The Deep Foundations Institute’s Educational Trust has announced the winners of its 2010 Paper Competitions. Each year, papers are solicited from students and entry-level faculty members on topics relating to deep foundations design and construction.

The winner of the 2010 Student Paper Competition is Jeremy Kress, who is pursuing an M.S. in civil engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU). His winning paper is titled, “Analysis of Pile Behavior in Granular Soils using Discrete Element Method (DEM).” Kress received his B.S. in civil engineering from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. He joined NCSU to conduct research supported by a North Carolina Space Grant Program. His interests include discrete element method and other numerical modeling techniques. In his paper, he proposes DEM as a complementary alternative to analytical solutions and FEM models for the analysis of pile response. He goes on to state, “DEM is a novel approach to the engineering design of deep foundations that can be used to provide insight into the mechanics of soil-soil and soil-structure interaction. It is common to use analytical, empirical and semi-empirical methods to predict pile behavior, where if granular properties, pile length or load orientation change, then significant adjustments are made in the design sequence. DEM provides a more uniform approach in granular soils.” In conclusion, he does state that “DEM simulations are not yet poised to supersede existing design methodologies. However, they can provide an added level of information relative to traditional continuum approaches and, with increases in computing power, may one day serve to provide a simple, physics-based approach to pile design.” Future research may include more complex deep foundation simulations (e.g. micropile, grouting and soil reinforcement), where detailed soil response is largely unknown.

The winning paper for the 2010 Young Professor Paper Competition was submitted by Anne Lemnitzer, assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the California State University-Fullerton. She received her BSCE from the University of Applied Sciences in Leipzig, Germany; a MASCE in Geotechnical Engineering as a Fulbright Scholar at California State University-Long Beach; and an MSCE and PhD in Structural/Earthquake Engineering from UCLA. Her research work focuses on soil-structure interaction of various bridge foundation systems. Her winning paper is titled, “Lateral Load Testing of Pile Foundations.” She serves as a reviewer for multiple geotechnical journals and conferences, and is an active committee member of the earthquake Engineering Research Institute, and an associate member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Her research interests include laboratory and field testing, bridge engineering and soil-foundation-structure interaction.

The student paper competition also provided an award to a runner-up, Arash Khosravifar, who currently is pursuing his PhD in geotechnical earthquake engineering at University of California-Davis after receiving his Bachelors and Masters in earthquake engineering from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran. His research there focused on seismic vulnerability of masonry buildings affected by the Bam earthquake in 2003. Now, he is working under the supervision of Professor Ross Boulanger on soil-structure interaction of extended pile foundations in liquefiable grounds during earthquakes. He is being awarded for his paper titled, “Inelastic Response of Extended Pile Shafts in Laterally Spreading Ground during Earthquakes.”