FIRMAN SIAHAAN WINS BEST PAPER AWARD

PhD student Firman Siahaan from the Centre of Geomechanics and Railway Engineering (CGRE) recently won the “Best Paper Presentation” award in the Southeast Asia Conference on Soft Soil Engineering and Ground Improvement held from 21st to 23rd October 2014 in Bandung, Indonesia. The conference was hosted by Universitas Katolik Parahyangan (Indonesia) and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn (Malaysia), and supported by the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE).

He delivered a presentation on the influence of morphological properties of column materials on the load-deformation behaviour of stone column used to improve soft soil. During the conference, he faced a stiff competition from numerous delegates ranging from experienced practising engineers to young researchers from some top universities within Southeast Asia.

Firman is a practising engineer at Coffey Geomechanics who is currently taking a leave absence to do a PhD research under the supervision of Professor Buddhima Indraratna and Associate Professor Cholachat Rujikiatkamjorn. Firman’s research is funded by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Geotechnical Science and Engineering, and fully-integrated in the ARC-Linkage project in the collaboration with Coffey and Keller Ground Engineering. This research project is vital in improving the current design method and understanding for stone columns used in soft soil improvements, which can potentially help in saving cost associated with the optimisation of expensive stone materials for the construction of stone columns.

During the conference, Professor Indraratna also delivered a Distinguished Presidential Lecture to a wide range of audiences. Other presentations made by Associate Professor Rujikiatkamjorn and a fellow PhD student Darshana Perrera were also well-received. All these presentations along with Firman’s award demonstrate the strong influence that CGRE has made on the ground improvement research especially within the Asia Pacific region.

RAIL EXPERT HONOURED WITH PRESTIGIOUS INTERNATIONAL ENGINEERING MEDAL

Professor Buddhima Indraratna receives prestigious international award for work that is revolutionising rail infrastructure.

ARC CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE PHD THESIS COMPETITIONS

ARC Centre of Excellence in Geotechnical Science and Engineering hosted its 3minute PhD research presentation competition at Port Stephens during the past two days, and 35 PhD students took part in the competition. The judging panel (including Prof Guy Houlsby from Oxford University, UK) selected the best 3 presenters, while two other awards were the People’s Choice awards voted by the audience.

It is my absolute pleasure to announce that our PhD students Mr Thanh Trung Nguyen and Ms. Kirti Choudhury (supervised by Indraratna and Cholachat) won two of the three awards selected by the judging panel. Both these students work in the area of biodegradable vertical drains for stabilising road and rail embankments built on low-lying floodplains. Out of the two People’s choice awards, Mr Sinniah Navaratnarajah (supervised by Indraratna and Nimbalkar) won one of them for his thesis work in the area of Energy Absorbing Shock Mats for High Speed Rail Tracks.

It is a great achievement that out of the 5 nominated awards, 3 were grabbed by UOW students from the Centre GRE. I am most grateful to Katherine Cambareri for helping our geotechnical students to fine tune their presentation skills. On behalf of the Centre GRE, our heartiest congratulations to Kirti, Thanh and Nava for making us all very proud.

PROFESSOR BUDDHIMA INDRARATNA INVITED TO DELIVER THE DISTINGUISHED PRESIDENTIAL LECTURE

Professor Buddhima Indraratna has been invited to deliver the Distinguished Presidential Lecture at the South East Asian Conference On “Soft Soil Engineering And Ground Improvement” in Bandung, Indonesia in October 2014. The conference is hosted by the Indonesian and the Southeast Asian Geotechnical Societies. The Distinguished Presidential Lecture will be delivered during the Opening Ceremony of the Conference. Professor Indraratna’s lecture will be on “Effective and Sustainable Soft Foundation improvement for transport infrastructure – From Bumpy Roads to Rapid Transit”. This is further recognition of the research outcomes from our geotechnical team over many years now, that have made a tremendous impact on transport infrastructure worldwide.

GRE RESEARCHERS TO DEVELOP THE WORLD’S BEST HIGH-SPEED RAIL TESTING FACILITY FOLLOWING $1.2 MILLION GRANT

In the latest round of Federal Government Linkage grants Professor Buddhima Indraratna’s research team received $735,000 and a further $450,000 from the industry partners with the total approaching $1.2 million making it the biggest single Linkage grant within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences. The contributing industry partners are the National Jute Board of Government of India, Coffey Geotechnics Pty Ltd, Douglas Partners Pty Ltd, Menard-Bachy Pty Ltd and Soilwicks Australia. Linkage grant team members are Professor Indraratna (team leader, UOW), Associate Professor Cholachat Rujikiatkamjorn (UOW), Professor Scott Sloan and Professor John Carter (Newcastle), Professor David Potts (Imperial College, University of London), and industry partners Dr Richard Kelly (Coffey Geotechnics), Mr Tapobrata Sanyal (NJB India), Mr Geoffrey McIntosh (Douglas Partners), Mr Philippe Vincent (Menard-Bachy) and Mr Greg Ryan (Soilwicks).

GRE PHD STUDENT WINNER OF THE 2014 YOUNG PROFESSIONALS GEOTECHNICAL COMPETITION

PhD student S.M. Ali Tasalloti from the Research Centre for Geotechnical and Railway Engineering (GRE) won the 2014 Young Professionals Geotechnical Competition open to both industry and academia.

The competition, held in Sydney, was hosted by the Australian Geomechanics Society and Institution of Engineers Australia.

Ali’s presentation, based on his PhD research, was conducted in front of a packed audience at the Engineers Australia Auditorium in Chatswood. Ali’s PhD research is supervised by Prof. Buddhima Indraratna, Dr Ana Heitor, and A/Prof. Cholachat Rujikiatkamjorn, and this is part of an ARC-Linkage project in collaboration with Port Kembla Port Corporation, Douglas Partners, Coffey Geotechnics, Menard Bachy, BHP Billiton and ASMS.

The UOW research team was tasked with the development of a suitable reclamation fill for Port Kembla Outer Harbour extension, as the conventionally dredged marine soils were found to be environmentally and geotechnically unacceptable. Therefore the proposed project included the potential utilization of blended steel furnace slag and coal wash, as a substitute for conventional natural fills for offshore reclamation. The blended Steel Slag and Coalwash material was tested in SMART geotechnical Laboratories for ensuring the desired strength and deformation properties, before being tested in a field trial in Port Kembla, and since then a considerable area of the Port is now reclaimed using this blended mix with great success.

Ali faced stiff competition with excellent presentations from several young professionals from academia and industry, where the judging panel consisting of several academics and industry colleagues, considered the quality of both written papers (published in the Australian Geomechanics Journal) plus the oral presentations in selecting the overall winner.

former GRE PHD STUDENT SELECTED AS A FINALIST FOR THE 2014 NSW AGS RESEARCH AWARD

Dr Rasika Athukorala, previously a PhD student and currently a research associate at the GRE was selected as a finalist for the 2014 NSW AGS Research Award. The judging panel initially screens the written submissions from PhD students from various NSW universities based on the technical content, the originality, the industry relevance and the written clarity and then short-list the best three candidates. The final assessment is based on a peer-reviewed extended article, meeting the publication standards of the Australian Geomechanics Journal, as well as oral presentations held in Sydney and Newcastle, sponsored by the local chapters of the AGS.

Dr Rasika PhD research work was focussed on the study of erosion behaviour of lignosulfonate treated soil. Her research was conducted under the supervision of Professor Buddhima Indraratna and Dr J.S. Vinod as part of a project sponsored by an ARC (Australian Research Council) Linkage grant . The first round of the competition will be held in the AGS Auditorium (Chatswood, Sydney) on 14th May 2014.

PLENARY KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY PROFESSOR. INDRARATNA AT RAILWAYS 2014

Prof. Buddhima Indraratna presented the opening plenary keynote lecture at the 2nd International conference of Rail Technology: Railways 2014 in Corsica, France. This is an important Rail Conference which is usually held in Europe and attracts many Engineers from Universities, Railway Industry and Research Organizations around the globe.

Prof. Indraratna plenary opening lecture was entitled ‘Modernization of Rail Tracks for Higher Speeds and Greater Freight’ and will be published in the International Journal of Railway Technology. The lecture, which showcased the CRC-Rail research conducted at UOW, was attended by several hundreds of delegates and was well received. During the lecture, Prof. Indraratna also acknowledged the CRC-Rail Innovation for the research opportunities and funding, and also the Australian Research Council for long term support. Dr Sanjay Nimbalkar, a GRE research staff also attending the conference described the lecture as “one of the best lectures I have heard from Prof Indraratna, and our CRC PhD students’ work was also well reflected”.

126.000 CLICKS FOR GRE PUBLICATIONS AVAILABLE ON RESEARCH ONLINE

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MEDAL OF THE EURASIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY FOR UOW ENGINEER

Professor Buddhima Indraratna, an internationally renowned scholar in the area of geotechnical engineering, has recently received a further accolade for his research – the Medal of the Eurasian National University.

The award was presented to Professor Indraratna during the recent International Conference on Ground Improvement and Ground Control (ICGI-2012) held at UOW.

Professor Indraratna is the Head of the School of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering at UOW and Director of the Centre for Geotechnical and Railway Engineering.

He was awarded the medal for his contributions to ground improvement and transport geotechnology making a significant international impact.

The medal has been awarded to a wide cross-section of the professional community, artists, political and religious leaders.

Professor Indraratna is the second civil engineer to receive this award which was presented by a senior representative of the Eurasian National University, Professor Askar Zhusupbekov, who is also Vice-President of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE).

Professor Indrratna joined UOW in 1991 as a lecturer after teaching at the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, for three years. Previously, he was a senior engineer at the Geomechanics Research Centre at Sudbury, Ontario, Canada for nearly two years. He was a former civil engineer at William Halcrow and Partners (UK), Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (Sri Lanka), and at the Geomechanics Centre, Sudbury, Canada.

The ICGI-2012 was hosted by the Centre for Geomechanics and Railway Engineering, SMART Infrastructure Facility, and the Australian Geomechanics Society (AGS) and co-hosted by ISSMGE representing more than 20,000 members.

It was the first time that a Ground Improvement Conference has been held in Australia, and the ICGI-2012 attracted about 350 delegates from all continents covering more than 30 countries.