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Contribute to our Industry: Grand Challenges in Earth Retaining Structures

One of the action items that came from the ASCE/G-I Earth Retaining Structures Committee conference call on 09 July 2013 was the need to identify the “Grand Challenge” issues within the field of earth retention systems. Grand Challenge issues are those issues that are transformational in nature. These are issues that if addressed, will have a significant impact on the current approaches to the design and construction of earth retention systems (ERS), and will drive the future direction of our industry. Thus, Grand Challenge issues can be ideas that address fundamental problems or deficiencies in the current approaches; or Grand Challenge issues can be thoughts of how to integrate new technologies or innovative ideas into the design and construction process.

The intent of identifying these Grand Challenge issues is to give the ERS Committee a greater voice in the direction of future research and development for earth retention systems. To this end, it is requested that every member take a few moments to list a few Grand Challenge issues or ideas and provide a couple of sentences discussing the issues. Afterwards, please send Bryson Sebastian (sebastian.bryson@uky.edu), Bob Alperstein (bob@racllc.com), and Dimitrios Konstantakos (dimitrios@deepexcavation.com) your lists and discussions, and they will summarize the results. If possible, please send your information to them by 30 September 2013.

The following categories are provided so that we can all start at the same place:

• Sustainability
o New materials for long design life
o New materials that promotes energy efficiency
o ERS as geothermal energy systems (i.e. similar to what is currently being done with geothermal energy piles)

• Innovative construction methodologies
o New cost effective, time efficient, energy efficient methodologies
o Building Information Management (BIM) for ERS construction management (e.g. real-time as-builts or visualization using digital imaging, laser scanning, GIS, etc.)

• ERS in dense urban areas
o Intelligent excavation (e.g. incorporating GPS on excavators, drill rigs, and driving equipment)
o Smart sensors and active control systems (e.g. settlement sensors that detect excessive ground settlement and hydraulic strut jacks stiffen the wall or real-time sensor data that result in near-immediate design changes and construction changes)

• Resiliency
o ERS designed for manmade and natural severe events (e.g. retention systems designed to perform during floods, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, etc.)

• Other

We look forward to hearing your thoughts at my  e-mail,

Dimitrios Konstantakos, P.E.

or comment on LinkedIn at: http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&gid=4307015&type=member&item=262039535&qid=79102ee7-cb97-48db-8cfb-526c1fc27453&trk=groups_most_popular-0-b-ttl&goback=%2Egmp_4307015