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Creating Underground Infrastructure: the Role of Geotechnical Engineering

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The talk will be closely based on the Hinton Lecture, recently delivered by Robert Mair at the Royal Academy of Engineering. It addresses the challenges of creating urban underground infrastructure, in particular the development of underground transport that is environmentally essential for many of our future cities. It explores what can go wrong with such developments and raises important questions such as whether buildings above will be damaged by subsidence, how they can be protected and how existing underground infrastructure might be affected by new construction. The lecture highlights the key role of geotechnical engineering in addressing these questions. Examples of projects from around the world, including the Crossrail project in London, will demonstrate the size, technical challenges and complexity of modern underground construction. The lecture also describes recent research advances and innovations at Cambridge, and presents novel techniques for monitoring construction and whole-life performance using fibre optic technology and wireless sensor networks.

This talk is part of the Laing O'Rourke Centre Seminars series.

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