sits about four hours north of Anchorage. While the entrance to the park is certainly beautiful, many people prefer to hop on buses to access the park’s marquee attractions deep down its single 92-mile road: views of Mt. Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley), the highest peak in North America at 20,000 feet; the gleaming Wonder Lake; rolling mountainsides that contain an abundance of wildlife, including grizzly bears, moose, caribou and bighorn sheep. About halfway along the road lies the Pretty Rocks Landslide, a slowly sliding section of earth that acts more like a glacier than a rockfall. Since the 1960s, permafrost deep below the earth’s surface has thawed, causing the soil and [...]

Geotechnical Instrumentation and Monitoring Consumption Market Size to Witness Huge Growth by 2027 | By Top Leading Vendors – Keller, Fugro, Nova Metrix, Geokon, Geocomp, Sisgeo, Cowi – The Daily Chronicle

Source: Geotechnical Instrumentation and Monitoring Consumption Market Size to Witness Huge Growth by 2027 | By Top Leading Vendors – Keller, Fugro, Nova Metrix, Geokon, Geocomp, Sisgeo, Cowi – The Daily Chronicle


Mud Rotary Drilling and Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) both provide reliable options for gaining subsurface information. In fact, the two are even compatible – many organizations that order drilling services, such as mud rotary drilling are also using CPT for their operations. Mud Rotary Drilling Mud rotary drilling is a versatile and dependable method for geological drilling operations. It is most commonly used to create a hole that will then be used for water well, seismic testing and commercial drilling operations. The mud rotary drilling functions with a drill-bit that is attached to a drill-rod that rotates into a borehole. This is done while pumping a drill mud that contains bentonite or polymer slurry into the borehole. Once this operation is complete, the drilling mud will circulate into a mud pit where the remaining residue in the borehole caused by drilling will then come out and be reused. This process is done without any effort from the drilling operators, and speeds up the drilling by removing any potential obstacles. Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) is the use of a hardened cone shape that is pushed into the ground to substantial depths. The cone is pushed using steel rods that are able to be connected to each other as the depth increases. A dominant hydraulic ram is used to produce a considerable amount of downward force to facilitate the cone to penetrate soft soils, sand and clay. Though both provide suitable options for obtaining subsurface information, there are many benefits to using CPT over drilling. First off, CPT is a faster, less expensive option that also provides immediate results on site. CPT can also point to where rotary mud drilling will be required which is typically because of subsurface conditions or where more sampling should be done. CPT [...]

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