Geotechnical Society of Edmonton

NEWS 2007

Posted April 21, 2007

Event April 21, 2007

Cross Canada Lecture Tour - Role of Soil Modeling in Geotechnical Predictions

Andrew Whittle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This seminar reviews briefly some contributions in the development of soil models that are capable of describing realistically the measured effective stress-strain-strength behavior of soils. The role of these advanced, relatively complex models in geotechnical predictions will then be critically evaluated in the context of extensive research to investigate the performance of driven pile foundations and deep excavations in clay. Soil modelling plays an essential role on predictions of near field stresses and pore pressures around driven piles, while far field ground movements may be well estimated by much simpler analytical methods. Soil modelling appears to play little role in the deflection mode shapes of braced walls in soft clay, but controls predictions surface settlements and helps to explain arching mechanisms in the retained soil. Other simpler stability analyses may be sufficient for assessing basal stability.

In light of these findings, the talk will then consider effects of soil modelling in predicting the effects of soft ground tunnel construction and give a brief overview of current research on this topic.

About the speakers:

Andrew Whittle is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a specialist in the field of geotechnical engineering. Much of his research work deals with constitutive modeling of soil behavior and applications in predicting the performance of foundations and underground construction projects. His research has been widely used in the design of foundation systems for deepwater oil production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. He has worked extensively on problems of soil-structure interaction for urban excavation and tunneling projects including the Central Artery-Third Harbor Tunnel (CA/T) and MBTA South Piers Transitway projects in Boston, and Tren Urbano in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Most recently he has led research efforts in the application of wireless sensor networks for monitoring underground water supply systems and construction projects.

Location: Royal Glenora Club, Braemar Room (11160 River Valley Road)
Time: 6:00 pm, presentation starts at 6:30 pm
Date: Monday, April 30, 2007
Cost: Students: $15, GSE Members: $30, Non-members: $40

Please confirm your attendance by Friday, April 27
by emailing


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