Jean Potgieter, South Africa

Jean holds Bachelors and Honours degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. After graduating in 2012, he worked in the consulting engineering industry for three years on various projects including tailings dams, foundation design, retaining walls and site investigations.

In 2016, Jean returned to the University of Pretoria and is currently completing his Masters degree in geotechnical engineering. The project is funded by Terra Strata and investigates the fundamental differences and disparity between designing retaining walls with simplistic and complex design methods.

Jean currently resides in Pretoria. He enjoys public speaking, playing sports and is currently involved with triathlon.

Effects of Compaction on Lateral Earth Pressure

Many engineering concepts are based on idealistic models in order to simplify calculations. Engineers need to take cognisance of the method of application out in the field and the associated assumptions. The effects of compaction in soils are no exception. When soil is placed behind a retaining wall, the soil exerts a force on the wall. Classic earth pressure theory is not sufficient in designing retaining walls under compaction-induced pressures.

Compaction, whether intended by the designer or not, will have a significant effect on the pressure imposed on a soil retaining wall. The lecture will briefly show the limitations and assumptions associated with classic and compaction earth pressure theory. A prototype retaining wall was constructed in which earth pressure before and after compaction was measured. It is concluded that compaction significantly affects the earth pressure and that engineers need to be careful of inherent design assumptions made in analytical models.


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