Faculty in this specialty area are engaged in active research in a number of areas, including:
- Slope stability
- In-situ soil testing and analysis
- Deep foundations under lateral load
- Computer design in foundation engineering
- Soil/Structure interaction
- Digital engineering education
All construction requires geotechnical engineering- from development of marginal sites in the Metro area, new bridges across the state to costal communities on fragile ancient Dunes. Oregon soils are unique and require Oregon funded research to improve Oregon design and practice.
Research now begun investigates the application of new AASHTO LRFD principles for bridge deep foundations in Oregon using the WEAP code in pile driving capacity verification. The first Phase, now underway, will attempt to fully articulate the magnitude of the anticipated cost increase for Oregon under LRFD resistance factors and build competency in pile foundation reliability concepts. The outcome should gain regional support for a procedure to raise the resistance factor in ODOT future bridges.
Geotechnical/Soils Lab - The basics of soil mechanics are illustrated by lab and in-situ testing and analysis in the Soils Lab. Students discover the behavior and classification of particulate materials. A recent project is the development of one-of-a-kind multi-media continuing ed tools for the Federal Highway Administration. This media brings the full capabilities of digital based learning to the practitioner by using animation, live video, expert interviews and self assessment on a self contained CD that can be used in the field.
Increased failures of the old Holocene and Pleistocene Dunes at the Oregon Coast are triggered by development and road widening. The geotech team, in collaboration with Prof. Peterson in Geology, developed innovative ways to more rapidly investigate and remediate sites based on insitu testing in the field. Improved measurement of soil properties led to very good predictions of the Woahink road failure near Florence.