News & Views

Nottingham University Geotechnical Early Careers Seminar 2022 – Reviewed

The Federation of Piling Specialists (FPS), as part of its Early Careers Group (ECG) initiative, recently held a Geotechnical Seminar, alongside the British Geotechnical Association Early Careers Group (BGA ECG) and the University of Nottingham.

The event held 23 March 2022 and sponsored by Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions, Fugro and Aarsleff, kicked off with a welcome from Athina Grizi, from the University of Nottingham, Ben Marriott from the British Geotechnical Association Early Careers Group (BGA ECG) and the Federation of Piling Specialists Early Careers Group chair, Julia Hill. The turnout was extremely impressive, with PhD students and researchers from the university in attendance, as well as BGA and FPS ECG members.

Athina Grizi delivered the first presentation titled “A new tool for the prediction of pile driving ground motions”. This research is highly applicable within the industry, as it discusses how to deal with the associated structural damage that can occur due to pile driving. A method of quantifying this energy that is transferred to the ground during pile driving was presented, which could help avoid this issue in the future.

This presentation was followed by Jacques Tott-Buswell, who delivered an engaging topic titled “Can we estimate the stiffness and mass of OWT monopiles using data from installed sensors?”.  This talk focused on numerical modelling to track the displacement curve of OWT monopiles, and the poster that was associated with this presentation also won the research poster competition that was held at the end of the event.

Presentations led by the sponsors of the event kicked off the second half of the seminar, starting with Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions. From this talk an understanding of various parts of the company was gained, which was incredibly useful for students that attended, allowing them to become more knowledgeable as to where their skills can be applied within the sector. Aarsleff followed on from this, where they presented a case study on the Sunderland Gateway. Part of the case study featured a value-engineered soil-nailed wall face. The original design of the structure, by Capita, was an anchored combi-wall, made up of drilled steel tubes with sheet piles. The redesign by Aarsleff provided project savings and de-risked the construction, which demonstrated how as engineers we can provide alternative solutions that have far reaching benefits.

Fugro was last to present and focused on CPT innovation. This was directly applicable to the piling industry, as Fugro highlighted its new fleet of techniques/rigs such as “deep line”, which was developed to overcome encountering obstructions – a major drawback of CPT.

The event closed with a research poster competition, with Jacques Tott-Buswell placing first. All the posters however were incredibly informative, and it was interesting to see the research that is being conducted and how this can be applied within the industry.

Overall, the event was a huge success and was a brilliant opportunity to become more educated on current research and works occurring within the piling sector. It was also a fantastic networking opportunity for those in attendance, having come away with connections that can be used in the future.