HIGHWAY TECHNET VIRTUAL EXPO STRUCTURES
Geotechnical Engineering: Moving Beyond Empirical To Analytical
DP- 82 Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) Walls and Slopes
Geotechnical engineering has been critical to highway construction since engineers realized that
successful civil works depended on the strength and integrity of the foundation material. Classical
geotechnical engineering is usually linked to the pioneering work of Karl Terzhagi, who proposed
many of the concepts and relationships upon which today's geotechnical practice is based.
Much of the work in recent years has been to improve on Terzhagi's empirical relationships with the analyses based on rational formulae, field data, and high-speed computers, which make sophisticated analysis possible. As an example, empirical pile driving formulae (for example, the ENR formula) have been replaced with pile driving requirements based on the Pile Dynamic Analyzer (PDA), as demonstrated in OTA's Demonstration Project 66. (No longer active)
Analysis, design, and construction methods have improved dramatically in recent years as a result of concentrated research, development, and technology transfer efforts. Added to this has been the extensive experience gained by demonstration projects on pile foundations (DP-66) and permanent ground anchors (DP-68). The development of microcomputer-based geotechnical software has also accelerated replacement of simplistic empirical methods with rigid analytical procedures.
While the engineering developments have been dramatic, there needs to be technology delivery and technical assistance to support application of these new procedures. The following seven activities will provide innovative technology and new developments in geotechnical engineering to a widespread community of geotechnical, construction and structural engineers:
Chien-Tan Chang, HTA-20, (202) 366-6749
HIGHWAYTECHNET VIRTUAL EXPO STRUCTURES INDEX
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration