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DFI Announces Winner of 2014 Student Paper Competition

Benjamin Turner, Ph.D., candidate in geotechnical earthquake engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, is the winner of the DFI Educational Trust 2014 Student Paper Competition. His winning paper, “Evaluation of Influence on Lateral Spreading Displacement Demand for Adjacent Bridges,” uses data from two parallel, adjacent bridges crossing the Colorado River in Mexico that were subjected to a broad field of laterally-spreading ground during the 2010 M 7.2 El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake. Two-dimensional finite element analyses were used to quantify the influence that the presence of each bridge had on the lateral spreading demand for the opposite bridge. The results show that the relatively stiff foundations of the first bridge provided a “shielding” effect to the second bridge, significantly reducing the demand compared to the magnitude of the free-field lateral spreading observed at the site. This data will assist in accounting for the restraining force provided by foundations when the laterally-spreading ground does not have a finite, measureable out-of-plane width.

Turner’s research at UCLA focuses on the performance of foundations and earth retaining structures under seismic loading. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and is a licensed civil engineer in California and a part-time project engineer for Dan Brown and Associates, PC.

The first runner-up for the Student Paper Competition is Duraisamy Youventharan from the University of Sydney in Australia. His paper is titled “Performance of Bio-Cemented Sydney Sand Using Ex-Situ Mixing Technique.”

The awards were presented at the DFI 39th Annual Conference on Deep Foundations in October 2014 in Atlanta, GA, and Turner presented his paper to conference attendees. The competition papers will be published in a future issue of the DFI Journal.

The call for entries for the 2015 Student Paper Competition will be released at the end of January 2015. See www.dfi.org or www.dfitrust.org for details at that time.