Geologists and Geotechnical engineers provide flood risk management

Source: DVIDS - News - Geologists and Geotechnical engineers dig deep to provide flood risk management At the Arcadia flood risk management project, in Arcadia, Wisconsin, geotechnical staff are gathering data using a unique method of subsurface exploration. The Cone Penetrometer Test, or CPT, is one method used to identify and characterize soils. The CPTs were conducted with assistance from the Savannah District geotechnical and geology branch. “We benefited from their expertise and cooperation,” said Greg Wachman, senior geotechnical engineer. In CPTs, a device with a conical tip and metal sleeve measure penetration resistance as it’s pushed into the ground. Those measurements are used to characterize the soils’ engineering properties. For example, the forces on the device as it’s pushed through a soft clay are very different from those as it’s pushed through a dense sand, Wachman said. The device also records pore water pressure, which aids in understanding soil permeability and groundwater characteristics. CPTs vs. soil borings A CPT is most useful when used together with standard soil borings, Wachman explained. A soil boring drills into the ground to retrieve physical samples. In contrast, with a CPT, the soil is never seen. CPTs are significantly faster than standard borings and provide continuous test data with depth. With a soil boring, samples are collected about every 5 feet, or change in material, so it’s possible to miss important information. One limitation of the CPT, due to excessive friction, is that it may not be extended to the same depth as a soil boring. The CPTs at Arcadia are being pushed to approximately 60-70 feet, whereas a soil boring can be performed in excess of 100 feet. “By doing some CPTs next to soil borings – where we know what the soils are – we can increase the likelihood that we [...]

How the Concrete Vibrator Changed Concrete Mix Design

Source: How the Concrete Vibrator Changed Concrete Mix Design | For Construction Pros Over the last 60 years, concrete vibrators have evolved into a necessary machine for concrete jobs. Industry studies have highlighted separation issues, vibration energy, surface defects, and mix incompatibilities—leading to the development of a more predictive concrete placement experience. Concrete vibration dates to the late 1960s when Thomas Reading, an engineer from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, set vibration placement recommendations through vibration tests. At the time, the normal slump of structural concrete was three to four inches, had a “peanut butter” like consistency, and placed in forms by a concrete bucket. Reading used a larger horsepower motor to maintain a maximum vibrator speed that ran the vibrator heads for the current consistency of mixes. Reading concluded that the vibrator frequency should never exceed 10,000 vibrations per minute (vpm) due to his observation of concrete material separation. At that time, the American Concrete Institute (ACI) 309 Consolidation Guidance Specification reflected Reading’s research and limited the vibrator frequency to that maximum frequency. Surface voids were mistaken for entrapped air. Through today’s research, we’ve come to understand that surface blemishes come from vibration-frequency-forced bleed water. Ten years later, mix designs were being transformed by a chemical additive called a water-reducing agent (WRA) to allow for a more workable concrete mix for the future of economical concrete placements by pumping instead of concrete buckets. By the end of the next several decades, the volume of pumped commercial concrete reached 80%. The increased use and type of WRAs (plasticizers) allows for more possibilities of bleeding. With the increased bleeding in pumpable mixes, present concrete mix designs started to take on a "soup-like" consistency. While the vibrator design remained the same, manufacturers began to increase the amount of vibrator frequency. As [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Lake Michigan coastline erosion research brings in new data and diplomacy

Source: Lake Michigan coastline erosion research brings in new data and diplomacy | Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant The town of Beverly Shores includes part of the Indiana Dunes National Park. (Photo credit: David Mark, Pixabay) The record high Lake Michigan water levels in 2020 were even more dramatic if you consider that the lake had near record low levels as recent as 2013. “That’s a lot of pressure on the shoreline,” said Cary Troy, Purdue University civil engineer. “There’s really no precedent in terms of ocean coastlines for what the Great Lakes are going through related to water level fluctuations.” In addition to lake levels, beaches are impacted by large storms and barriers, piers, and other human interventions. Troy is part of a sweeping study funded through Illinois-Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin Sea Grant programs to assess Lake Michigan coastal erosion levels, causes, and management options from physical, social and community perspectives. The two-year project that began in 2020 is led by Troy, Guy Meadows with Michigan Technological University and Chin Wu at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Miles Tryon-Petith, Chin Wu’s civil and environmental engineering Ph.D. student from UW-Madison is working on mounting the real-time camera to record bluff movement in Mequon, Wisc. (Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Sea Grant.) The research will focus on three coastal communities that offer the opportunity for scientists to track and measure erosion on different beach features—the bluffs at Concordia University in Wisconsin, the shoreline of South Haven, Michigan, and the dunes at Beverly Shores in Indiana. Part of the beach in the small town of Beverly Shores is in the Indiana Dunes National Park—there, the research team can learn more about how nature responds to water level changes and storm events. Troy also wants to study coastal sites where people have added structures to the landscape. He’s [...]

By |September 22nd, 2021|Madison, Geotechnical Indiana, West Lafayette, Environmental Indiana, Geotechnical Illinois, Geotechnical Michigan, Geotechnical Wisconsin|Comments Off on Lake Michigan coastline erosion research brings in new data and diplomacy

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 [...]

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 [...]

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

Why Would You Need a Track CPT Rig?

Vertek CPT wants to ensure that you have the right equipment to grow your business. As you are going through the CPT rig purchase process, we’ll have extensive conversations to ensure that we are both on the same page when it comes to where you will be testing, what types of tests you can most easily sell, and which rig or rigs will help you to make the most money. Track Rig Features As you look around our site, you’ll see that some rigs are built on tracks, as opposed to truck beds with wheels. As per with construction equipment, you might expect the tracked equipment to be larger, with CPT rigs the tracked units tend to be smaller. This is because tracked rig CPT platforms are designed to not only traverse and work in difficult terrains, but also to be highly maneuverable around obstacles such as trees, rocks and gulleys. Remember, CPT testing may be specified by your customer for pre-construction activities, meaning that it takes place on a site with little preparation. Having a highly maneuverable platform with low ground pressure can make the difference between you being able to win certain jobs and not. Track rigs are usually designed in order to distribute the weight of the rig over more square inches of contact area. This helps to minimize damage to sensitive areas as well as help the rig not get stuck in less than optimum ground conditions. The overall rig footprints are designed so that the units can be effectively trucked to sites within your service area. Track rigs are designed for deep pushes in tough geologies and the Vertek CPT tracked rigs push from about 10 tons up to 25 tons. With the right combination of weight, ease of maneuverability and set-up features, a tracked [...]

Measuring the Moisture Content of Soil Using CPT

Measuring soil moisture content can be important for a variety of reasons. In placing underground electrical equipment or digging tunnels, it can be essential to know exactly what soil moisture conditions look like at specific depths. Early CPT test procedures used the standard CPT output data of cone resistance, sleeve friction and friction ratio to identify all of the parameters underground. When it comes to soils that have some moisture content or are saturated, it can be helpful to use a boring rig to obtain soil samples at depth close to the first CPT sounding. This enables you to ‘calibrate’ your rig to the site to ensure that the interpretations of the test data are accurate. Because establishing subsurface moisture content can be safety-critical in certain cases, Cone Penetration Testing methodologies have evolved to provide relative soil moisture content data. It is now possible to measure soil moisture more directly at the cone head vs. inferring what the moisture might be through interpreted sounding data. One method of measuring the presence of water is with a ‘piezocone’. This is a CPT cone that is fitted with a device that measures pore pressure. As the cone penetrates into saturated soils, hydraulic (water) pressure is exerted on the instrumented cone. By watching this pressure increase and decrease as the cone is driven deeper into the ground, it is possible to measure the presence of moisture at depth. This type of approach is better suited to soil conditions in which it is expected for the soil to be fairly wet to saturated conditions. Another method of establishing the extent of the presence of water is by using electrical sensors such as a dielectric probe, which measures soil electrical conductivity. This can be a useful practice and can be helpful in soils with less [...]

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