Critical Underground Infrastructure Response to Large Ground Deformation

Monday, Sep 26, 2016 - 1:00 pm

Center Hall, Room 212

Dr. Brad P. Wham


Vital infrastructure systems across the U.S. are in poor condition, near or exceeding their intended service life, and require significant capital investment to rehabilitate or replace.  The vulnerability of these systems is amplified in areas prone to ground deformation imposed by natural hazards, such as earthquake-induced fault rupture, landslides, and lateral spreading, and human-induced ground movements from tunneling and other construction activity.  To address the need for proven resilient infrastructure utility departments and manufacturers have looked to Cornell’s Geotechnical Lifelines Large-scale Testing Facility for research evaluating various hazard-resistant pipeline systems’ ability to accommodate severe ground deformation. This presentation will introduce several hazard-resilient pipeline systems under development, and present results from full-scale experiments designed to establish upper bound performance under extreme deformation conditions.  Major findings from physical and numerical simulations will be presented along with their influence on current design practices and development for high risk utilities.

Speaker Bio:

Dr. Brad Wham is a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a member of the Geotechnical Lifelines group.  He designs and implements full-scale experiments employing smart infrastructure techniques to characterize the response of various hazard-resilient pipeline systems to extreme deformation at the Geotechnical Lifelines Large-Scale Testing Facility.  His work couples physical testing and numerical simulations of soil-structure interaction imposed by earthquake-induced liquefaction and landslides as well as construction-related deformation including tunneling and deep excavation.  He has served on international field reconnaissance teams in New Zealand and Japan to document infrastructure performance and lifeline system response to natural disasters. He holds a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering and Masters of Engineering in Structural Engineering from Cornell University as well as a bachelor degree from Virginia Tech.