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Geotechnical Frontiers short course preview

Events, Geotechnical Frontiers Watch, News | July 1, 2024 | By: Barbara J. Connett

Geotechnical Frontiers will offer a variety of short courses on Sunday, March 2, 2025. These in-depth courses feature detailed instruction in a small group setting. All courses provide four to eight PDH credits and require a separate registration. Don’t see what you are hoping for? Check out the website for any recent additions.

Design and Construction of Energy Geostructures

Sherif Abdelaziz, Ph.D., Virginia Tech and Tony Amis, Endurant Energy

The design and construction of energy geostructures are becoming of high interest worldwide. Currently, there is a knowledge gap among practicing engineers on how to design and construct these geostructures. This short course discusses various topics related to best practices for the design and construction of energy geostructures, with an explicit focus on energy piles. Focusing on practicing engineers, the course introduces participants to fundamentals of energy geostructures; in-situ thermal response tests used to determine the thermal properties of soils surrounding energy foundations; thermo-hydro-mechanical properties of soils; additional thermal stresses and strains that need to be considered in the design of energy piles; and best construction practices and quality control and assurance for in-situ constructions.

Filter Evaluation for Dams and Levees Using the Risk Management Center Filter Evaluation (Continuation) Toolbox

Adam Gohs, P.E.,  and Timothy O’Leary, P.E., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Filters are critical components of dam and levee embankments. They are designed to prevent particle movement from intergranular seepage flow where defects are present in a base soil or seepage water flows through pore spaces of a soil mass in an embankment or foundation. A properly designed filter has two fundamental functions: the prevention of soil particle migration (particle retention) and the allowance of sufficient drainage for internal embankment zones (permeability).

The Risk Management Center (RMC) Filter Evaluation (Continuation) Toolbox provides a means for assessing the particle retention and permeability criteria for new filter design and the evaluation of existing filters for dam and levee embankments. This short course provides background for the basic concepts of filters and hands-on experience with the RMC Filter Evaluation (Continuation) Toolbox through multiple guided examples. The course also discusses filter considerations such as breakdown or degradation, segregation, and washout due to internal instability, and how they are accounted for in the filter evaluation.

Fundamentals of Geosynthetics

Kerry Petrasic, P.E.,  Gannett Fleming Inc. 

Geosynthetics is a relative newcomer in geotechnical engineering. The technology is developing rapidly and continues to evolve. This course is intended as a primer for those desiring a basic understanding of geosynthetics. Discussions during the one half-day course covers the various types of geosynthetic materials, applications and functions of the materials, and the various synthetic polymers used in manufacturing geosynthetics. It will be demonstrated that geosynthetics should be considered as another tool in the toolbox that geotechnical engineering designers and professionals have available to assist in addressing a variety of geotechnical and environmental engineering challenges.

Emphasis is on how the intended application or function as well as existing soil and water conditions dictate the structure of the geosynthetic and the specific polymer used for its manufacture. Cost constraints, constructability concerns and short- and long-term performance requirements also are discussed. While a geosynthetic may be capable of addressing a specific situation or condition, it may not be the best solution.

Geosynthetics in Roadway Design

Jorge Zornberg, Ph.D., P.E., the University of Texas at Austin and Erol Tutumluer, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Geosynthetics provide sustainable alternatives for enhanced performance, durability and cost-effectiveness of roadways. This short course provides an integrated view of the multiple applications of geosynthetics in this transportation mode. This includes the mechanisms involved in the different applications, the identification of relevant geosynthetic properties, the available design methodologies and case histories involving the use of geosynthetics in roadway projects.

An outline of the main topics/courses to be covered is as follows:

  • Welcome and Objectives
  • Geosynthetics: Types and Functions
  • Structural Capacity of Pavements
  • Overview of Geosynthetic Applications in Roadways
  • Geosynthetics for Mitigation of Asphalt Reflective Cracking
  • Geosynthetics for Stabilization of Unbound Aggregate Layers
  • Geosynthetics for Reduction of Layer Intermixing
  • Geosynthetics for Reduction of Moisture in Structural Layers
  • Geosynthetics for Stabilization of Soft Subgrades
  • Geosynthetics for Mitigation of Distress Induced by Expansive Clays and Frost-Susceptible Soils
  • Path Forward and Closure

Sustainability and Life-cycle Assessments of Geosynthetics and Geosystems

Mina Lee, Ph.D., University of Windsor and Dipanjan Basu, Ph.D., P.E., University of Waterloo

This short course addresses the growing importance of sustainable practices in geotechnical engineering by offering an overview of sustainability concepts and the application of life-cycle assessment in geotechnical engineering. Topics include principles of sustainability, the scope of sustainable geotechnics, considerations for sustainability in geosynthetic applications, state-of-the-art methodologies for sustainability assessment in geotechnical engineering, and the principles and application of LCA to geosystems.

Participants gain a comprehensive understanding of the nexus between sustainability and geotechnical engineering. Additionally, participants will acquire knowledge of LCA methodology and learn the challenges associated with sustainability and life-cycle assessments in geotechnical engineering applications. The course features a practical demonstration focusing on the application of LCA to mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls reinforced with geosynthetics. The demonstration guides participants through step-by-step LCA calculations and presents useful information helpful for optimizing MSE wall designs with sustainability considerations.

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