Engineers Australia

Moving on from soft soil modelling to engineering application

Prof. Minna Karstunen

Soft soil engineering is still a challenge, in particular when we increasingly need to construct on densely populated urban areas next to existing structures, and have to consider the effects of climate change. The presentation starts by looking at the usability of the soil models available in geotechnical finite element codes for soft soil applications. Various models are benchmarked against both real soil data, and simple boundary value problems, together with the Creep-SCLAY1S model. Creep-SCLAY1S is a rate-dependent constitutive model for soft natural clays, resulting from the systematic research by the author and her co-workers in the last 20 years geared for Scandinavian soft soil conditions. Some recent examples of engineering applications where the model has been successfully used are highlighted, including embankments and deep excavations. Finally, some of the remaining challenges are discussed.

About the speaker

Prof. Minna KarstunenChalmers University of Technology, Sweden MSc (Helsinki), PhD (Swansea), FICE

Minna Karstunen is Professor in Geotechnical Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden and a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, UK. She is also a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts in Gothenburg (KVVS). Minna got her PhD at the University of Wales Swansea in 1998, supervised by Prof. Gyan Pande, funded by the Academy of Finland. Her PhD studies were followed by a successful academic career in the UK, at the University of Glasgow (1996-2005) and the University of Strathclyde (2005-2013). Minna joined Chalmers in 2012, where she has built a dynamic research group working on modelling soil and rocks across the scales, with focus on soft sensitive clays. Minna’s industrial experience relates to the design of roads, tunnels and bridge foundations on very soft soils and currently she is involved as an independent expert in the West Link project in Sweden. The latter involves building a railway tunnel under the historic city centre of Gothenburg, involving some challenging deep excavations in very soft clay. Even though Minna is internationally known for her research on constitutive model development, in parallel, she has been working on other topics, including novel numerical techniques for representing periodic ground improvement on soft soils. Minna has coordinated a number of European projects related to soft soil modelling and soft clay engineering (SCMEP-Soft Soil Modelling for Engineering Practice 2000-2004, AMGISS-Advanced Modelling of Ground Improvement on Soft Soils 2005-2009 & GEO-INSTALL- Modelling Installation Effects in Geotechnical Engineering) and has published over 100 scientific publications.

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