Experimental Soils Course
This page contains information about RPI’s Advanced Soils Course as well as information about the course’s role in the TUES project.
The Experimental Soils Course is part of the TUES project involving students from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Southern Methodist University, and University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The following is a course description of the RPI course from the RPI Course Catalog:
“Second course in geotechnical engineering, emphasizing experimental aspects of soil behavior. Laboratory experiments to measure the following soil properties: consolidation, compressibility, shear strength, permeability, various moduli, and bearing capacity. Theory, practical applications of theory, and laboratory.”
Description of Course With Regards to TUES Project
RPI@NEES is supporting an NSF TUES (Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) project titled A Multi-Institutional Classroom Learning Environment for Geotechnical Engineering Education.
Southern Methodist University (SMU), University of North Carolina (UNCC), and RPI are working together to integrate state-of-the-art experimental and educational tools into their undergraduate educational curricula towards the goal of improving their students’ grasp of theoretical geotechnical engineering concepts.
This effort uses Internet web-based technologies to allow for real-time video monitoring, tele-control, and execution of cutting-edge experiments using the RPI centrifuge.
In a pilot study conducted during Fall semester, undergraduate students from SMU and RPI collaborated to design and conduct a foundation loading test. Model preparation and instrumentation were recorded. Next, a set of centrifuge experiments using the in-flight robot to load different designs of shallow foundations were performed at NEES@RPI while students from SMU participated remotely. The experiments were recorded using on-board and control room cameras.
Based on the experience gained from the Fall semester an updated foundation loading test will be designed and conducted by students from all three schools during the Spring 2012 semester. The recorded videos will be shared among teachers and students from SMU, RPI, and UNCC at NEESacademy. More videos will be recorded during the next set of centrifuge experiments planned in March 2012. The plan is to repeat similar loading tests every semester with the participation of 6-8 schools/semester. This would require developing professional high quality educational videos that can be used by instructors and students at these institutes.
On February 28th and 29th, lab Research Engineer, Anthony Tessari taught students from RPI’s Experimental Soils class about sensors used in centrifuge experiments. Students learned about various types of sensors, placement methodologies, and distribution. This prepares students for the process of conceptualizing, planning, and building their models later in the course.