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Geotechnical Performance and Climatic Effects (GEO-PACE)
Start date: Jun 1, 2013, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Geotechnical infrastructure is pervasive around the world as a method of forming topographical change for highway embankments/cuttings, flooding defences, retaining walls. In general, it provides a cost effective way of producing topographical features. However, the maintenance costs of such pervasive infrastructure is high, for example over €800m per year is required to be invested in the Netherlands. Geomaterials are a porous, granular material which interact with their surroundings, in particular via, water interactions, through drying via evaporation, or wetting from rain or water courses, which effect their stability.Climate change will produce more extreme weather events: more intense rainfall/storm events, longer cold/warm periods, along with more slowly increasing sea levels. Therefore, significantly differing loads are placed upon existing geotechnical structures, and their behaviour in response to these loads should be assessed.This proposal aims to investigate the impact of climatic change on geotechnical infrastructure. This will involve an investigation of the effects of more extreme weather due to climate change and how this will affect the stability and reliability of geotechnical structures. The work aims to develop robust understanding of the processes and produce numerical computation models that can be used in the assessment and design of existing and new geotechnical infrastructure.The objectives are:1) To investigate the likely loading scenarios and potential failure mechanisms on geotechnical structures from changing climate.2) To investigate the impact of climate change loading on geotechnical structures through the development of numerical tools, supported with centrifuge experiments.3) To assess the change in performance of geotechnical structures in a reliability based framework.4) To provide practical guidance to industry and influence future code development."

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