A contribution to the advancement of geotechnical engineering in South Africa

Day, Peter William (2013-03)

Thesis (DEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Geotechnical engineering is a relatively young field of engineering and one in which there are still many unanswered questions and gaps in our knowledge. Added to this, the geotechnical materials on each new site on which geotechnical work is undertaken are the unique product of many influences including geology, geomorphology, climate, topography, vegetation and man. There is thus plenty of scope for innovation. This dissertation describes the contributions made to Geotechnical Engineering in South Africa by the Candidate over a period of close on 40 years. It describes the three-step process followed in the majority of these contributions. Step one is the identification of a problem that requires investigation, the application of new techniques or simply the consolidation of existing knowledge. Step 2 is the investigation of the problem and the development of a solution. Step 3 is sharing the outcome of this work with the profession by means of publications, by presentations at seminars and conferences or by incorporation into standards / codes of practice. Part 1 of the dissertation describes the exciting environment in which geotechnical engineers operate. This environment is characterised by openness and cooperation between practitioners of geotechnical engineering, be they geotechnical engineers, engineering geologists, contractors, suppliers or academics. This part also explores the parallels in the roles played by academics and practitioners and how each can contribute to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge. Part 2 describes contributions made in various fields including problem soils (dolomites, expansive clays, uncompacted fills, etc.), lateral support, pile design and construction, health and safety, and cooperation with international organisations. Part 3 describes the Candidate's involvement in the introduction of limit states geotechnical design into South African practice culminating in the drafting of SANS 10160-5 on Basis of Geotechnical Design and Actions. It also describes the Candidate's work with the ISSMGE Technical Committee TC23 dealing with limit states design. Part 4 deals with the Candidate's contribution to other codes and standards and his role on various committees of the Engineering Council of South Africa and the South African Bureau of Standards. The final part of the dissertation provides an overview of the process followed in making such contributions, highlighting the role played by curiosity and a desire to share the knowledge gained with others in the profession. It continues by identifying work that still needs to be done in many of the areas where contributions have been made and concludes with a statement of what the candidate would still like to achieve during the remainder of his career. The Candidate gratefully acknowledges the generous opportunities afforded to him by his colleagues at work and the invaluable guidance and mentorship received from fellow professionals in academia and practice.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Geotegniese ingenieurswese is 'n relatiewe jong wetenskap en een met vele kennisgapings en waarin daar nog talle vrae onbeantwoord bly. Daarby is geotegniese materiale uniek tot elke terrein waarop werk aangepak word en die produk van 'n kombinasie van prosesse; insluitend geologie, geomorfologie, klimaats toestande, topografie, plantegroei en menslike aktiwiteite. Daar is dus nog ruim geleentheid vir innoverende bydraes. Hierdie verhandeling beskryf die Kandidaat se bydraes tot Geotegniese Ingenieurswese in Suid-Afrika oor die afgelope 40 jaar. Dit beskryf 'n drie-voudige benadering wat in die meeste van die bydraes gevolg is. Die eerste stap is om die probleem te definieer en te omskryf in terme van die ondersoek wat geloods moet word, asook die noodsaaklikheid vir die ontwikkeling van nuwe tegnologie teenoor die konsolidasie van bestaande inligting. Tydens die tweede stap word die probleem ondersoek en 'n oplossing ontwikkel. Die derde stap is om die resultate te deel met die geotegniese bedryf by wyse van publikasies, voorleggings by konferensies en seminare, en insluiting in praktykkodes en standaarde. Deel 1 beskryf die opwindende werksomstandighede waarbinne geotegniese ingenieurs hul bevind. Dit word geken aan die ope samewerking tussen belanghebbende partye; onder andere ingenieurs, ingenieursgeoloë, kontrakteurs, verskaffers en akademici. Deel 1 beklemtoon ook die parallelle rolle wat vertolk word deur akademici en praktiserende ingenieurs en hoe beide partye bydraes maak tot die ontwikkeling en verspreiding van tegnologie. Deel 2 beskryf die Kandidaat se bydraes tot verskeie navorsingsvelde; waaronder probleemgrondtoestande (dolomiet, swellende kleie, ongekonsolideerde opvullings ens.), laterale ondersteuning, ontwerp en konstruksie van heipale, beroepsveiligheid, en samewerking met internasionale organisasies. Deel 3 beskryf die Kandidaat se betrokkenheid by die bekendstelling van limietstaat geotegniese ontwerp in die Suid-Afrikaanse bedryf wat uitgeloop het op die samestelling van SANS 10160-5 Basis of Geotechnical Design and Actions. Dit beskryf ook die Kandidaat se samewerking met die ISSMGE Technical Committee TC23 wat te make het met limietstaat ontwerp. Deel 4 beskryf die Kandidaat se bydraes tot ander kodes en standaarde en die rolle wat hy vertolk het op verskeie komitees van die Suid-Afrikaanse Raad vir Ingenieurswese asook van die Suid-Afrikaanse Buro van Standaarde. Die laaste deel van die verhandeling bied „n oorsig oor die proses wat gevolg is in bostaande bydraes met die klem op die rol van weetgierigheid en die begeerte om sulke kennis te deel met ander belanghebbendes. Om af te sluit, identifiseer die Kandidaat oorblywende tekortkominge in baie van die vraagstukke waar hy bydraes gelewer het en gee 'n opsomming van wat hy graag nog sal wil bereik tydens die verdere verloop van sy loopbaan. Die Kandidaat gee met dank erkenning aan sy kollegas vir die ruim geleenthede wat hom gebied is en die waardevolle leiding en mentorskap wat hy ontvang het van mede praktiserende ingenieurs en akademici.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/79868
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