Geotechnical Society of Edmonton

NEWS 2016

Posted September 1, 2015 (Updated April 6, 2016)

Event: May 4, 2016

GSE/CGS Cross Canada Lecture Tour: Dr. Antonio Gens, Technical University of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain - Stiff Clays and Mudstones: Fundamentals, Progressive Failure, and Underground Excavations

Location: Faculty Club, University of Alberta (11435 Saskatchewan Drive)

Time: 5:30pm Registration, 6:00pm Dinner, 6:30pm Presentation

Cost: $30 Members, $40 Non-Members, $10 Students

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The paper examines some aspects of the engineering behaviour of argillaceous hard soils and weak rocks. After considering the wide variety of this class of materials, some common behaviour features are identified concerning compressibility, structure development, microfabric, anisotropy, effects of discontinuities and hydraulic properties. Those features are examined in the context of appropriate behaviour frameworks developed for this type of materials.

Two themes are then selected for special consideration: i) brittleness and progressive failure, and ii) the response of argillaceous weak rocks to deep underground excavations. The first theme addresses the issue of the appropriate operational strength and it is illustrated by a case history involving the failure of a tailings dam. In the second theme, particular attention is given to a number of cases of intensively-monitored field cases performed in deep underground laboratories for nuclear waste disposal. The lecture concludes with some general considerations on the particular features of these materials for engineering purposes.

Antonio Gens graduated from the Technical University of Madrid and he obtained a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. degree from Imperial College in London. He is a professor of Geotechnical Engineering at the Technical University of Catalonia in Barcelona where he has been Head of the Department of Geotechnical Engineering and Geosciences and member of the Governing Council of the University.

He has been involved in geotechnical research, consulting and education for more than 30 years. He is the author or co-author of more than 250 scientific papers and he sits in the Editorial Board of several International Journals. He is a member of TC105 (unsaturated soils) and TC215 (environmental geotechnics) of the ISSMGE. He has consulted widely and has given geotechnical advice on a series of landmark projects, both at home and abroad.

In recent years, he has been presented with the Case History Award by the American Rock Mechanics Association in 2006, the R.M. Quigley Award by the Canadian Geotechnical Society in 2009 and the Outstanding Contributions Award by the International Association for Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics (IACMAG) in 2011. Also, the UK Institution of Civil Engineers has awarded him the Telford Medal twice (in 1994 and 2007), the George Stephenson Medal also twice (in 2008 and 2012) and the Geotechnical Research Medal in 2014. In 2007, he delivered the 47th Rankine Lecture. He is a member of the Royal Academy of Doctors of Spain and in 2011 he became a Fellow of the UK Royal Academy of Engineering. In 2014, he has been awarded a Doctorate Honoris Causa by the University of Grenoble in France and the Honour Medal of the Colegio de Ingenieros de Caminos (Institution of Civil Engineers) of Spain. He has been elected Vice-President for Europe of the ISSMGE for the period 2013-2017.

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