Geotechnical engineering and frontier resource development

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  • The traditionalconcepts that constitute the framework for geotechnical engineering are often insufficient on their own to provide a basis for solving geotechnical problems associated with frontier resource developments. Studies are reported on the creep of permafrost slopes, the mechanics of heave in freezing soils and the behaviour of frozen soils subjected to thaw to illustrate this. These problems are encountered in the exploration and production of hydrocarbon resources in the Arctic. Considerations of ice rheology, fundamental thermo-dynamics and heat conduction in soils are additional concepts needed to solve these problems. Other examples are drawn from the geotechnical concerns that enter into the development of the Alberta oil sands. Here the geotechnical engineer must deal with gas-saturated, diagenetically-altered sands and with deformability and strength under high temperatures. Illustrations are given of the novel forms of behaviour encountered under these conditions. Initial results are presented of pore pressures developed under undrained heating and of the theoretical relation between the rate of heating and the dissipation of pore pressures. Rankine is actually better known for his work on thermodynamics and properties of fluids and gases than for his work on earth pressure and therefore it seems fitting in a Rankine Lecture to draw attention to the significance of the main body of Rankine's work in many new areas of geotechnical endeavour.

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    Article (Published)
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  • License
    © 1981 Thomas Telford. The original author(s) and source must be cited. Permission is granted by ICE Publishing to print one copy for personal use. Any other use of these PDF files is subject to reprint fees.
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Morgenstern, N. R. (1981). Geotechnical engineering and frontier resource development. Géotechnique, 31, 3, 305-365. DOI: 10.1680/geot.1981.31.3.305.