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CSIC International Advisory Group Chair brings Terzaghi Lecture to Cambridge

last modified Feb 21, 2016 01:10 PM
Professor Tom O’Rourke, Chair of CSIC’s International Advisory Group and Thomas R Briggs Professor of Engineering in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University, will give the Terzaghi Lecture at the Department of Engineering next month.


Professor Tom O'Rourke will bring the Terzaghi Lecture to the Department of Engineering

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Geo-Institute Board of Governors chose Professor O’Rourke, a world-leading expert on natural disasters and their impact on the infrastructure supporting civil society, to present the 2016 Karl Terzaghi Lecture, considered the most prestigious geotechnical lecture given in the US.

The 2016 Geotechnical and Structural Engineering Congress, held in Phoenix, Arizona in February, was selected to host this year’s lecture, which Professor O’Rourke will present to Cambridge on Thursday 10 March. The lecture will take place in Lecture Room 4 at the Department of Engineering from 5.30pm to 6.30pm and is open to all.

Titled Ground Deformation Effects on Subsurface Pipelines and Infrastructure Systems, the lecture will examine how critical infrastructure in the form of tens of millions of kilometres of pipeline worldwide used in water supplies, gas and liquid fuel delivery systems, electric power networks and wastewater conveyance facilities is provided.

Soil-structure interaction affecting pipeline and underground conduit response to externally imposed ground deformation will be examined, starting with stress transfer from soil to the circular surface of the pipe. Professor O’Rourke will describe various models for soil-pipeline interaction and propose a methodology for evaluating the process in granular soils for any direction of pipe movement at any depth. Large-scale laboratory testing and numerical modelling for next-generation, hazard-resilient pipelines will be discussed and innovative ways of accommodating ground deformation illustrated. 

Professor O’Rourke will refer to water supply system response to widespread liquefaction-induced ground deformation during the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence in New Zealand, and evaluate the response with high-density LiDAR and GIS analyses. He will present a methodology for estimating pipeline damage as the combined response to liquefaction-induced differential settlement and lateral ground strain. The community impact of pipeline system performance will be illustrated with respect to the role that the water supply plays in fire suppression in San Francisco. 

Professor O’Rourke has authored or co-authored more than 360 publications on various geotechnical topics. He has served on several teams reviewing and reporting on significant disasters, such as the attack against New York City on 11 September 2001, Hurricane Katrina and earthquakes around the world, as well as many large infrastructure projects. Throughout his career, Dr O’Rourke has received many honours, including ASCE’s Stephen D Bechtel Pipeline Engineering, Ralph B Peck, C Martin Duke, and LeVal Lund Awards.