Drones: An Engineering Reconnaissance Tool of Tomorrow, but Here Today!
About six years ago, I began researching geotechnical engineering applications of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones. My initial efforts were encouraged by most of my colleagues, but were criticized...

Geotechnics of the Suez Canal Construction: 150 Years Old, but Nearly Four Millennia in the Making
Construction of the Suez Canal created one of the most important waterways in the world, connecting the Mediterranean and Red Seas. Its construction from 1854 to 1869 created three cities, Port-Said, Ismailia,...

Immortal and Ethereal Beauty in Stone: The Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal, probably one of the most beautiful structures in the world, has withstood the vagaries of history and the environment. Lengthy tomes have been written on its beauty and the details of the...

What Lurks Below: The Geotechnical Intrigue of Boston’s Back Bay
In 1858, the great filling of Back Bay began. Completed in about 20 years, it led to nearly 100 city blocks of iconic 4- and 5-story brick rowhouses. In the past 60 years, about 50 high-rise buildings...

Advances In Geosynthetic Solutions For Sustainable Landfill Design: Geosynthetics Really Do Last!
Even though geosynthetics are now a well-established discipline within geotechnical engineering, ingenuity continues to play a significant role in projects involving their use. This is because it’s possible...

Embracing Disruption
The benefits of strategically embracing technology research and development within architecture, engineering, or construction companies’ business models are varied. But at its core, doing so can enable...

Fifty Years of Preservation: Historic American Engineering Record
On its 50th anniversary, the Historic American Engineering Record celebrates its chronicling of America’s industrial heritage while facing an uncertain future....

Discouraging Women from STEM Careers Would Violate ASCE's Code of Ethics
The chief executive of a national engineering society writes a column that discouraging women from pursuing career in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. If he has had...

From Fame to Failure: The St. Francis Dam (Part 1)
One of the most devastating engineering disasters in American history, the 1928 St. Francis Dam failure has had a lasting impact on the profession of civil engineering....

Crossing Grand Canyon: The Kaibab Trail Suspension Bridge
Recently named a national historic civil engineering landmark in ASCE's Historic Civil Engineering Landmark Program, the 1928 Kaibab Trail Suspension Bridge proved uniquely challenging to access, spanning...

Delivering Olmsted Lock and Dam
The Olmsted Locks and Dam, the largest civil works project by the US Army Corps of Engineers since the Panama Canal, became operational in August 2018. More than 30 years in the making, the $3-billion...

What Lies Ahead?
How will trends in climate change, alternative energy, high-tech construction, autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and public funding affect communities, infrastructure, and the practice of civil engineering...

Skinny 'Scrapers
Incredibly slender towers are rising around the globe into the skylines of major cities, especially New York City. Often targeted at the wealthy who are able to pay astronomical price for spectacular views,...

Digital Water Cooler
To keep employees connected across geographically dispersed offices, help them share knowledge and technical resources, and just better understand their company and their clients, many engineering firms...

Mixed Foundations Resolve Complex Conditions
A 46-story residential tower currently under construction in downtown Boston abuts an existing parking garage, necessitating extreme care to ensure its stability amid tight space constraints. Part of the...

Replacing an Icon
Since 1852, the Portage Viaduct has carried a rail line across the Genesee River Gorge, near the town of Portageville, New York. First made of timber, then replaced with a wrought iron structure after...

What's Hiding Between the Boreholes?
Often, geotechnical explorations consist of a few, strategically placed boreholes and considerable interpolation and extrapolation by the geotechnical engineer. The information between boreholes in most...

State of the Practice for Laboratory Testing of Soft Soils: It's All in the Details
As with all material testing, soils testing has undergone dramatic advances in technology because of computer automation. In the 1970s, laboratories were filled with dial gages, proving rings, mercury...

Sustainability and Resilience in Transportation Infrastructure Geotechnics: Integrating Advanced Technologies for Better Asset Management
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, enumerates 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to be achieved by the member countries...

The New Lightweight Contender: Ultra-lightweight Foamed Glass Aggregate Finds the U.S. Market
Geotechnical engineers are often confronted with sites where the existing soil is prone to settlement or where there are subsurface utilities sensitive to additional load. If relocation or realignment...

 

 

 

 

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