In this project researchers will use accepted scientific and engineering procedures to study earth dams in Lebanon in order to advance scientific and applied knowledge about best practices for building and monitoring earth dams. This will be accomplished by visually inspecting dams for deficiencies, using geophysical techniques to assess dams and monitor their integrity, and modeling internal erosion using a support vector machine. Development of these models can help predict the performance and health of earth dams and add to existing models on the erosion characteristics of soils.
Three educational aims complement the research work and add to the scientific merit. The program includes plans for recruiting and mentoring high school and undergraduate students, particularly women and persons with disabilities, to help them gain experience in engineering research; developing a program to introduce high school students and persons with disabilities to sustainable practices in civil engineering; and organizing workshops on sustainable engineering for use in high schools and public forums. The educational component of this project will give remote communities access to information about building and maintaining earth dams. As communities become familiar with appropriate techniques, they will not only experience economic growth but will also be able to advocate for policy changes regarding dam construction and maintenance. On the broader international level, the scientific community at large can use the results in future research on understanding earth dam behavior, and data collected during the project can be added to the international database on earth dams.
Summary of Recent Activities
The work completed during the third quarter of 2015 consisted of continued laboratory testing (e.g. tiraxial, direct shear, consolidation and permeability) on soil samples. Field trips were made to collect two tons of soil which will be used to build a small scale earthdam in the laboratory for advanced finite element modeling. Dr. Khoury Khoury also participated in a short course on resistivity in Madrid and the team submitted two manuscripts to the GeoAmericas and GeoChicago conferences for review.
Three undergraduate students (two women and one man) and three high school students (two women and one man) were hired to work on the project team during this period. Students assisted in conducting laboratory testing and their work report will be submitted to a conference for possible publications.
In the coming months, laboratory testing (e.g., direct shear, triaxial and consolidation) will continue. A small erathdam will be built in the laboratory and advanced modeling will continue while training for undergraduate students and the outreach program are ongoing. A paper will be submitted to AECTEA 2016 that will be held July 13 – 15, 2016, at Notre Dame University, Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon and a second paper will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Project Site