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Faculty of Applied Science Engineering News

Advanced Soil Pipe Interaction Research

Photo Credit: Janis Franklin

Professor Dharma Wijewickreme of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of British Columbia has undertaken a multi-faceted Advanced Soil Pipe Interaction Research (ASPIRe™) initiative, to study the performance of buried pipelines subject to relative soil movements. Buried pipeline systems are a key part of the global infrastructure, and any significant disruption to the performance of these systems due to landslides/earthquake-induced liquefaction, often translates into undesirable impacts on businesses

such as the oil and gas industry, economies, and living conditions of citizens. For example, based on available data from the U. S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the average damage costs arising from significant pipeline damage incidents over the past 10 years have been in excess of $400M/year. Pipeline damage statistics from Canada, Europe, and United States indicate that about one eighth of all pipeline damage incidents over the last 30 years have been due to geotechnical hazards. It has been noted that pipeline failures induced due to ground movements would typically lead to damage costs more than double those arising from other hazards. From an engineering point of view, one of the key questions is: “How to assess the performance and integrity of a buried pipeline system in a region of known ground movement?” Because of their rigidness relative to soil, buried pipes do not move in harmony with the moving ground; therefore, finding answers to the above question is not an easy task. Although ground movements in an area may be known, this information alone is not sufficient to determine the deformations of a buried pipeline in that region. The solution to this complex engineering problem would involve fundamental understanding of the “soil-pipe interaction”. One common approach for evaluating buried pipes subject to soil movement involves numerical modeling of the soil-pipe interaction. In this approach, the load from surrounding soil movements on a given pipe segment is numerically represented assuming that the soil would act as a series of springs called “soil-springs”. While numerous forms of simplified soil-spring models and analytical Continued on page 10



The Department of Civil Engineering at the University of British Columbia provides an outstanding learning and research environment inspiring technical innovation, and leadership, in social and environmental responsibility, to address current and future challenges.

Outstanding Students

This issue of the civil@ubc newsletter highlights the diversity of the research activities undertaken by our faculty. Dharma Wijewickreme, Professor of Geotechnical Engineering, reports on a multi-faceted Advanced Soil Pipe Interaction Research (ASPIReTM) initiative to study the response and performance of buried pipelines impacted by landslides and earthquake-induced liquefaction. The overall goal of this work is to minimize the risk of damage sustained by buried pipelines during such natural hazards, and reduce business disruption while enhancing public safety. The article in this issue which exemplifies the breadth of my colleagues’ research activities is on the work performed by Greg Lawrence, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Fluid Mechanics, his former PhD student Ted Tedford, and his collaborators in the Physics Dept at UBC, who have conducted open channel flow experiments in the Hydraulics Laboratory to demonstrate analogies between the waves generated due to water flow over an obstacle and Hawking radiation emitted from black holes. I am deeply appreciative of my colleagues for their outstanding contributions to research and teaching, and for continuing to provide an exciting and collegial environment for all of us in the Department of Civil Engineering. Congratulations to faculty members and students featured in this issue, for their notable achievements and prestigious award recognitions. I also extend a warm welcome to our newest faculty member, Jinhua Zhao, who has joined us as an Assistant Professor in the area of Transportation and Infrastructure Planning. Civil Engineering continues to be the most popular discipline among the first year engineering undergraduate students at UBC. The number of students who select Civil as their first choice far exceeds what we can accommodate and this places us in an enviable position of being able to admit the best and brightest into our program. Our local industry and alumni continue to be generous with their time and commitment to support and enrich our program. My sincerest thanks to: SNC-Lavalin for its partnership in creating and contributing financially to a new faculty position in Transportation and Infrastructure Planning; Buckland & Taylor Ltd. for its commitment to the department through a special seminar, guided tour of the BC Place construction site, and financial contribution to the Civil Engineering Undergraduate Design Studio; and Fast + Epp for establishing a civil engineering undergraduate scholarship, along with its continued support of our students. I welcome your comments and suggestions, and encourage you to contact me at:

Reza Vaziri, Ph.D., P.Eng. Professor and Head, Department of Civil Engineering

Kerry Black Student Best Paper Award Kerry Black, Civil Engineering M.A.Sc. candidate, was the recipient of the Student Best Paper Award, 2011 AWWA Membrane Technology Conference, Long Beach CA, for her paper: co-authored with J. Winter and P.R. Bérubé, entitled "Effect of Biological Activated Carbon Filters on the Removal of Biodegradable Natural Organic Matter, Molecular Weight & Membrane Fouling, Proceedings of the American Water Works Association Membrane Technology Conference, Long Beach, USA." Karim El-Basyouny 2010 Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) scholarship TAC foundation scholarships are intended to provide education assistance in technical areas or disciplines which will contribute to safe, secure, efficient, and effective sustainable transportation services in support of Canada's social and economic goals. Thirtythree scholarships were offered in 2010-11. Karim El-Basyouny was selected to receive the MMM Group Limited scholarship. Andrew Hamilton Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements Andrew Hamilton, Civil Engineering Ph.D. candidate specializing in Environmental Fluid Mechanics at UBC, received the Canada Graduate Scholarship—Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements in April 2010. This program supports high calibre Canadian graduate students in building global linkages and international networks through the pursuit of exceptional research experiences at research institutions abroad. Andrew is using this supplement for travel to Antarctica and New Zealand to continue his research on Under-Ice Flows. Continued on page 12 2

Kerry Black

Karim El-Basyouny

Buckland & Taylor Ltd. The bridge engineering firm Buckland & Taylor Ltd. has given $25,000 over the next five years in support of the Civil Engineering Design Studio. Thanks to the firm’s support, the studio hosted Mr. Charles King of Buckland & Taylor as the 2010-2011 Designer-in-Residence. His tremendous experience and accomplishments in the design of steel structures was of great benefit to our students, particularly the final year students who were involved in their capstone design project. In January, Dr. Peter Taylor and Michael Schmaus of Buckland & Taylor Ltd. gave a presentation on the new cable-supported

Fast + Epp

retractable roof at BC Place stadium. The opportunity to learn first-hand from leading experts about a world-class engineering project underway in our city was not to be missed – over 200 students and faculty were in attendance. Following the presentation, Buckland & Taylor Ltd. also led a guided tour of the BC Place construction site for a select number of students. The Department of Civil Engineering is grateful to Buckland & Taylor Ltd. for bringing accomplished engineers to UBC to share their practical experiences with our students. BC Place Construction Site

By Kieran Murphy, LL.B.

The Vancouver-based structural engineering firm Fast + Epp has created a $1,500 scholarship to be awarded alternately to graduate students in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and students in Civil Engineering (civil engineering students on odd years). For civil engineering, preference is given to students who demonstrate interest and knowledge in architectural structures. To celebrate the new scholarship, Managing Partner Paul Fast gave a guest lecture in the Civil Engineering Design Studio in October on the topic of becoming creative engineers


Andrew Hamilton

By Kieran Murphy, LL.B.

Photo: Sophia Piche

Message from the Head

Prestigious Awards


and architects. A month earlier, the winners of the Fast + Epp Architectural Engineering Design Competition were announced. The competition, organized by Fast + Epp, provided architecture and engineering students with an opportunity to gain first-hand experience developing a conceptual design for a Canada Line SkyTrain station, with particular emphasis on the roof structure. The Department of Civil Engineering greatly appreciates Fast + Epp’s support of our students and engagement in their learning.

Paul Fast, Eng., Struc. Eng., FIStructE

By Kieran Murphy, LL.B.

Thanks to a partnership with SNC-Lavalin, the Department of Civil Engineering and the School of Community and Regional Planning have created a new joint assistant professor position in Transportation and Infrastructure Planning. SNC-Lavalin has committed a contribution of $250,000 over five years in support of this professorship. Dr. Jinhua Zhao joined UBC and was appointed Assistant Professor in Transportation and Infrastructure Planning last summer. He will bring an interdisciplinary approach to solving urban problems, including land use, transportation systems and civil infrastructure – increasingly complex problems that result from urbanization

and growing population. SNC-Lavalin’s own expertise in transportation systems and interest in sustainable development will greatly benefit Dr. Zhao, who will work closely with SNC-Lavalin on projects and research of mutual interest. The Department of Civil Engineering extends its sincere appreciation to SNCLavalin for making this new position possible. We are also grateful to the Vice President Academic, Dr. David Farrar, the Dean of Applied Science, Dr. Tyseer Aboulnasr and the Principal of the College for Interdisciplinary Studies, Dr. Michael Burgess, for the support that they provided towards the creation of this faculty position.




Magnitude 8.8 Chile Earthquake On April 27, 2010, the Department of Civil Engineering hosted a public seminar at the Vancouver Library about a reconnaissance trip to Chile following the Magnitude 8.8 earthquake in that country. The Canadian Association for Earthquake Engineering (CAEE) sent a reconnaissance team of 10 researchers to Chile in March 2010 to observe the damage caused by the M8.8 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that had occurred a couple of weeks prior. The three members of the team that gave presentations at this seminar were Carlos Ventura (Professor of Structural Engineering and Director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Facility, UBC), Perry Adebar (Professor of Structural Engineering, UBC), and John Cassidy (Research Scientist, National Research Council – Geological Survey of Canada).

Photo Credit: Brandon Laviolette

– Lessons for B.C.

The presentation included information about the seismicity in Chile and comparisons with the seismicity of From Left to Right: Dr. Perry Adebar, BC, the damDr. John Cassidy and Dr. Carlos Ventura age caused by tsunami to the coastal communities and the damage caused to buildings, bridges, roads and other infrastructure throughout Chile due to the strong ground motion. The consequences of a similar earthquake occurring off the west coast of North America were discussed. Photo Credit: Martin Dee

Progress Engendered by Collapses of Record Setting Structures On November 15th, 2010, the Department of Civil Engineering was very fortunate and honoured to have Professor Zdenek P. Bazant from the Northwestern University's Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science present a special seminar on Progress Engendered by Collapses of Record Setting Structures: Malpasset Dam, World Trade Center Towers and KB Bridge in Palau. This lecture which was first presented at the 2010 Khan Lecture Series at Lehigh University was very well received and well attended. The seminar was also

videotaped by the Structural Engineers Association of British Columbia (SEABC) and available for viewing at http://www. Professor Bazant, who is a world leader in scaling research in solid mechanics and one of the top 100 ISI Highly Cited Scientists in Engineering, shared his expertise in what caused the tallest and slenderest arch dam as well as tallest building and prestressed box girder of world-record span to collapse.

in the Hydraulics Laboratory

By Greg Lawrence Ph.D., P.Eng., Canada Research Chair in Environmental Fluid Mechanics

A Green and Sustainable

Solution to Global Phosphorus Depletion On November 17, 2010, the Department of Civil Engineering with support from the Faculty of Applied Science hosted a public seminar where Professor Don Mavinic presented how a team of UBC environmental engineers has developed a

Hawking Radiation

Greg Lawrence Ph.D., P.Eng.

Photo: Sarah Murray

sustainable and effective solution, with world-wide application, to the global issue of phosphorus depletion. Phosphorus is an essential plant nutrient used in food production globally. However, it is also a problem when excessive phosphorus makes its way to our water sources which results in a devastating unbalance in the ecosystem. Also at this seminar, Dr. Suzanne Fortier, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), presented the 2010 Synergy Award for Innovation to Prof. Don Mavinic and industry partners, Ostara, EPCOR Water Services Inc., Metro Vancouver, Stantec Inc., and Clean Water Services. From Left to Right: Dr. Don Mavinic, Dr. Suzanne Fortier, Mr. Ahren Britton, Ms. Laurie Fretz, Mr. Christian Madsen, Ms. Christina Jacob, Mr. Reno Fiorante, Dr. John Hepburn, Mr. Johnny Carline, Dr. Reza Vaziri, and Dean Tyseer Aboulnasr

We are all aware that nothing, not even light, can escape from a black-hole. Well, maybe not! In 1974 Stephen Hawking proposed that black holes emit a form of radiation, which has become known as Hawking radiation. Even in theory, the exact origin of this radiation is still unknown, and since it is too weak to be detected directly, physicists have turned to other systems for verification: including interacting pulses of laser light, liquid helium, and Bose-Einstein condensates. However, a team of UBC physicists and civil engineers has recently made the most convincing observations of the Hawking process to date, in a more familiar setting – a small flume in the Rusty Hut normally used for undergraduate experiments. In 2002, UBC theoretical physics professor Bill Unruh with his post-doctoral fellow, Ralf Schuetzold, demonstrated a mathematical analogue between a black hole horizon (the surface beyond which light cannot escape), and a hydraulic control in water flow over an obstacle (surface water waves cannot propagate upstream though a hydraulic control). They intrigued me with this idea and for the next few years Unruh and I could occasionally be found performing experiments in the hydraulics laboratory. The experiments became more

sophisticated, and intense, with the addition of three other researchers: a Madame Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Silke Weinfurtner; a recent UBC Civil Engineering graduate, Dr. Edmund Tedford; and a UBC physics undergraduate, Matt Pennrice. By placing a streamlined obstacle into an open channel flow we created a region of high velocity over the obstacle. Long waves propagating upstream towards this region were arrested by the flow and converted into a pair of short (deep water) waves. This wave pair is the closest analogy to Hawking radiation observed to date. The UBC team was able to measure the amplitudes of these waves, and demonstrate that they matched the predictions of Hawking. Their results have been published in Physical Review Letters, the premier physics journal, see e021302. In addition to their relevance to Hawking’s theory, the experiments have raised a number of unanswered fluid mechanics questions of engineering interest including the propagation of tsunamis up river.




Community Service Learning From Concept to Reality

Photo Credit: Andrew Cheung

The Pelton Wheel Model "Instead of reinventing the wheel, we modified it" - A. Cheung

By Andrew Cheung, 4th year BASc student

The Pelton Wheel Project, started four years ago by a group of CIVL 201 students, has evolved from a simple conceptual idea into a fully functional and portable model of a Pelton Wheel which can generate electrical energy. The purpose of this project is to demonstrate a form of alternative renewable energy which coincides with the Terra Nova Schoolyard Society’s goal of sustainability established by Mr. Ian Lai in 2006. The Society provides children with the opportunities to learn how food is grown, to introduce them to eating locally grown organic food and to encourage healthy eating habits. The key values of the Terra Nova Schoolyard Society include the concept of food sustainability, and the respect and appreciation for our Earth as a whole. The scope of the project is to enhance the original model by increasing its mechanical efficiency, to devise a medium to store the electrical energy in order to power a household device, and to re-use the waste water. In addition to maintaining these goals, our team has to consider various aspects of sustainability and ensure that the system is portable for transportation. During the early design stages, our team encountered many challenges generating ideas that aligned with the

goals set out by the Society. However, Scott Jackson, a senior technician in the Department of Civil Engineering, provided our team with the technical support and knowledge to make this project a success. Our solution consists of the following: Replace the existing motor with a second-hand industrial generator and connect it to the Pelton Wheel’s axle by using a spider coupling; Design an electrical box to store and use the electrical energy produced; Recapture the waste water by using a standard garbage can equipped with a micro drip line that is connected to its base. This Community Service Learning (CSL) project is challenging and tests our engineering intuition to “think outside the box”. Although the design of the electrical component is not a task typically done by civil engineers, it demonstrates the need to collaborate with other engineers and experts in order to achieve our goals. CSL group projects provide students with the opportunity to work with real clients and to think critically about a solution for a problem at hand.

Civil Co-op By Christopher Longley, 4th year BASc student

Fourth Year Civil Engineering Student, Christopher Longley, worked for Jacques Whitford AXYS Ltd. and Stantec Consulting Ltd.


In my co-op terms I had the opportunity to work in the geotechnical divisions of Jacques Whitford AXYS Ltd. and Stantec Consulting Ltd., which acquired the former near the end of my first work term. My role during much of my tenure consisted of reviewing earthwork activity at construction sites, including a site in Williams Lake where almost 500,000 m3 were moved in a two month cut-andfill operation to construct a building pad for a commercial development. Typical field duties included review of site stripping, fill placement, footing excavations, slab-ongrade preparation and road/parking lot preparation. I also had the opportunity to oversee several ground densification operations throughout the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island. In doing so, I was able to witness some common techniques for mitigating the risk of soil liquefaction in earthquake events, including dynamic compaction, rapid impact compaction and vibro-compaction. I also monitored the installation of steel and timber piles for projects in which shallow foundations were not practical. My field responsibilities also consisted of supervising drilling and in-situ testing operations. Monitoring of insitu testing was completed both for site investigation and for assessment of soil improvement following ground

densification work. In addition, my position involved conducting standard laboratory tests for soil classification and quality assurance purposes. In my final term at Stantec, I worked on a large dyke remediation project. This project entailed a significant amount of slope stability analysis. Stability analyses were completed to examine the effects of variation of the water table within the dyke and to assess the implications of day-to-day construction activities such as construction of access roads and material stockpiling. Other project tasks included reviewing piezometer and slope inclinometer data on an ongoing basis. In addition to providing me the opportunity to explore a variety of aspects of geotechnical engineering, my co-op experience allowed me to improve my communication and interpersonal skills. The working environment was excellent, and coworkers and supervisors alike were keen to assist me whenever necessary. I expect that the skills and understanding of soil mechanics that I developed over the course of my co-op terms with Jacques Whitford AXYS and Stantec will aid me as I progress in my career. I look forward to returning to Stantec upon graduation next spring.

Satisfaction in Watching Young Engineers Grow By Nigel Denby, M.Eng.

As professional engineers, it is important for us to mentor students in the industry in order to carry on the legacy of our practice. Success in the engineering field relies not only on technical theory, but also on practice and experience, and the only way to gain the latter is to work closely with industry professionals and peers.

I completed both undergraduate and graduate degrees in civil engineering at UBC. I went into the profession mainly because I had an early connection to the engineering community through my father, who was a mechanical engineer. During my undergraduate studies, I worked summers at BC Hydro with the chief engineer and director of dam safety. Because of this work and mentorship, I chose to continue my education in the geotechnical engineering field. I was fortunate to be part of the BC Hydro Professional Partnership Program, which enabled me to return to UBC and complete my post graduate studies. Other companies also have similar programs, and it is these types of programs that help many students successfully complete post-graduate degrees. I deeply appreciate the opportunities I had, and I make it a priority to return such opportunities. The benefits are cyclical. As the students benefit from the opportunities they have with professionals in the industry, the industry also benefits from supporting students. Stantec, my current employer, actively participates in the academic community. The company sponsors conferences, hires co-op and summer students, and contributes to scholarships. For companies like Stantec, participating in student employment programs presents the opportunity to observe and evaluate up-and-coming talent. The student is provided with practical experience they can apply to their schooling, and the end result is better engineers for the industry. It also provides companies with the opportunity to tap into a pool of fresh ideas and resources. I try to hire students for only one summer or co-op term. This encourages students to try different companies and disciplines in order to obtain as much and as varied experience as possible in an effort to ascertain the area of the practice he or she most connects with. My advice to students is to try and gain industry experience as soon as possible. They will benefit from first-hand knowledge of what the workplace is

really like. This will assist them in applying for jobs and broaden their network of potential employees. However, students will have their challenges. The engineering landscape has changed drastically in the last 15 years. The industry is consolidating globally and companies are getting larger. Consequently, there are more internationally-based Nigel Denby, M.Eng. companies working in Canada who compete for the same projects as local firms. In this global marketplace, winning projects has become very competitive, meaning today’s engineer must now be knowledgeable not only about the practice in North America, but also abroad. I take great satisfaction in watching my students and young engineers grow, be challenged, and then seeing them overcome those challenges. The new generation of engineers has given me faith and the realization that the engineering profession is evolving in the right direction. Now is the perfect time for students to enter the engineering profession. There is a shortage of locally-educated engineers, meaning there are plenty of career opportunities. Furthermore, because many people in the profession will be retiring in the next ten years, students can be mentored by seasoned professionals before taking over the types of challenging projects that make engineering such a rewarding career. Mr. Nigel Denby is the Geotechnical Practice Leader for Western Canada for Stantec Consulting Ltd. He received his B.A.Sc. in 1992 and M.Eng. in 1995 from UBC and is actively involved in the geotechnical community having chaired the Vancouver Geotechnical Society in 2000 and had been on the Canadian Geotechnical Society board from 2006 to 2010. Mr. Denby was a keynote speaker at the Canadian Young Geotechnical Engineers and Geoscientists Conference in 2007. Mr. Denby was on the Executive Committee for the organization of the World Conference on Earthquake Engineering hosted by Vancouver in 2004.


Photo Credit: UBC Transportation Engineering Group


"Olympic Records" in Sustainable Transportation By Tarek Sayed, Ph.D., P.Eng.

A UBC Civil Engineering study has shown that Vancouver residents and visitors set records for sustainable travel during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, more than doubling the number of trips typically taken by public transit, biking or walking. The Host City Olympic Transportation Plan Downtown Monitoring Study looked at how people got around during the February 12-28 Winter Games, and compared the findings to previous transportation monitoring efforts conducted by the City of Vancouver. On an average Olympic Games weekday there were approximately 1.17 million trips in to or out of the downtown Vancouver peninsula – close to 44% higher than the preGames weekday average of 813,000 person-trips. Findings show that for almost two thirds, or 61%, of all trips to and from downtown Vancouver, the majority of people took public transit, while others chose to bike or walk. The remaining 39% of trips taken were in automobiles. The findings show that local residents and visitors can adjust to travel in a much more sustainable manner than normal. A study was conducted for the City of Vancouver with transportation engineer Clark Lim of Acuere Consulting and with research

support from TransLink and Transport Canada. It was found that the total number of automobiles dropped by almost 16% during the Games compared to pre-Games, a remarkable feat considering the 44% increase of total trips during the Games. Prior to the games, people made just over 350,000 trips per day to and from downtown Vancouver via bike, transit or walking. These sustainable trip modes jumped to over 713,100 trips during the Games while the number of trips by automobile, both drivers and passengers, remained essentially the same. Focusing specifically on Games spectator travel to Olympic venues such as ice hockey games or LiveCity events, almost 80% of the travel was by transit, walking, or cycling – the highest sustainable mode share ever to a downtown Vancouver event. These findings provide important insights into transportation planning and behaviour and will be helpful for other agencies planning large-scale events in Vancouver and the Metro region.

Diving under the 'Big Ice' By Andrew Hamilton, Ph.D. Candidate


Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), on the three-week deployment in Antarctica. Our plan was to deploy UBC-Gavia, an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), through a hole in the 2.5-meter sea ice to survey the waters adjacent to and under the 60 to 300m thick Erebus Glacier Tongue. I was unable to join the field team at the last minute, so I acted as base camp in New Zealand, while Alex and colleague Martin Doble (France) lived in a remote field camp on the ice and sent UBC-Gavia into the dark depths. We were interested in measuring ocean mixing around the glacier, a remarkable 12 km long feature jutting into McMurdo Sound, and a significant obstacle to tidal flow. UBC-Gavia measured spatial variation in temperature and salinity along the sidewall of the glacier and mapped the ice with sidescan sonar. Operational conditions were challenging: super-cooled Antarctic water (minus 2 degrees Celsius) caused ice to form on submerged instruments, and its extreme clarity inhibited measurement of currents with the acoustic Doppler profiler on the AUV. However, the uniqueness of working in Antarctica, with seals taking up residence in the ice hole, sneezing partially digested fish guts on computers, and curious penguins wandering through camp, made the experience memorable. Despite the challenges, the project was a great success and marks one of the few times in the world an AUV has been deployed near an ice shelf.

Curriculum Redevelopment Continues By Thomas Froese, Ph.D., P.Eng.

In the ongoing work of the curriculum renewal within Civil Engineering, we have formalized our program learning outcomes, which combine our traditional strengths in technical knowledge and design with professional practice skills such as teamwork, communication, and critical thinking. These outcomes are now providing a smooth transition to new requirements from our accreditation body, CEAB (the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board). CEAB is adding “Graduate Attribute” requirements that base accreditation, in part, on demonstrated student abilities in addition to the traditional requirement of cumulative hours in the classroom.

We have also adopted a new strategic plan for the “structure” of the curriculum, increasing student choice and adding major team projects into each term of the program. We have begun implementation of this plan by shifting some courses from required to elective. Building on the foundational community-service learning projects that students currently complete in 2nd year, we are adding major team projects into the 3rd year of the program, and expanding our capstone design course in the 4th year.

2011 Civil Engineering Graduation Reception On June 1, 2010, the Department of Civil Engineering hosted its first graduation reception to honour the graduating class of 2010. Together with their family and friends, the students were celebrated for their achievements and recognized for their years of study and hard work. The event was exceedingly successful with over 200 guests - including 118 Bachelor of Applied Science, four Master of Applied Science, 37 Master of Engineering, and four Doctor of Philosophy graduates. There were also several exceptional undergraduates who were recognized with the following awards: Academic Achievement Award Morghain Ruth Wiley, Daniel Murray Robb, Spencer and David Thomas - recognized for their academic achievements during their third and fourth years of study in the Civil Engineering undergraduate program combined with extracurricular activities.

Civil Engineering Undergraduate Design Award The team of Amie Dawe, Gloria Kwong, Aaron Post, Gordon Shannon, and Jay Sze, earned the top grade in “CIVL 445 – Civil Engineering Design and Analysis”. Their project entitled “Commissioner Crossing: Burrardview’s Waterfront Gateway,” created a detailed design of a pedestrian bridge over Commissioner Street on the south shore of Vancouver Harbour, BC, incorporating the disciplines of Structural, Transportation and Hydrological Engineering. This team successfully grappled with the open-endedness of design, and their final deliverable was strong as a result of dedicated teamwork, creativity, due diligence and careful attention to detail.

Photo: Olive Kung

Photo: Martin Doble

Ice shelves and glacier tongues, floating platforms of ice hundreds of meters thick that are marine extensions of terrestrial ice sheets and glaciers, cover almost half the Antarctic coastline. Physical processes occurring at the ice-ocean interface are important in determining the stability of these ice masses and their influence on thermohaline circulation and sea ice formation, however knowledge of these waters is severely limited by the logistical challenges of access through such thick ice. During October-November 2010 a team of UBC researchers helped explore these icy unknown depths by deploying a robotic submersible next to the Erebus Glacier Tongue in Antarctica, located at latitude 77˚ south. Alexander Forrest and I, Andrew Hamilton, PhD stuUBC field camp in Antarctica dents in Dr. Bernard Laval’s with Mount Erebus, the southernEnvironmental Fluid most active volcano in the world in the background Mechanics and AUV lab, collaborated with Dr. Craig Stevens from the New Zealand National Institute of


Leadership Award Jessica May Connaghan maintained a high GPA with a heavy course load in her third and fourth years of study in Civil Engineering. Her extracurricular activities include Civil Engineering Club Vice-President in 2008/2009 and President in 2009/2010, Civil Design Studio Committee, Civil Grad Field Trip Committee and the UBC Steel Bridge Team. All of these exemplify Jessica as a student leader who is dedicated to learning as well as committed to her fellow students. Jessica May Connaghan and Professor Susan Nesbit at the 2010 Civil Engineering Graduation Reception


Advanced Soil Pipe Interaction Reseach

continued from page 1 techniques have been developed, the understanding of the soil-pipe interaction is still a difficult task due to the complexities in the mechanical behaviour of soils. Prof. Wijewickreme, an expert in the field of geotechnical engineering related to seismic evaluations of lifelines, believes that “full-scale testing plays a significant role in providing meaningful data to understand pipe-soil interaction problems and supporting numerical models and analytical approaches.” Extracting from his 10+ years experience in engineering practice, he has developed a full-scale physical model testing facility within the Department of Civil Engineering at UBC, as a core part of the ASPIRe™ initiative. Primary funding for this project comes from FortisBC (formerly Terasen Gas), Surrey, BC. The facility comprises of a large-footprint (2.4 m x 4 m) testing chamber that permits simulating ground movements up to 1 m on buried pipeline configurations. The testing chamber has the flexibility to test common pipe sizes and configurations. Over the last six years, Prof. Wijewickreme has published over 15 peer-reviewed research articles in the area of soil-pipe interaction providing insights into the development of mitigative solutions to protect natural gas pipelines located in areas of ground movement hazards. Response of Buried Polyethylene (PE) Pipes Polyethylene (PE) is becoming increasingly popular in natural gas pipes due to its lower material cost, lower installation and maintenance cost, corrosion resistance, lightweight properties, and its perceived ability to accommodate displacements. However, the reported experimental research on the response of buried PE pipe systems subjected to ground movement is very limited. Due to this lack of knowledge, the current soilpipe interaction models developed for steel pipes are often considered for analyzing PE pipe configurations. The application of these current methods for PE pipes, however, has significant limitations due to the relatively smaller stiffness and time-dependent and nonlinear stress-strain response of PE pipe material compared to steel. In recognition of these factors, Prof. Wijewickreme has undertaken extensive research to investigate the response of buried PE pipe systems subject to permanent ground movements. The studies include full-scale laboratory and field testing conducted on buried PE pipes combined with numerical analysis. As a part of this research, a new method was developed to assess soil loads on PE piping systems, forming an important step towards analyzing the soil-pipe interaction and generating

input for the development of engineering design guidelines and criteria for the safe operation of PE pipelines. These findings directly contribute to the evaluation of the performance of existing PE natural gas distribution systems located in landslide prone areas of British Columbia. Response of Buried Steel Pipes In the last few decades, extensive research has been undertaken to investigate the response of buried steel pipes subjected to ground deformations. However, some important questions still remain unanswered. The research conducted under ASPIRe™ program has shown that axial soil loads on steel pipes buried in compact soil can be more than those estimated from currently design practice methods if soil movement is in the direction of the pipeline alignment. It was found that this load increase, is a result of expansion (or “dilation”) of soils immediately around the pipe that occur when the ground moves relative to the pipe. These research findings have already demonstrated the need to modify the current design practice guidelines to account for such soil dilation effects. This work is now being extended to study ways to minimize the vulnerability of buried pipelines located across earth fault crossings. A major part of this research has been undertaken in collaboration with D.G. Honegger Consulting, CA, USA with funding from Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI). Another ASPIRe™ research initiative currently underway is the study of soil-pipe interface friction with particular reference to the performance of seabed pipelines subjected to relative soil movements. This research topic is supported by funding from Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). The breadth of the ASPIRe™ program has also allowed internal collaborations with the structural engineering group of the Department of Civil Engineering. An experimental study with Professor Carlos Ventura that was completed in 2010, with funding from British Columbia Transmission Corporation, allowed understanding of the performance of buried power transmission cables subjected to ground movements. The research undertaken through the ASPIRe™ initiative so far has identified many critical issues on the complex problem of buried pipelines subjected to ground movements. The overall goal is to minimize the risk of buried pipeline system damage and, in turn, proactively reduce business disruption and enhance public safety. Prepared by Dharma Wijewickreme, Ph.D., P.Eng.

Time-lapse photo showing the use of ASPIRe™ facility to simulate soil failure around a buried pipe during adjacent ground movement

Meet the People of Civil Engineering


Jinhua Zhao, Ph.D. joined the Department of Civil Engineering as an Assistant Professor in August of 2010. Dr. Zhao holds Master of Science, Master of City Planning, Ph.D. degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor’s degree from Tongji University. His research interests include urban development and planning in China, urban transportation systems in China, transportation economics, public trans-

portation management and urban information systems. He is the Commissioner of China Planning Network (CPN), a think tank focused on China's urbanization. CPN is dedicated to advancing the state of scholarship on China’s urban development and making it accessible to the widest population in China.

Aftab Mufti, Ph.D. P.Eng.,joined the Department of Civil Engineering as a Sessional Lecturer in September 2010. Dr. Aftab Mufti is a former Professor of Civil Engineering, at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as well as being the Program Leader and President of ISIS Canada, and first President of ISHMII (International Society for SHM of Intelligent Infrastructures). He was one of the key persons to initiate interest in the uses of Advanced Composite Materials (ACM) for Civil Engineering structures in Canada through his founding work as Chair (1989 to 1993) of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering

(CSCE) Technical Committee on the use of ACM in Bridges and Structures. Dr. Mufti’s research in the finite element method (FEM) has been in progress for over 30 years. One of his major projects was an earthquake related finite element structural analysis of the Point LePreau Nuclear Power Plant in New Brunswick. His more recent research is focused on FEM, CAE and CAD/CAM applications in advanced composites, with particular reference to fibre-reinforcement of concrete and wood for bridges. He is also an earthquake consultant on the 13-km long PEI Fixed Link Bridge known as the Confederation Bridge.

Erol Karacabeyli, M.A.Sc, P.Eng. joined the Department of Civil Engineering as an Adjunct Professor in May, 2010. Mr. Karacabeyli is well-known in the Timber Engineering research field nationally and internationally, and he serves on numerous codes and standards committees whose mandates encompass the safety and reliability of wood structures. Mr. Karacabeyli Chairs the ISO Technical Committee on Timber Structures, is currently the Manager of the Building Systems Department in Western Laboratory of FPInnovations which has over 30 staff comprising scientists, engineers, research associates and tech-

nologists. Mr. Karacabeyli recently received an award from the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes for his contributions to the development of seismic design provisions in the 2005 and 2010 editions of the National Building Code of Canada. Mr. Karacabeyli serves on the Board of Directors of the NSERC Strategic Research Network NEWBuildS. Mr. Karacabeyli made significant contributions to the timber engineering field and has published his findings in over 100 publications.

Armin Bembazadeh, Ph.D. joined the Department of Civil Engineering as a Sessional Lecturer in January of 2010. Dr. Armin Bebamzadeh received his B.Sc. (2000) in Civil Engineering from Sharif University of Technology and. M.Sc. (2003) in Structural Engineering from University of Tehran. He was admitted to the Department of Civil Engineering’s doctoral program in Jan. 2004 and received his Ph.D. in 2009. In his research, he developed and implemented a novel sensitivity analysis tool to foster numerical reliability analysis,

optimization, validation and verification of composites manufacturing processes. As a post-doctoral researcher, he has participated in the development of innovative guidelines for performancebased seismic assessments and retrofits of low-rise BC school buildings Dr. Bebamzadeh’s research interests include sensitivity analysis, reliability analysis, risk assessment and optimization, advanced finite element and discrete element method, and dynamics of structures.




to the following faculty for their achievements Professor Emeritus Liam Finn received the ISET Shamsher Prakash Award for Significant Contribution in Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering for the year 2010 in July 2010. In March 2011, he was awarded Honorary Membership to the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute to recognize his significant contributions to many disciplines of earthquake engineering for nearly five decades. Also, Prof. Finn was awarded the K.Y. Lo Medal in recognition of his outstanding engineering contributions internationally. Professor Emeritus Liam Finn, Professor Carlos Ventura, Professor Emeritus Ricardo Foschi, and Dr. Graham Taylor received the Excellence in Innovation in Civil Engineering Award of 2010 from the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering for developing standardized seismic retrofit tools for the implementation of the seismic mitigation program. Professor Eric Hall was appointed Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and was also

appointed Associate Dean (Faculty Matters) as part of the APSC Faculty Leadership Team in July 2010. He is a world authority in the areas of pulp and paper treatment, anaerobic treatment technology and membrane treatment systems. His research spans the theoretical aspects of novel biological treatment technologies and their application to real-world facilities. Adjunct Professor David Halliday has been named a member of the Order of Canada for advancing the field of astronomy, notably through his leadership in the design and construction of some of the world’s largest telescope observatories. Professor Don Mavinic received the Dave Mitchell Award of Distinction from the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation and an NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation for developing a unique technology to turn pipe-clogging and polluting phosphorus compounds in wastewater into environmentally friendly fertilizer. He was also awarded the prestigious

UBC Killam Research Prize in the Science category in January 2011.

Annual Meeting. Professor Carlos Ventura was appointed Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. He is a well-recognized international consultant on vibration problems of structures and on seismic risk studies as well as a leader of earthquake engineering in Canada.

Professor Don Mavinic, Professor Greg Lawrence, Professor Emeritus Ken Hall, and Adjunct Professor Ken Ashley were awarded the Premier's Award for Scientific Partnership, in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment office in Kamloops for developing a solution and a blue print for nutrient cleanup and protection of the Shuswap Lake.

The Civil Club announced that its choices for top undergraduate professors for 2009-2010 were Assistant Professor Tony Yang for second year, Associate Professor Terje Haukass for third year and Associate Professor Ken Elwood for fourth year.

Sessional Lecturer Aftab A. Mufti has been named a Member of the Order of Canada for his contributions to and leadership in the field of civil engineering, notably for researching the use of advanced composite materials and fibre optic sensors in the construction and monitoring of bridges and other infrastructures. Professor Tarek Sayed received the Academic Merit Award of 2010 from the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) and a Best Paper Award in Road Safety at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 90th

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Conference & Trade Show/Canadian Association on Water Quality (CAWQ), Kelowna, BC, for her paper: coauthored with P.R. Bérubé, entitled "Investigation of the relationship between variable hydrodynamic conditions at the surface of air sparged submerged membrane systems and membrane fouling rate, Presented at the BCWWA Annual Conference&Trade Show/ Canadian Association on Water Quality (CAWQ), Kelowna, BC."

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Emilie Lapointe 2011 Vale Master’s in Engineering Scholarship The prestigious Vale Master’s in Engineering Scholarship is awarded annually by the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation (CEMF), to the most promising female student in a graduate (master’s level) engineering program in Canada. Emile Lapointe, an M.A.Sc. candidate (Geotechnical Engineering) in Civil Engineering, was recognized with this scholarship for her time and effort in assisting others, the outstanding dedication to her community, as well as her leadership in the field of engineering.

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Outstanding Students Prestigious Awards (cont'd from pg 2)

Karim Ismail Canadian Pacific Railway Scholarship & ITS Canada Michel Van Aerde Memorial Scholarship This prestigious scholarship is awarded annually by the Intelligent Transportation Systems Society of Canada to commemorate the late Michael Van Aerde – a Canadian pioneer of intelligent transportation systems (ITS). The award winner is selected through a competitive process involving students registered fulltime in a graduate studies program at Canadian and international universities related to ITS. In 2010, this scholarship was awarded to Karim Ismail (then a UBC PhD candidate), and was sponsored by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Karim Ismail currently holds the position of Assistant Professor at Carleton University. Sepideh Jankhah Philip H Jones Award Sepideh Jankhah , Civil Engineering Ph.D. candidate, was the recipient of the Philip H. Jones Award for the best student presentation, 2011 BCWWA Annual

NO. 40602510






civil @ UBC 2011 newsletter