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UT Arlington Research Experiences for Teachers in Engineering

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Research Experiences for Teachers in Hazard Mitigation

Mitigation of Expansive Soil Heave Damage and Earthquake Research Knowledgebase

earthquake damageFaculty Mentor: Dr. Anand Puppala, PE

Graduate Assistants: Dr. Sireesh Saride, Aravind Pedarla

Hazard Type:
Earthquakes, Soil Expansion

2010 Teacher Participants
Celeste Mullis
Sherry Wright

2009 Teacher Participants
John Davis
Jennifer Rosario

2008 Teacher Participants
David Edwards
Stephanie Reed

Natural expansive soils have been found in many places around the world.  These soils undergo large volumetric changes due to seasonal moisture fluctuation. These volumetric changes cause the swelling or shrinkage of the soils, which in turn inflict severe damage to structures built above them (Puppala et al, 2003, 2007). The damages to structures, pavements, built on expansive clays are much greater than the damage caused by other natural disasters, including earthquakes and floods. It is important to fundamentally understand the constituents of expansive clays prior to attempting different types of chemical treatment methods to mitigate their swelling and shrinking behavior. UT Arlington's Geotechnical Program has been involved with several research studies with National Science Foundation, US Army Corps of Engineers and Texas Department of Transportation.

The purpose of this six week summer program is to disseminate some of major research findings to the select in-service K-12 teachers. The teachers will work with the research group in performing hands-on tests for characterizing the expansive soil characteristics and then will design pavement structures and residential home foundations via the measured soil properties. Other disaster related topics will focus on seismic related research including deep mixing of sub-soils to mitigate structural failures. The UT Arlington research team has access to visual modules on earthquake impacts on geotechnical infrastructure through their association with Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). In addition, UT Arlington has been involved in a major research on deep soil mixing methods in the field conditions. Visual modules on both seismic event impacts and deep mixing ground improvement methods are currently available and this information will be disseminated to the RET participants.

Model tanks with clays and sands will be given to participating STEM teachers to demonstrate expansive soil movements in their classrooms.  They will also be provided with software showing animations of expansive soil movements and how they impact the overlying superstructure.