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Savings offered by considering whole-life response of geotechnical structures

Cost and risk of constructing geotechnical structures could be achieved by considering the whole-life response of geotechnical infrastructure, according to University of Southampton professor of offshore geotechnical engineering Susan Gourvenec.

Gourvenec made the claim about optimising geotechnical design at the the 9th International Conference on Physical Modelling in Geotechnics in London yesterday.

Gourvenec said that loading sequences, whether short term, longer episodes of events that occur throughout the life of the structure, will changes the soil properties.

“An approach that partners whole life loading sequences with whole life soil responses will optimise geotechnical design outcomes,” she said.

She used result from centrifuge modelling to demonstrate that smaller foundations could be used in offshore applications by taking account of self loading and cyclic hardening.

“Geotechnical centrifuge modelling is an enabler,” she said.

She suggested that up to a four-fold reduction in minimum foundation footprint could be achieved using a whole life responses approach.

“Reducing the size would have a significant impact on reducing cost and risk to the project,” she said. “Centrifuge modelling has a critical role to play in achieving this new approach to design.”


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