Geotechnical Society of Edmonton

NEWS 2016

Posted September 7, 2016 (Updated September 12, 2016)

Event: September 20, 2016

GSE: Annual Fall Wine & Cheese Event

Location: Papachase Room, Faculty Club, University of Alberta (11435 Saskatchewan Drive)

Time: 5:30 Registration, 6:00pm Appetizers, 6:30pm Presentation

Cost: $10 Members/Non-Members, $5 Students
(Student cost includes membership for the year)

The Annual Wine and Cheese event is an opportunity to connect with students and colleagues in the local geotechnical community and to hear results of the latest research occurring at the U of A.

Please register for this event using the form below by September 16, 2016.

2016 Morgenstern Award Winner: Ms. Courtney Mulhall - Large-scale Laboratory Testing of Tie Lateral Resistance in Two Ballast Materials

Large-scale laboratory tests were performed to compare the lateral resistance that develops between railway ties and two types of ballast material: (1) McAbee Ballast, the primary source of ballast material for the Canadian National Railway (CN Rail) in Western Canada, and (2) Gravel Ballast, locally sourced and produced ballast material from Alberta. The foremost difference between the two material types is that the McAbee Ballast consists of angular to sub-angular particles with rough faces; while the Gravel Ballast consists of particles with smooth, rounded faces (original rounded gravel) and rough angular to sub-angular faces (crushed gravel). Testing was completed over the expected range of in-service train loads in North America railway tracks, the maximum expected in-service ballast load was estimated to be 160 kN and loads as low as 5 kN were also considered. The test configuration consists of a 60 long, 50 wide and 20 high reinforced steel box, or ballast box, filled with 18 of ballast; where a single railway tie is placed on top. Vertical loads within the specified range were applied to the railway tie with a vertical hydraulic actuator; while a horizontal hydraulic actuator applied a lateral load. Loading rates of 0.05 mm/sec and 0.5 mm/sec were used for up to 40 mm of horizontal displacement. Vertical and horizontal loads and displacements were recorded; and used to calculate the peak lateral resistance, at varying horizontal displacements, for each applied vertical load. The test considers three configurations to evaluate the contribution of the tie-ballast base friction, the crib (side) friction, and the shoulder (end) resistance; to the overall tie lateral resistance.

Courtney Mulhall completed her BSc in Civil Engineering at the Univeristy of Alberta in 2012, and is currently completing her MSc in Geotechnical Engineering and conducting research as a member of the Canadian Rail Research Laboratory (CaRRL). She has worked for engineering consulting firm Klohn Crippen Berger (KCB) since 2012, providing geotechnical services to the Alberta Oil Sands, and the railway and highway transportation industries.

Recipient of the CGC Sponsorship: Ms. Moira Guo - Field Tests of Tapered Screw Piles subjected to Axial Compression and Tension in Cohesive Soil

An innovative tapered pile with continuous threads along lower half of the pile length has been introduced to the deep foundation industry and showed benefits such as quick installation and reusability. A research program was undertaken to investigate the axial bearing capacities, the torque-capacity correlation, and the load-transfer mechanism of the tapered screw piles in cohesive soils. Six pile types were studied in full-scale field load tests, where the piles were subjected to static axial compressive and tensile loads. One test pile was instrumented with strain gauges. A linear correlation between ultimate capacity and installation torque was established. Strain measurements were used to determine the load distribution along the pile and the unit load transfer from pile to surrounding soils.

Moira Guo graduated with distinction from the University of Alberta Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and is now a MSc student with the Geotechnical Engineering program. During her undergraduate degree, Moira worked as a summer student and research on MFT consolidation through Microbial Induced Calcium Carbonate Precipitation. She is currently researching on the in-situ performance of tapered screw piles in cohesive soil.


c/o. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
7th Floor, Danadeo Innovation Center for Engineering
9211 - 116 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta
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