The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Development, Security, and Cooperation
Policy and Global Affairs
Home About DSC
Quick Links

FREE Reports     

Download free PDFs of
ALL Academy Reports

All reports available on the National Academies Press (NAP) website are now offered free of charge to web visitors.

Contact us

Keck Center
500 5th St NW - KWS 502
Washington, DC 20001

Tel: (202) 334-2800
Fax: (202) 334-2139


Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 2 (2012 Deadline)

Lebanon 2
Dr. Khoury and his team) setting up the field resistivity test(Photo courtesy Dr. Khoury).
Setting Up the Resistivity Test
Dr. Khoury and his team of undergraduate research assistants discuss visual inspection of the earth dams in Laqlouq (Photo courtesy Dr. Khoury).
2-514 Student Open House
Highschool students visit the team's lab during an NDU open house (Photo courtesy of Dr. Khoury)
Health assessment of earth dams in Lebanon: towards sustainable development

PI:  Naji Khoury (Notre Dame University-Louaize)
U.S. Partner: Michael A. Mooney (Colorado School of Mines)
Project Dates: August 2013 to July 2016
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

Back to PEER Cycle 2 Grant Recipients