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Geotechnical Engineering Applications

Earth dams and levees, Transport corridors, Geotechnical Engineering Design

Earth Dams & Levees

The problem
  • Tens of thousands of earth dams and levees around the world are aging increasing risk of seepage and failure.
  • Current methods of investigation include (Cone Penetration Test (CPT), Becker Penetration Test (BPT), standard Penetration Test (SPT) or Shear Wave Velocity test (SWVT or MASW)). Interpolation between the discrete sample points obtained from these methods can miss critical areas of concern
The problem
  • A key characteristic of soils required by geotechnical engineering investigations is the shear moduli or strength of the top 30 meters of soil to ensure overlying buildings/structures are not at risk of collapse due to soil structure.
  • Currently drilling and/or CPT's are conducted at discrete points within a construction site. Low shear strength areas between or below these discrete points are often missed increasing the risk of catastrophic hazards in the future or additional unplanned construction costs.

Geotechnical Engineering

Transportation Infrastructure

The problem
  • Subsurface characterization in transportation corridors is key to initial construction design and long term maintenance including investigations of roadway subsidence and sinkholes for example.
  • Key geotechnical parameters may include bedrock depth, rock type, layer boundaries, water table, weak zones, expansive clays, natural cavities and/or abandoned mines etc..
  • "Geophysical" techniques routinely used for geotechnical highway and railway engineering investigations are often limited either in depth of penetration and/or to simple stratigraphy:
    • GPR methods for example are limited to a few meters in clays and tills
    • Refractions methods are limited to 2 or 3 layers with increasing velocity
    • MASW techniques can provide shear velocity but only to limited depths and only in simple stratigraphy