53 episodes

The Geotechnical Engineering Podcast (TGEP) provides engineering career advice and success stories specifically for geotechnical engineers. Jared M. Green, PE, D. GE, F.ASCE, NOMA, Principle at Langan Engineering and Award-Winning Geotechnical Practice Leader hosts the show and showcase geotechnical engineering projects and professionals.



Topics covered include but are not limited to large diameter foundations, design-build, energy foundations, ground anchor systems, career planning tips, unsaturated soil mechanics, geosynthetics, soil erosion, dynamic compaction, earthquake engineering and more.

The Geotechnical Engineering Podcast Anthony Fasano, PE and Jared M. Green, PE

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 21 Ratings

The Geotechnical Engineering Podcast (TGEP) provides engineering career advice and success stories specifically for geotechnical engineers. Jared M. Green, PE, D. GE, F.ASCE, NOMA, Principle at Langan Engineering and Award-Winning Geotechnical Practice Leader hosts the show and showcase geotechnical engineering projects and professionals.



Topics covered include but are not limited to large diameter foundations, design-build, energy foundations, ground anchor systems, career planning tips, unsaturated soil mechanics, geosynthetics, soil erosion, dynamic compaction, earthquake engineering and more.

    TGEP 53: Wick Drains for Ground Improvement in Geotechnical Engineering

    TGEP 53: Wick Drains for Ground Improvement in Geotechnical Engineering

    In this episode, we talk to Martin (Marty) Taube, P.E., P.G., about wick drains, what they are, how they work, and some of the challenges associated with installing wick drains.





    Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Martin:



    What are wick drains and how do they work?

    How are wick drains designed and who is typically responsible for the design?

    How long have they been used in the US?

    What types of soils are they installed in and what types of structures are they installed for?

    When shouldn’t wick drains be installed?

    What ground improvement techniques would you go to for soft clays if wick drains aren’t appropriate?

    What are the biggest challenges with installing wick drains?

    Are there any specific safety concerns when working with wick drains?

    What advice would you like to give to engineers that are specifying wick drains?



    Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Wick Drains for Ground Improvement in Geotechnical Engineering:





    When you place fill on some types of soils, they experience issues because there is pore pressure building up in the soil. These soils are slow-draining fine-grain soils such as clay. It is known as consolidation settlement which can take years or even decades to occur. Wick drains are installed to shorten the drainage pattern pathway, speed up the consolidation process, and increase the strength of the soil. Wick drains are thin prefabricated drains that consist of a plastic core with channels in them and are encased by a geotextile fabric that acts as a filter that prevents fine soil from migrating into the drain.

    Wick drain designs can be made in many ways depending on the schedule and economics of the project. It is an iterative process while looking at the different factors. Wick drains are used to speed up the settlement while other ground improvement techniques are used to mitigate settlement. They are best designed by the project’s engineer as opposed to the installer because of the many variables that must be considered.

    Wick drain has been used since the late 1970s with the development of geosynthetics and replaced sand drains by the mid-1980s.

    Wick drains bring the water up to the surface of the soil, or below the consolidating layer. When the water comes up to the surface, you need a way of receiving the water like a drainage blanket made from sand or rock.

    Pre-drilling is a common issue when installing wick drains. The drilling is more expensive than only installing the wick drains. It is required when you have a dense or stiff layer at the surface.

    Wick drains are installed in fine grain slow draining soil like clays, silts, silty clays, sludges, and fine grain dredged materials. They are used in transportation projects, storage tank projects, large port projects, and general buildings and structures.

    Wick drains are used for up to 3-story buildings but cannot be used in mid or high-rise buildings.

    Wick drains are typically used in soft clays. If wick drains are not appropriate, Controlled Modulus Column (CMC) rigid inclusions can be used because stone columns or aggregate piers have issues with the lack of confinement in the soft clays.

    When working with wick drains, you must look at how stiff the soils are and if the mandrel will be able to penetrate them. If the soils are too stiff, then other ways of assisting the mandrel must be considered. When installing the wick drain with the mandrel, there is a rebar anchor that must be secured before extracting the mandrel. If the soils are too soft, then the wick drain will not be securely anchored and will be pulled up with the mandrel. Rupturing artesian pressure layers can cause a high velocity of up flow which can cause the wick drain to not anchor securely.

    When using very long masts to insert the wick d...

    • 38 min
    TGEP 52: Designing Engineered Solutions to Optimize Performance

    TGEP 52: Designing Engineered Solutions to Optimize Performance

    In this episode, we talk to Andres F. Peralta, MSCE, MBA, P.E., product manager at Tensar International Corporation, about a newly enhanced, free, web-based software called Tensar+, which allows engineers, contractors, and owners to design engineered solutions for a variety of applications.

    Engineering Quotes:





    Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Andres:



    What is Tensar+ and how was it developed?

    What makes Tensar+ different from other civil engineering design software out there?

    What kind of feedback have you gotten from engineers about the software?

    What is the future of Tensar+ and how can it benefit engineers and engineering firms?

    What final piece of advice would you like to give to our young engineers out there when dealing with uncertainty in their careers?



    Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Designing Engineered Solutions:





    Tensar’s solutions are backed by extensive research and significant field experience, which means that when you take their designs and solutions and put them into practice, they will perform and be reliable. They have installed more than one billion square yards of geogrid around the world.

    Tensar+ is a free web page design software tool that allows an engineer to design different types of structures.

    Tensar+ relies on complex methods to describe the composite behavior between geogrid and soil particles. It is not only a design tool, but also an education platform that provides on-demand training and tutorials that anybody can use. Once you have completed the training, you will also get professional development hours (PDH).

    The Tensar+ mission is to become the official learning hub for engineers — a location where they can learn to design geogrids and also learn about the benefits that geogrids can bring to their designs, enabling them to make better and informed decisions about them.

    Never stop learning and never stop growing as a professional engineer.



    More Details in This Episode…



    About the Guest: Andres F. Peralta, MSCE, MBA, P.E.

    Andres is a Florida-registered professional engineer who has eight years of experience designing with geosynthetics, mainly for mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) structures and paved and unpaved geogrid stabilized roadways. He graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a B.S. and an M.S. in Civil Engineering and with a master’s in Business Administration. Andres has been with Tensar since 2012 when he started as an intern, and he has held multiple roles within the company, both technical and commercial. Andres resides in Fort Lauderdale, FL, where he is an active member of the ASCE and the Geo-Institute Miami-Dade Chapters.

    About the Host: Jared M. Green, P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE

    Jared, originally from southwest Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, graduated from Syracuse University’s College of Engineering in 2001 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He later went on to attain his M.S. in Civil Engineering (Geotechnical Focus) from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Campaign, in 2002. In 2003, he began working in the New York City office of Langan. He has since become a Principal / Vice President and is one of the owners of this international land development engineering consulting firm. After 15 years at Langan, Jared moved to the Philadelphia office and is one of the geotechnical practice leaders in that office.



    Jared is a consultant and team leader who also enjoys mentoring young engineers and first-generation college students. He has been instrumental in increasing the number of pre-college students who are interested in STEAM majors and fields. He strives to make complex engineering topics relatable and understandable to people new to the field and to people who are completely unfamiliar with engineering.

    • 18 min
    TGEP 51: How Engineers Can Help Improve the Safety of Mine Tailing Dams

    TGEP 51: How Engineers Can Help Improve the Safety of Mine Tailing Dams

    In this episode, we talk to Roy Mayfield, Ph.D., P.E., about mine tailing dams, how we can help improve the safety of these dams, and why having sound engineering judgment and expertise is crucial in your engineering career.

    Engineering Quotes:







    Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Roy:



    What are mine tailing dams, and what are they used for?

    When mine tailing dams fail, the results can be catastrophic. Should we be worried about it, and what are some of the consequences of a collapse?

    What can be done to improve tailing dam safety?

    Can you talk to us about one project that stood out to you in your career, and what you learned from it?

    How can engineers develop sound engineering judgment and expertise?

    What final piece of advice would you like to give young engineers when dealing with uncertainty in their careers?



    Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Mine Tailing Dams:





    Mine tailings are what is left over after the target mineral is removed from the ore. Removing the target mineral produces a slurry of sand and silt that must be stored and impounded. The sand in this slurry can be removed and used to build the embankments that impound the tailing slurry. Sand and water do not interact well, so great care must be taken when building the mine tailing dams.

    Mine tailing dams are some of the largest man-made structures in the world. If the mine tailing dams fail, the consequences can be catastrophic. The sheer volume of the contents flowing out of the failed dam can bury a large area of the surrounding ground and, in some cases, can also cause chemical contamination. The downstream effects of mine tailing dams failing are very apparent and tragic.

    Water is the cause of most geotechnical failures. To improve the safety of mine tailing dams, geotechnical engineers must be highly integrated with hydrologists, hydraulics engineers, and hydrogeologists to understand how the water is behaving in the mine tailing dams. Geotechnical engineers must better understand the undrained behavior of sand because it can undergo liquefaction and behave in an undrained manner and flow. Understanding all the behaviors is important to making a robust design.

    The Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management has released documents about the processes that must be followed when working with mine tailing dams. It focuses on the integration and systems that are required to improve mine tailing dam safety.

    What geotechnical engineers do is only a small part of the client's bigger picture he has in his mind. If a client starts acting unreasonably, know something is causing their behavior that you must understand and incorporate it into your work.

    You learn through your mistakes, but in this kind of industry, you cannot afford to only learn from your mistakes. Study case histories to build your understanding of what went wrong and how it can be avoided. You can also develop your engineering judgment by thinking of what you do daily in a more rigorous way. Before you do any analysis of a design, mark where you think a problem will be and what you think the factor of safety will be in the analysis. If your prediction is very different from the analysis, go back and understand why you were different from the analysis. Repeating this will increase your understanding and help you picture in your mind which things are important for different situations. Developing these mind images is the foundation for developing your engineering judgment.

    Engineers operate on a very slim data set. Being humble about what you know and doing the extra work and analysis will help you to understand how robust your design will be in a case of unexpected circumstances.



    More Details in This Episode…



    About the Guest: Roy Mayfield, Ph.D., P.E.

    • 28 min
    TGEP 50: InSAR and Finite Element Analysis in Geotechnical Engineering

    TGEP 50: InSAR and Finite Element Analysis in Geotechnical Engineering

    In this episode, we talk to Andrew Lees, Ph.D., MICE CEng, Director of Geofem, Global Application Technology Manager at Tensar International, as well as Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Southampton about Finite Element Analysis, Geogrid Stabilization, InSAR, and what the future looks like for geotechnical engineering.

    Engineering Quotes:







    Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Andrew:



    What is FEA (Finite Element Analysis) and what are its benefits to construction?

    What's your advice to young engineers starting in FEA in geotechnical engineering?

    What’s the biggest revolution in recent years in geogrid reinforcement?

    InSAR is growing fast in the geotechnical field. Can you explain to our listeners, who might not be too familiar with it, what InSAR is and how it works?

    What does the future look like for geotechnical engineering, in your opinion?

    What advice would you like to give young engineers considering getting involved in these fields of geotechnical engineering?



    Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About InSAR and Finite Element Analysis in Geotechnical Engineering:





    Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is found in all fields of engineering. It is particularly useful in geotechnical engineering as it is a powerful analysis tool. It allows you to analyze the complex material behavior of soil and rock. Many different types of data can be incorporated into a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) model. It is used when there is extra complexity in things like geometry, loading conditions, and soil behavior. It is a great tool that can potentially save your client large amounts of time and money when conventional calculation methods are not suited for the complexity of the project.

    Young graduate engineers still have a lot more to learn on the job to do finite element analysis correctly. There are now many more learning resources available that the young engineer must use to become more qualified in FEA. Always be suspicious of your output, no matter how correct it looks. Always consult with a professional about your findings.

    The biggest revolution in recent years in geogrid reinforcement is not only the reinforcement, but also the mechanical stabilization. When you get shear deformation in the soil, you get the movement of the particles within an aggregate. The particles move over each other and resist interparticle friction, but more importantly, you get the rotation of particles as well. Introducing a geogrid into that matrix acts as a disruptor to the movement of the particles. Particles that interlock with the geogrid are restrained against rotation and movement and improve the fundamental behavior of that aggregate by making it stronger.

    InSAR is a technology used to produce outputs of ground and building displacement. Satellites 500 miles above the earth’s surface are measuring displacement to fractions of an inch on the ground. The satellites use radar imagery to determine if there is any displacement that occurred on the ground's surface between imaging times of any given area. New technology stacks multiple images to eliminate more errors and detect displacements as little as a few millimeters in accuracy. It enables geotechnical engineers to quickly get site displacement data for the previous five years. It is also used to continually monitor large geotechnical structures to check for defects and as a forensic tool if failures do occur.

    The future of geotechnical engineers is looking good, as it will become more in demand. The legacy infrastructure we have is getting old and developing defects. They have been underfunded in the past and are currently being used for more than what they were designed for. Climate change is causing the geotechnical aspects to be more susceptible to geohazards. Technology will be growing exponentially in the ge...

    • 28 min
    TGEP 49: Geohazard Monitoring and Mitigation in Geotechnical Engineering

    TGEP 49: Geohazard Monitoring and Mitigation in Geotechnical Engineering

    In this episode, we talk to Ben Haugen, Director of Business Development for Remote Sensing at GeoStabilization International, about geohazard monitoring and mitigation, how it benefits the community, and some of the things that engineers can do to prioritize the mitigation of geohazards.

    Engineering Quotes:





    Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Ben:



    What is geohazards monitoring and mitigation, and why is it important in engineering?

    What are some of the main causes of geohazards?

    In what way does geohazard monitoring benefit the community?

    What are some of the types of geospatial data that are collected, what collection techniques are used, and how important is it to accurately interpret these critical geospatial data monitors in at-risk areas?

    How can analysis of natural hazards in real time provide a better understanding of risk and preparation for geohazard potentials?

    What are some of the things that engineers can do to prioritize the mitigation of geohazards?

    What advice would you like to give to our young engineers?



    Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Geohazard Monitoring and Mitigation:





    Geohazards are caused by geological features interacting with water, wind, and other natural processes. It causes the movement of slopes in the form of landslides and rockfalls. Monitoring and mitigating entail working with transport departments and private companies to find potential geohazards before they happen.

    The largest triggering cause for most geologic hazards is water. Heavy rains in high fire zones can cause debris flows. With the absence of vegetation and the fires prohibiting the ground from absorbing water, high rainfall causes mudflows as it runs off these areas. In turn, a high water-absorbing soil area absorbs a lot of the water, which causes an increase in core pressure, weakens the slope, and causes a landslide. Freeze-thaw cycles can trigger an event by expanding cracks in rocks, which eventually causes rockfall.

    Geohazard monitoring benefits a community by being able to detect where there is a geological movement with sensors and technologies. Sometimes detected small events will indicate that a bigger event will be happening soon. Plans can be made to prevent the larger event from occurring or ensure that the people close by will be kept safe from the event.

    There are many ways that you can get geological data. Some of the commonly used ways are remote sensing by using cameras, lidar sensors, and satellite radar. Other technologies include robotic total stations, regular total stations, inclinometers, and piezometers.

    Geohazard monitoring and mitigation are often dispatched because of an engineering project that will take place in an area, or someone has discovered a potential hazard. Data is collected so that the proper decisions can be made to mitigate the hazard or get people to safety.

    Engineers can prioritize mitigating a geohazard by ensuring they have the correct information, characterizing the hazard, understanding the severity of the hazard, and adding on consequences and exposures. It is a risk equation that is developed across many industries and engineering disciplines. Ensure people know about the hazard and how it can affect them for some time to come. Considering all the factors together with the data collected allows you to rank the risk of the hazard.

    Find and listen to mentors. Finding people who are willing and able to provide you with good advice will tremendously benefit your career. Keep an open mind toward others and remember there is no project that you will not need a team of people to be successful.



    More Details in This Episode…

    About the Guest: Ben Haugen

    Ben leads GeoStabilization's efforts to drive customer awareness and project development in the rem...

    • 21 min
    TGEP 48: Engineering in the Bay Area: Exploring Variable Site Conditions

    TGEP 48: Engineering in the Bay Area: Exploring Variable Site Conditions

    In this episode, we talk to Tom W. Porter, P.E., Principal Engineer at Romig Engineers, Inc., and Christina Tipp, PG, CEG, a professional geologist from SHN, about variable site conditions in the Bay Area. We also talk about what it is like to work for a small engineering firm and discuss some of the best methods of training entry-level staff.

    Engineering Quotes:







    Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Tom and Christina:





    What makes engineering in the Bay Area different from other areas?

    What are some of the geological hazards that you have seen in the Bay Area?

    How do groundwater conditions affect a project?

    How do you test for groundwater levels in your projects?

    Is the Bay Area more at risk of liquefaction during an earthquake than others?

    What are some of the benefits you have experienced working in a small firm?

    How do you work yourself up from a management position to being a principal at your firm?

    What are some of the best methods of training entry-level staff, and what are some of your favorite parts of training new staff?

    What advice would you like to give to our young engineers out there?



    Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Engineering in the Bay Area: 



    The conditions in the Bay Area are extremely variable and diverse. The Bay Area is one of the most variable geologic areas in the country. Engineers must be prepared to see changing geologic from day to day and site to site.

    The Bay Area has many different geological hazards, such as landslides, debris flows, rock falls, liquefaction, settlement, and tremors. It makes the area a fun place for engineers to work and find solutions to a diverse array of problems.

    The groundwater conditions vary from shallow groundwater in the Bay Area to deep and perch groundwater conditions in the foothill and mountain areas. When designing projects, you must understand what the groundwater conditions currently are, and the potential for variability in the groundwater conditions in the future. Many building owners are putting in multi-level basements below their buildings in the Bay Area. It makes it essential to understand the groundwater conditions when designing the basements.

    When groundwater is of concern in a project, monitoring wells and piezometers are used to monitor the static groundwater levels over a few months to more than a year. The fluctuation of the groundwater is measured from the dry to the rainy seasons. A database of the groundwater in projects close by is also used to determine the fluctuation in groundwater levels.

    There is a lot of liquefaction around the Bay because there is a lot of ground fill placed along the Bay margins. They are making more areas to develop on, so they are pushing more ground fill further into the Bay. You cannot put anything onto the Bay mud and expect it to hold well in a seismic event. Wherever the groundwater is high and there are younger Bay deposits present, the chances are high for liquefaction to take place.

    Everyone knows what everybody else is doing in a small firm because it has a team environment. Everyone must be on their toes and offer support where they can. It allows for more training, oversight, and mentoring for the younger staff.

    To work yourself up from a management position to being a principal, you must work hard and put the hours in. Focus on getting your professional license and gain a lot of experience. Taking the opportunities that are presented to you will grow your experience level tremendously.

    When training new staff members, show them what you want them to do, watch them do it, and then let them do it on their own. Check their work, keep communication open, and let them know what you expect from them.

    If you communicate with people,

    • 25 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

JTWWVU ,

Great Listen for Young Professionals

If you’re in the early stages of your Geotechnical Engineering career, definitely give this podcast a shot!

JCath1995#1 ,

Incredible work!

I’m an EIT working in construction management looking to make a switch to geotechnical engineering. This podcast is extremely helpful giving us amazing exposure to geotech engineers’ actual experiences.

Ibrahim Alwaeli ,

Great & Informative Podcast

I’m an EIT with 2 years of engineering experience and joined the geotechnical engineering profession last month. I’ve always been interested in geotechnical engineering and see myself doing it for the rest of my career. I hope to benefit from your podcast. Thanks!

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