Northwestern University

Mon 12:00 PM

Special Seminar: Stefan Ritter

When: Monday, February 12, 2018
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM  

Where: Technological Institute, A230, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Tierney Acott   847.491.3257

Group: McCormick - Civil and Environmental Engineering

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Complex Interaction of Urbanization and Underground or Surface Infrastructure

Urbanization will require a significant expansion of underground infrastructure, which results in unavoidable soil displacements that interact with the built environment. Understanding and accurately predicting the response of adjacent infrastructure, either on the surface or underground, is an essential design consideration in urban excavation projects. However, the interaction between excavation-induced soil displacements and existing structures is frequently neglected in practice. This presentation will focus on this complex interaction problem. An extensive geotechnical centrifuge investigation into the interaction mechanisms between surface structures and tunneling-induced subsidence will be presented. The experimental results illustrate the importance of considering specific building details in this tunnel-soil-structure interaction problem. The experimental data provided is used to directly evaluate current design practice, and to propose modifications to refine design methods. Finally, the seminar will introduce a data-driven approach to study the impact of subsidence on infrastructure at a city scale, and will consider further related challenges that remain unsolved.

Stefan Ritter received his BSc and MSc (Geotechnics and Tunneling) from the University of Leoben (Austria). Throughout his Master’s research, he was a Marshall Plan Fellow at MIT (USA) working on risk-informed decision making related to sustainable reuse of tunnel muck. He subsequently worked as a geotechnical engineering. Significant projects included the Berlin U5 underground line and a drill-and-blast tunnel project in Austria. After two years in industry, Stefan joined the University of Cambridge (UK) in 2013 to undertake doctoral studies into the response of surface structures to tunneling-induced settlements. This research was awarded the Philip Turner Prize for excellence in geotechnical centrifuge testing. Stefan’s research activities include a broad range of aspects of underground construction, using field measurements, laboratory experiments and computational decision tools. Recently, Stefan’s research has further expanded to the interaction between existing infrastructure and soil displacements to provide effective risk assessment and mitigation.

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