I stumbled across a nice interview of Dan Brown, a recognized deep foundation expert and founder of Dan Brown and Associates, in a back issue of Pile Buck magazine. He discussed some of the large design-build contracts that they have been involved in, designing foundations for some of the biggest bridges in the Country. One of my takeaways was that he called himself and his colleagues 'foundation engineers' and pointed out that we shouldn't pigeon-hole ourselves as geotechnical engineers or structural engineers, foundation engineering requires elements of both and you must look at it from design all the way through construction. Overall, he has a very practical approach to his work, focusing on solving problems and designing things that are constructable and optimized. But perhaps my favorite tidbit from the interview was a football analogy for the design-build work that they do:
I tell people it's like a football team. We're the left tackle on the offensive line. We don't always see what's going on. If the quarterback fumbles the ball, it's not always our fault. If we score a touchdown, we don't always get noticed. But, if we miss a block, we definitely get noticed.
So, in foundation engineering, if we do our job well, we're like the offensive line: somebody else gets credit but everyone on the team knows we did our job. If we don't do our job, well, it's a disaster of epic proportions: the quarterback is sacked, the ball is fumbled and the other team scores a touchdown. We are in big trouble. It's not for the faint-of-heart. It's still fun
The IHC Fundex 5600 is the newest and largest multifunctional foundation drill rig in Dutch equipment maker's line. This rig has a leader or mast that is 50 to (optionally) 56 meters in length (164-184 feet!). Amazingly, this huge mast can be erected by the machine itself without assistance from a crane. The rig can be used for drilling continuous flight auger or CFA piles, conventional drilled shafts, and driving precast concrete piles. You can find out more info at the manufacturer's IHC Fundex F5600 product page. Check out the drone video below of the rig after it rolled out of IHC's facilities. [Source: YouTube via DFI LinkedIn Group. Image: IHC Fundex]
Geotechnical industry professionals are no doubt familiar with the awesome illustrations showing all manner of geotechnical construction methods and applications that are a unique part of Hayward Baker advertising and marketing. Without any fanfare, the iconic Hayward Baker calendar that features this artwork has celebrated a milestone of 20 years in 2016. It's so hard to explain to non-engineers what it is that geotechnical engineers do, all of our cool work is buried out of sight! This calendar is one of the best tools to show our expertise, it's a great service to our industry. On a personal note, I keep one hanging on my office door, and my 10-year old daughter even has one hanging on her wall, she says she wants to be an engineer when she grows up! Thanks Hayward Baker, and I look forward to another 20 years of great calendars! They have a great collection of 20 years of Hayward Baker calendar images over on their Facebook Page, check it out. [Source: Hayward Baker. Image: Hayward Baker Facebook Page]
Pile Dynamics has updated their SPT Analyzer system of hardware and software used to calibrate hammers used for the geotechnical engineer's bread and butter - the standard penetration test or SPT. The hardware itself has been updated with a multi-touch interface, new color scheme options, and 'Smart Sensor' technology that automatically reads the rod instrumentation so that sensor calibration and other information is automatically read by the SPT analyzer. The software to process the data has been completely re-written and the output is now more customizable. [Source: Read more about the latest updates in Pile Buck Magazine. Image: Pile Buck Magazine]
The following four short courses will be taught by Prof. Pinnaduwa Kulatilake in Tucson, Arizona in May 2016 as given below. Dr. Kulatilake was one of my professors at the University of Arizona during my geological engineering program. If you have always been meaning to learn some rock mechanics to add to your geotechnical skill set, these courses would be a very good option.
The Redi-Rock Design Resource Manual or DRM has everything you would need to design a Redi-Rock retaining wall, including block sizes, design charts, construction details, and setback options. The manual also includes case studies and an installation guide and more. Watch the video below for more info. Download the updated manual or request a printed version at http://www.redi-rock.com/drm/ .
The New York DOT has been working on a geotechnical design manual (GDM) since at least 2012. It is a very detailed document that covers pretty much every possible geotechnical aspect of a transportation project. It would be a valuable resource for any geotechnical engineer. Some chapters are still marked draft, but I like their transparency about what has been officially approved by the DOT and what is still under review. [Source: Check out the GDM of the New York DOT. Image: NYDOT]
Keynetix is preparing to restart their popular free webinar series. The theme for 2016 is “Transforming Your Geotechnical Data Journey in Small Steps.” The webinars will be every Friday at 12 pm EST for North American Customers and those using ASTM standards, and Friday at 13:00 GMT for other customers using BS/AGS standards.
This Friday, February 12th, the webinar title will be “Maximize the Value of your Geotechnical Data Archive Using HoleBASE SI”. The format of the webinars will be 20 minutes with another 10 minutes of Q&A. Follow this link to register for the webinar. Keynetix is a sponsor of GeoPrac.net.
The folks at LogItEasy.com have put together a very useful, free online tool for converting Munsell color codes that you might use in the field into the actual color names. This functionality is also built into their interface for electronic field logging and log creation. [Source: Go check out the free Munsell Soil Color tool at LogItEasy.com. Image: Munsell.com]