South Australia & NT Chapter

E.H. Davis Memorial Lecture: Soil – Structure Interaction

Assoc. Prof. John Small

Often there has been a separation in the design of foundations for buildings into the structural component and the foundation. Structural engineers have tended to use simple soil models such as springs to represent the foundation, while foundation engineers have often neglected the foundation stiffness and treated the structural as being perfectly flexible. However, it is often desirable to combine both structural and geotechnical aspects, as this can lead to improved design. In the lecture, some of the issues involved with foundation design were discussed, and some of the limitations of simple techniques were pointed out. Some examples were given of techniques and software that have been developed by the speaker and others to aid in the design of raft foundations and piled-raft foundations. Examples were given of high-rise structures that have been constructed in Germany, the Middle East and in South-east Asia, and some of the advantages of piled-raft foundations were discussed. Although the lecture was mainly concerned with foundation design, it also covered some other topics of interest such as the behaviour of pavements and earth and rockfill dams. Professor John Small is a graduate of King’s College London (1972), with a PhD in geomechanics from the University of Sydney in 1977. He has worked for Coffey Partners, the University of Newcastle, and was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Hong Kong in 1982. He joined the University of Sydney in 1983, where he is currently an Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Engineering. He has authored 105 papers in the field of geomechanics, and has a particular interest in numerical analysis of geomechanics and geotechnical software.

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