The BGA is pleased to announce that Abigail Bateman of Bristol University is the winner of the 2020 BGA Masters prize for her entry “Analytical methods for non-linear pile base settlement prediction in clay”.
The Masters Prize is awarded annually by the BGA for the best MSc/MEng degree dissertation on a geotechnical topic. The other five dissertations submitted for consideration were:
Abigail Bateman’s work examined how we derive the q-z base resistance load-deflection curves in Winkler type pile settlement analysis, examining how the stress-strain curves from undrained triaxial tests might be scaled using a suitable transformation and comparing the results with finite element analyses.
Chuan Fong Foo’s dissertation back-analysed the displacements of two embedded walls in London clay using the software FREW, emphasising that the stiffness of the clay was the single most important input variable and that the non-linearity of stiffness could be simply accounted for by varying the stiffness input with each stage.
Julia Hill compared the predicted pile capacities from dynamic analyses of 23 driven precast concrete piles in the Gault Clay at Didcot and Glacial till at Barrow in Furness with the results of pile load tests, highlighting the deficiencies of dynamic methods.
Emma McConnell examined the use of smouldering combustion to remediate sites contaminated by non-aqueous phase liquids, using numerical methods to model the air injection during smouldering both for small scale laboratory tests and for field scale events.
Narryn Thaman’s dissertation described how mycorrhizal fungi in symbiosis with plant roots could be used to enhance growth that helps to bind soil particles while also altering the soil-water retention curve, possibly improving rainwater storage.
Mike Woollatt used finite element analyses to compare examine the displacements of propped retaining walls and what controls the corner effects in rectangular excavations. A lower bound empirical relationship was proposed for inclusion in existing design procedures.
The judges found all six Master’s degree dissertations to be of a very high standard and the final decision was close but Abigail’s was selected as the winner by the tightest of margins. The dissertation of Chuan Fong Foo was highly commended.