Getting the Best Data Starts with Proper Handling of Geotechnical Samples

As many wise geotechnical engineers have said, “Good quality test results start with a good quality sample!” It is vital for geotechnical engineers and project managers to think twice about how the samples for their project will be handled from extraction in the field to arrival at the laboratory, as ultimately, the information from theseContinue reading “Getting the Best Data Starts with Proper Handling of Geotechnical Samples”

Geotechnical Illustrated: Eyes Wide Open Below Ground

Geophysics plays an important role in identifying subsurface conditions below ground. They act as a below-ground “camera” to capture different conditions that may be key to project designs or risk avoidance. They are non-destructive, relatively quick, and non-invasive. Often these methods are used to define subsurface conditions, identify cavities, map depth to bedrock, or aidContinue reading “Geotechnical Illustrated: Eyes Wide Open Below Ground”

What do Geotechnical Forensic Engineers do?

How often do you see news about a structural collapse or massive landslide occurring somewhere in the world? What happens after such an event occurs? Once the situation is stabilized, a selected group of experts may be brought to the site to conduct an investigation and provide opinions on possible causes of failure. Forensic engineeringContinue reading “What do Geotechnical Forensic Engineers do?”

Geotechnical Illustrated: Triaxial Testing in the 21st Century

The triaxial test is arguably the most widely used test method in investigating soils’ stress-strain behavior in geotechnical engineering. Its popularity is partially due to the well-understood state of stress during the test, as well as its versatility. In a triaxial test, the specimen is encased in a membrane with drainage from top and bottomContinue reading “Geotechnical Illustrated: Triaxial Testing in the 21st Century”

Geotechnical Illustrated: Sulfate Reducing Bacteria (SRB) – What is it?

Microbes live everywhere including the oceans. Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) are considered microbes. SRB is one of many common bacteria species that live throughout our ecosystem. Seawater is a primary source of SRB where a single gallon of seawater has roughly a few billion different kinds of bacteria. While most bacteria are aerobic and require oxygenContinue reading “Geotechnical Illustrated: Sulfate Reducing Bacteria (SRB) – What is it?”

How to Assess the Strength of Coal Combustion Residuals

Stability failures of impoundments involving release of Coal Combustion Residuals (CCRs; commonly known as coal ash,) like the one that occurred in Dan River Coal Ash Spill in 2014, have recently highlighted the importance of assessing the stability of CCR impoundments. CCR materials contain pollutants like Mercury, Cadmium and Arsenic. Without proper management, these contaminantsContinue reading “How to Assess the Strength of Coal Combustion Residuals”

The Value of Numerical Modeling for Geo-Structural Engineering

Numerical modeling uses complex computer programs to build a digital model of a site from which to calculate how a design will perform for various loading conditions. These methods avoid some of the simplifying and conservative assumptions that get made in simpler approaches. They help improve the efficiency of a design, predict how a design is likelyContinue reading “The Value of Numerical Modeling for Geo-Structural Engineering”

Geotechnical Illustrated: Good Vibrations or Not?

Heavy construction in densely populated cities can be conducted near neighboring buildings. Vibrations induced by such heavy construction are one of the most claimed causes of adjacent building damage. These vibrations can be generated by multiple types of equipment such as pavement breakers, excavators, or pile drivers. Such activities can generate short term vibrations orContinue reading “Geotechnical Illustrated: Good Vibrations or Not?”

Geotechnical Illustrated: What is your CPT Test Really Telling You?

In many cases with offshore filling construction, such as building and forming artificial islands in the middle of a body of water, borrow areas of suitable seabed materials must be first identified. A comprehensive soil investigation will subsequently help assess the suitability of the potential seabed borrow material to be dredged and used for engineeringContinue reading “Geotechnical Illustrated: What is your CPT Test Really Telling You?”

Geotechnical Illustrated: Risks of Spudcan Punch-through

Jack up rigs are used widely in offshore drilling and for offshore wind turbine installation. Such rigs can be often times supported by spudcan footings such as the ones shown below. However, there are multiple challenges in evaluating the capacity of such footings. Punch-through of spudcan legs for offshore barges is defined as rapid uncontrolledContinue reading “Geotechnical Illustrated: Risks of Spudcan Punch-through”