A New Digital-based Approach to Automate and Optimize Geotechnical Design


Alvin K M Lam
Arup, Hong Kong
Andrew T F Wong
Arup, Hong Kong
K P Chan
Arup, Hong Kong


Geotechnical engineers always work with complicated terrains and geologies, which are usually interpreted from the topographical survey, LiDAR data, geophysical survey and ground investigation boreholes. In the old days, these data were mapped or modelled but could only be visualized or transformed to 2D sections for subsequent design, which may not be easily visualized in a 3D space. With the advancement of computing power and the development of digital tools, they enable engineers to work and visualize their design in a 3D environment. This paper will showcase the application of Rhinoceros 3D (Rhino) in various geotechnical designs. With the aid of Grasshopper, which is a visual programming language running within Rhino, some traditional spreadsheet-based designs can be automated in a new digital-based platform. This paper will discuss the workflow and algorithms of applying the Grasshopper visual program to assist in site formation and foundation designs supplemented by case examples, which include the determination of the pile rockhead level, the calculation of the rock and soil cone volumes, the visualization of the borehole stratigraphy, the automation of soil nail arrangement over complex terrain, the development of the excavation profile with multiple platforms and the full excavation and lateral support (ELS) system, etc. The application will also be extended to create model inputs for geotechnical analysis such as Oasys PDisp through COM Interface and PLAXIS through Jupyter Notebook.

September 17, 2022
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