Special Issue "Urban Geotechnical Engineering"

A special issue of Infrastructures (ISSN 2412-3811).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2021) | Viewed by 8157

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. S. Sonny Kim
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Environmental, Civil, Agricultural, and Mechanical Engineering, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
Interests: tidal marsh soils; transportation geotechnics; nondestructive remote sensing and machine learning application in geomaterials
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Jongwan Eun
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering College of Engineering, 203C Peter Kiewit Institute, 1110 South 67th Street, Omaha, NE 68182-0176, USA
Interests: geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering; multiphase mass transport through porous and nonporous medium; unsaturated behavior of geomaterials; advanced application of sensing technics for geosystem; sustainable geotechnics
Dr. Soonkie Nam
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering and Construction, Georgia Southern University, P.O. Box 8077, Statesboro, GA 30460, USA
Interests: unsaturated soils; stability; soil improvement & engineered materials; transportation geotechnics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated that “a nation that destroys its soils destroys itself." Soils form over hundreds of years, and yet can be destroyed by a single event. Construction activities are an example of man-made hazards causing subsequent ground subsidence (i.e., underground cavity). However, man-made geotechnical hazards are an often-overlooked asset, despite being the foundation of urban geotechnical engineering. As such, the accurate acquisition of these assets is strategic for identifying and planning the most effective rehabilitation and maintenance works.

As natural geomaterials and geologic formations commonly involve inherent variability and complexities, the characterization of geotechnical properties in urban areas is one of the most challenging yet important activities required for the successful planning, design, construction, and operation of a resilient civil infrastructure. Geologic fractures and discontinuities (e.g., slip surfaces, joints, and faults) also play a critical role in a wide variety of engineering problems. Examples range from landslides and progressive failures in shallow geotechnical systems, to hydraulic fracturing, geologic CO2 sequestration, and induced seismicity in deep subsurface systems. Transportation geotechnics and tunnelling are also important subjects that should be disseminated to urban geotechnical engineering societies.

This Special Issue focuses on the current practices related to the aforementioned issues, which consider a wide-ranged geotechnical issues covering the following:

  • Case studies of advanced seismic wave-based geo-characterization
  • Simulation of propagating fractures using any standard numerical methods, including the finite element method
  • Multiphase fluid flow for soil improvement
  • Dynamic tunnel modelling by reflecting the operating conditions and ground conditions in real time
  • Application of non-destructive technology to investigate urban geotechnical engineering issues.

Through the Special Issue, the innovative practices, case histories, and significant geotechnical challenges will be shared and disseminated.

Dr. S. Sonny Kim
Dr. Jongwan Eun
Dr. Soonkie Nam
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Infrastructures is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Urban geotechnical engineering
  • Energy geotechnics
  • Geo-environment
  • Mechanized tunneling
  • Geo-sensing technology
  • Transportation geotechnics
  • Geologic fractures and discontinuities
  • Smart materials

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Article
Effects of Hydropower Dam Operation on Riverbank Stability
Infrastructures 2021, 6(9), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures6090127 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 663
Abstract
The increasing number of extreme climate events has impacted the operation of reservoirs, resulting in drastic changes in flow releases from reservoirs. Consequently, downstream riverbanks have experienced more rapid and frequent changes of the river water surface elevation (WSE). These changes in the [...] Read more.
The increasing number of extreme climate events has impacted the operation of reservoirs, resulting in drastic changes in flow releases from reservoirs. Consequently, downstream riverbanks have experienced more rapid and frequent changes of the river water surface elevation (WSE). These changes in the WSE affect pore water pressures in riverbanks, directly influencing slope stability. This study presents an analysis of seepage and slope stability for riverbanks under the influence of steady-state, drawdown, and peaking operations of the Roanoke Rapids Hydropower dam on the lower Roanoke River, North Carolina, USA. Although the riverbanks were found to be stable under all the discharge conditions considered, which indicates that normal operations of the reservoir have no adverse effects on riverbank stability, the factor of safety decreases as the WSE decreases. When the role of fluvial erosion is considered, riverbank stability is found to reduce. Drawdown and fluctuation also decrease the safety factor, though the rate of the decrease depends more on the hydraulic conductivity of the soils rather than the discharge pattern. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Geotechnical Engineering)
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Article
Use of Machine Learning Algorithms to Predict Subgrade Resilient Modulus
Infrastructures 2021, 6(6), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures6060078 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 965
Abstract
Modern machine learning methods, such as tree ensembles, have recently become extremely popular due to their versatility and scalability in handling heterogeneous data and have been successfully applied across a wide range of domains. In this study, two widely applied tree ensemble methods, [...] Read more.
Modern machine learning methods, such as tree ensembles, have recently become extremely popular due to their versatility and scalability in handling heterogeneous data and have been successfully applied across a wide range of domains. In this study, two widely applied tree ensemble methods, i.e., random forest (parallel ensemble) and gradient boosting (sequential ensemble), were investigated to predict resilient modulus, using routinely collected soil properties. Laboratory test data on sandy soils from nine borrow pits in Georgia were used for model training and testing. For comparison purposes, the two tree ensemble methods were evaluated against a regression tree model and a multiple linear regression model, demonstrating their superior performance. The results revealed that a single tree model generally suffers from high variance, while providing a similar performance to the traditional multiple linear regression model. By leveraging a collection of trees, both tree ensemble methods, Random Forest and eXtreme Gradient Boosting, significantly reduced variance and improved prediction accuracy, with the eXtreme Gradient Boosting being the best model, with an R2 of 0.95 on the test dataset. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Geotechnical Engineering)
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Article
Risk Management of Bored Piling Construction on Sandy Soils with Real-Time Cost Control
Infrastructures 2021, 6(5), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures6050077 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1252
Abstract
In a global society, in which geotechnical projects are increasingly designed in a country other than the one where construction takes place, geotechnical risk management must be extended to cover infrastructure works, which are smaller than dams and tunnels, for example, since there [...] Read more.
In a global society, in which geotechnical projects are increasingly designed in a country other than the one where construction takes place, geotechnical risk management must be extended to cover infrastructure works, which are smaller than dams and tunnels, for example, since there is a significant impact on works budget imponderables. Therefore, a risk management methodology based on the likelihood of the occurrence of certain events and their economic consequences is proposed, which is applicable to bored piles (Kelly drilled) in coarse soils, easy to use, and simple to implement since the initial stage of construction. Of 12 case studies of construction works involving bored piles (Kelly drilled) carried out in Luanda (Angola), two selected examples involving the proposed risk methodology on sandy soil layers with interbedded clays are discussed. Subsequently, whether the overall foundation contract budget is affected by assessed risk is determined, and what influence it has on the budget in the light of mitigating factors and associated real costs. This method intended to encourage the adaptation of sustainable risk management in bored piles construction by the site project managers, involving risk analysis concurrently with budgetary review. Though the level of assessed technical risk may be acceptable, overall costs associated with the contract in question may not be acceptable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Geotechnical Engineering)
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Article
Use of Random Forest Model to Identify the Relationships among Vegetative Species, Salt Marsh Soil Properties, and Interstitial Water along the Atlantic Coast of Georgia
Infrastructures 2021, 6(5), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures6050070 - 03 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1163
Abstract
Saltmarshes, known to be ecologically sensitive areas, face disturbances such as vegetation dieback due to anthropogenic activities such as construction. The current construction specifications recommended by state highway agencies do not specifically require documenting or restoring any prior saltmarsh soil/interstitial water properties, nor [...] Read more.
Saltmarshes, known to be ecologically sensitive areas, face disturbances such as vegetation dieback due to anthropogenic activities such as construction. The current construction specifications recommended by state highway agencies do not specifically require documenting or restoring any prior saltmarsh soil/interstitial water properties, nor do they require re-establishing saltmarsh vegetation; restoring the abiotic properties and appropriate vegetation would enhance the long-term functionality and ecology of a disturbed area. In order to have a successful restoration of disturbed saltmarshes with healthy vegetation, the relationship between vegetative species and the properties of saltmarsh soils and interstitial water must be fully understood. In this study, field and laboratory tests were conducted for the soil samples from eight different saltmarsh sites in the Southeastern US Atlantic coastal region, followed by the development of a random forest model; the aim is to identify correlation among saltmarsh predominant vegetation types, redox potential, and salinity. The results reveal that moisture content and sand content are two main drivers for the bulk density of saltmarsh soils, which directly affect plant growth and likely root development. Moreover, it is concluded that deploying modern machine learning algorithms, such as random forest, can help to identify desirable saltmarsh soil/water properties for re-establishing vegetative cover with the reduced time after construction activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Geotechnical Engineering)
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Article
Layer Composition of Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavement Optimized Using a Regression Analysis Method
Infrastructures 2021, 6(4), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures6040056 - 06 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 874
Abstract
A procedure for determining the optimized composition of layer properties for a continuously reinforced concrete pavement (CRCP) system was constructed using field tests, finite element (FE) analysis, and regression analysis methods. The field support characteristics of a rigid pavement system were investigated using [...] Read more.
A procedure for determining the optimized composition of layer properties for a continuously reinforced concrete pavement (CRCP) system was constructed using field tests, finite element (FE) analysis, and regression analysis methods. The field support characteristics of a rigid pavement system were investigated using a falling weight deflectometer (FWD), dynamic cone penetrometer (DCP), and a static plate load test. The subgrade layer exhibited a more uniform condition than the aggregate base, and the modulus of the subgrade reaction of the aggregate base and subgrade combination (effective k-value) was improved by about 1.5 times by introducing a 2 inch (50.8 mm) asphalt stabilized base (ASB) layer. Thereafter, FE support models describing the actual field conditions were studied. The effects of the thickness of the stabilized base layer, the elastic modulus of the stabilized base material, and the effective k-value on the composite k-value of the support system were identified using a regression analysis method, and the results showed that the variables had a similar effect when determining the composite k-value. Afterward, a procedure for selecting the layer properties for producing a suitable composite k-value was constructed, and we identified that the maximum stress in the concrete slab was induced at different levels, even with identical composite k-values. Lastly, regression relationships were derived to estimate the maximum stress in the concrete slab by considering both the support layer properties and the concrete slab. Subsequently, an algorithm for selecting an optimized layer composition of the CRCP structure was construction considering the economical aspect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Geotechnical Engineering)
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Article
In Situ Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste Using Membrane Interface Probe (MIP) and Hydraulic Profiling Tool (HPT) in an Active and Closed Landfill
Infrastructures 2021, 6(3), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures6030033 - 01 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 963
Abstract
Municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills near a metropolitan area are renewable energy resources to produce heat and methane that can generate electricity. However, it is difficult to use those sources productively because disposed MSW in landfills are spatially and temporally heterogeneous. Regarding the [...] Read more.
Municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills near a metropolitan area are renewable energy resources to produce heat and methane that can generate electricity. However, it is difficult to use those sources productively because disposed MSW in landfills are spatially and temporally heterogeneous. Regarding the prediction of the sources, the analysis of in situ MSW properties is an alternative way to reduce the uncertainty and to understand complex processes undergoing in the landfill effectively. A hydraulic profiling tool (HPT) and membrane interface probe (MIP) test measures the continuous profile of MSW properties with depth, including hydraulic pressure, temperature, electrical conductivity (EC), and the relative concentration of methane at the field. In this study, we conducted a series of the tests to investigate the MSW characteristics of active and closed landfills. MIP results showed that the methane existed closer to right below the top cover in the active landfill and several peak concentrations at different layers of the closed landfill. As the depth and age of the waste increased, the hydraulic pressure increased for both landfills. The average EC results showed that the electrical conductivity decreased with the landfill age. The results of hydraulic properties, temperature, and EC obtained from active and closed sites could be used to estimate the waste age and help designing energy recovery systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Geotechnical Engineering)
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Article
Estimating Hydraulic Conductivity of Overconsolidated Soils Based on Piezocone Penetration Test (PCPT)
Infrastructures 2021, 6(3), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures6030032 - 28 Feb 2021
Viewed by 701
Abstract
Overconsolidated (OC) soils may develop a low or negative pore pressure during PCPT. Thus, it is challenging to develop an “on-the-fly” estimation of hydraulic conductivity from PCPT results. This study presents a method to estimate the hydraulic conductivity of OC soils from PCPT [...] Read more.
Overconsolidated (OC) soils may develop a low or negative pore pressure during PCPT. Thus, it is challenging to develop an “on-the-fly” estimation of hydraulic conductivity from PCPT results. This study presents a method to estimate the hydraulic conductivity of OC soils from PCPT results based on a previously developed method for normally consolidated (NC) soils. To apply the existing method, PCPT pore pressure in OC soils is adjusted by using a correction factor. An equation for the correction factor is derived based on the concepts of critical state soil mechanics, cavity expansion, and consolidation theories. Then, it was reformulated so that traditional cone indices could be used as input parameters. It is shown that the correction factor is mainly influenced by the cone tip resistance, pore pressure, and the rigidity index. The comparison of predicted, which is based on corrected pore pressure and measured hydraulic conductivity showed a good match for four well documented data sets. With the findings of the study, it is expected that an “on-the-fly” estimation of hydraulic conductivity of overconsolidated soils is possible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Geotechnical Engineering)
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Article
Experimental and Numerical Studies on Thermally-Induced Slip Ratcheting on a Slope
Infrastructures 2021, 6(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures6010005 - 31 Dec 2020
Viewed by 841
Abstract
Mild temperature fluctuation of a material sitting on a slope may only cause a small slip, but a large number of the repeated temperature changes can amplify the magnitude of the overall slip and eventually bring an issue of structural instability. The slip [...] Read more.
Mild temperature fluctuation of a material sitting on a slope may only cause a small slip, but a large number of the repeated temperature changes can amplify the magnitude of the overall slip and eventually bring an issue of structural instability. The slip accumulation starts from the minor magnitude and reaches the extensive level called “slip ratcheting”. Experimental evidence for such thermally-induced slip ratcheting is first provided in this work. It is implemented with an acryl sheet placed on an inclined wood with a mild angle; it is found that the temperature fluctuation of the acryl sheet causes the sheet to slide down gradually without any additional loading. The numerical model is then attempted to emulate the major findings of the experiments. From the simulation work, the location of a neutral point is found when the acryl plate is heated, and another neutral point is observed when cooled down. The shift of the neutral point appears to be a major reason for the unrecovered slip after a temperature increase and decrease cycle. Finally, a parametric study using the numerical model is carried out to examine which parameters play a major role in the development of residual slips. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Geotechnical Engineering)
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