Here is a video about a nifty software product I came across at the trade show, xGEL LabMate. I enjoyed the chance to chat with Art Koenig, the president of GeoSmart Software about this software, and about all kinds of other things from daughters to careers, ASFE, running a business and much more.
xGEL LabMate software for geotechnical laboratories
ASFE/The Geoprofessional Business Association along with Terra Insurance company have released a model agreement for construction and materials testing services (CoMET). This document was created for use by ASFE member firms based on the organization's 40+ years of fulfilling their mission of helping 'geoprofessionals maximize their importance and value to the marketplace, achieve business excellence, and manage risk.' Make sure you have your own lawyer review the model agreement before using it. [Source: ASFE. Image: Gavel & Dorn Engineering]
Construction or maintenance personnel and a geotechnical engineer narrowly avoided being a victim of a new landslide at the site of a landslide cleanup. They were attempting to clean up a landslide on the State Highway 2 in the Waioeka Gorge, New Zealand when spotters noticed the area becoming unstable. The workers were pulled back and had to 'run for it', but one worker was swept away by the slide while still in his excavator and two other excavators were partially engulfed. The man was able to safely get out of the cab of the excavator. [Source: Otago Daily Times Online News. Image: NewstalkZB]
A new piece of equipment for deep ocean pile driving was recently used in 140m of water off the coast of Brazil. The StabFRAME is lowered to the sea floor and leveled to allow accurate driving of piles into the sea floor. See the video below for an example. More on the Brazil Project at the NCE link. [Source: Large Diameter Drill via NCE. Image: LDD]
Dr. Robert M. Koerner has recently published the 6th edition of his industry standard text, Designing With Geosynthetics. He changed to a small publishing company to bring down the price, and the result is a two volume set, each costing $35 for hardcover or $25 for soft cover. The eBook format is only $4 for each. Order through Xlibris. [Source: geosynthetica.net. Image: XLibris]
Here is another article on the lean of London's Big Ben clock tower. According to Professor John Burland of Imperial College, it would take 10,000 years for the tower to match the lean of the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. The tilt is very minor at 0.26 degrees from vertical , and has not changed since the initial announcement was made in October of 2011. [Source: BBC News. Image: BBC Illustration]
Young geotechnical engineers and geoengineering professionals in the first 5 years of their careers may be elligible for a $500 grant to attend the 2012 Geo-Congress conference in Oakland, California March 25-29. See the Geo-Institute link below for more information. Applications are due by February 25, 2012. [Source: Geo-Institute]
When sewer pipes crack and leak, the surrounding ground becomes saturated and soil can migrate into the pipe and leave behind a void. Eventually this void can expand until it undermines the pavement or other structures forming a sinkhole. The same ground penetrating radar technology being used by geophysicists to perform subsurface characterization and by the military to detect roadside bombs in being adapted to detect these voids before they reach the surface. Researchers at Louisiana Tech University are developing a robot to traverse sewer pipes and scan around the pipe for potential voids using the GPR. The research is being performed with $3M from NIST and $3.2M from Cues, Inc. a Louisiana sewer inspection company. Additional trials are slated to take place this month. [Source: NOLA.com. Image: AP File Photo/Mark Was via dailyreporter.com]
The Structural Engineers Association of Michigan has template documents for a geotechnical RFP.
The intent of the RFP is to assist the Structural Engineer with the general requirements of information usually desired from the report. It also provides the perspective from the Geotechnical Engineer's point of view in asking the Structural Engineer to provide a detailed description of the proposed job.
The RFP is targeted at projects in the range of $10M but could be adapted for smaller projects. The documents were drafted in 2001 by members of SEAMi with input from members of ASFE. [Source: SEAMi.org]
Bimrocks is a term coined by my colleague Ed Medley, a fellow geopractitioner (a term he also coined). The former term refers to "block-in-matrix-rocks" where blocks of geotechnically significant rock "float" in a matrix of weaker material. I received the following email from Ed the other day which may be of interest to folks who deal with bimrocks:
The current edition of the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design and Construction specifications do not have specifications for soil nail retaining walls. This TRB publication is meant to be an interim solution for agencies who still wish to take advantage of the advantages of soil nail retaining walls for certain situations. [Source: TRB. Image: TRB]
A report titled 'Falling Weight Deflectometer Calibration Center and Operational Improvements: Redevelopment of The Calibration Protocol and Equipment' has been published by the FHWA. This report is the result of a pooled fund study that has resulted in revisions to AASHTO's R32-09 calibration procedure for the FWT. There is also new calibration software, WinFWDCal that came out of this research. [Source: FHWA. Image: Dynatest]