The design process in geotechnical engineering was reviewed to identify the role played by soil characterisation. Taking three soil types, soft clays, stiff clays and sands, the importance in practice of structure, anisotropy and natural variability are explored. Results of a numerical study and a case history were presented to illustrate the shortcomings of current design methods which fail to take into account these aspects when characterising soils.
David Hight is a Founding Director of the Geotechnical Consulting Group in London. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineers and a Visiting Professor in the Civil Engineering Department at Imperial College. He has previously been a Visiting Professor at MIT and the National University of Singapore. Current consulting projects include investigations into the Nicoll Highway Collapse in Singapore, a reinforced soil embankment failure in the UK, and arbitrations into two tunnel collapses in Singapore. Dr Hight presented the 1998 Rankine Lecture and the State of the Art on Soil Characterisation at the 2001 International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering in Istanbul.
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