Geotechnical Engineering

Geotechnical engineering is the branch of engineering dealing with the analysis, design and construction of foundations, slopes, retaining structures and other systems that are made of or are supported by soil or rock. The research ranges in nature from analytical and numerical analysis of geotechnical problems to constitutive modeling, experimental modeling and design-oriented research. Historically, the Geotechnical Faculty have continuously maintained a balance between theoretical, experimental and design-oriented research, and this tradition remains true today.

The Geotechnical Engineering area in Civil Engineering is relatively unstructured and provides freedom for students and their graduate committees to develop a plan of study that will meet individual goals. A broad range of courses are available in the areas of geotechnical engineering as well as other areas of civil engineering. Additionally, it is possible for students to take courses in geology, mathematics, chemistry, agronomy and other engineering disciplines. The Geotechnical Facilities provide means for undergraduate and graduate students to examine the nature and validity of strength and compressibility theories and their application to stability and settlement analysis. The Purdue Geotechnical Society enhances the strong bond and working relationship among alumni, faculty, students, and staff of the Geotechnical Engineering group at Purdue University for the benefit of all.


Spotlights

April 22, 2010

Making waves in geotechnical engineering: 8th Leonards lecture by Dr. Richard D. Woods and Purdue Geotechnical Workshop honoring professor Vincent P. Drnevich

Highlights from the 8th edition of the Purdue Geotechnical Workshop and 8th Leonards Lecture that took place on Saturday May 1, 2010 on the Purdue campus. This year's PGS workshop is entitled Making Waves in Geotechnical Engineering, and is intended to celebrate the career and accomplishments of Professor Vincent P. Drnevich, who retired in May.
March 31, 2010

Prof. Drnevich named ASCE Distinguished Member

Congratulations to Prof. Vince Drnevich on being named an ASCE Distinguished Member. ASCE only awards this honorary status to 8-10 people per year and is limited to 1 distinguished member per 7500 ASCE members.
March 27, 2009

Bernard Amadei EWB-USA gives 7th Leonards Lecture

On April 24, 2009, the Purdue Geotechnical Society hosted the 7th G.A. Leonards Lecture, in honor of Professor Gerald A. Leonards, a Purdue geotech faculty member from 1946-1991. This year's Leonards lecturer is Prof. Bernard Amadei from the Univ. of Colorado at Boulder, with his lecture entitled "Engineering With a Human Face."
November 8, 2007

Purdue Geotechnical Research leads to new ASTM Standard

Prof. Vincent Drnevich, along with recent master's degree students Adam Prochaska and Aaron Evans, have developed a new method for determination of maximum dry unit weight and water content range for effective compaction of granular soils using a vibrating hammer.
May 14, 2007

Three Geotech Students Receive Outstanding Student Awards

It has been a successful end of the semester for the geotech group at Purdue. Three graduate students, Yiannis Zevgolis, Oliver Colic and Wen-Chao Huang, were honored by the College of Engineering as “outstanding students” for their contributions to their Schools and the College.
March 6, 2007

Strengthening the soil will decrease earthquake damage

An interdisciplinary group of researchers at Purdue University have found that adding small quantities of bentonite to fine sands reduces the risk of liquefaction. This NSF collaborative research project includes Purdue Civil Engineering Professors Antonio Bobet, Vincent P. Drnevich and Marika C. Santagata, Professor Cliff T. Johnston, Agronomy, and Professor Alexander Wei, Chemistry.
January 8, 2007

McGraw-Hill publishes "The Engineering of Foundations"

The School of Civil Engineering would like to congratulate Professor Rodrigo Salgado on the recent publication of his book titled "The Engineering of Foundations." This book provides readers with a modern text that incorporates theory with real world practices.
December 4, 2006

Civil graduate student honored at LSAMP-AGEP Conference

The Second Annual Joint Conference of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) and Midwest Crossroads Alliance for Graduate Education for the Professorate (AGEP) honored the top undergraduate and graduate oral and poster presentations. Graduate student Julia Clarke received second place in the graduate competition for her poster on "The Micro-Structural Breakdown and Recovery of Bentonite Suspensions Modified by Sodium Pyrophosphate."
October 19, 2006

Professor recognized for patent issued as a result of research

Professor Vincent P. Drnevich was recently recognized at Purdue for U.S. Patent No. 7,040,145 issued on May 9, 2006 for "Method and Apparatus for Measuring Density and Water Content of Soil." He is co-inventor with Xiong Yu, a former doctoral student who is now an assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
August 23, 2006

TDR 2006: 3rd International Symposium

Purdue University hosted the third symposium and workshop on time domain reflectometry (TDR) for innovative soils applications. This two and one-half day cross-disciplinary event was held September 17th-20th, 2006 and featured five plenary lectures by world leaders in this technology, 35 technical presentations, and equipment exhibits.
August 3, 2006

Improved practice of load bearing capability of soils

Geotechnical Design has traditionally been done using working stress design (WSD), a design approach in which a factor of safety is used to either magnify the applied loads or reduce the available resistance to ensure safety. In WSD, all the uncertainties are lumped in the factor of safety. Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) is an approach in which the uncertainties related to the imposed loads are accounted for by magnifying these loads, while the uncertainties involved in reducing resistances are accounted for by reducing the resistances.
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