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Cooling contenders

Report on the 1998 Cooling Prize Competition, held at Cardiff University on 24 February, by Judith Harvey, Cambridge University.

The Cooling Prize Competition, instituted by Dr Leonard Cooling, aims to encourage geotechnical engineers under the age of 27 to present papers on their work. Emphasis is placed both on the quality of the work and on its presentation. The winner receives a cash prize from Ground Engineering and a sponsored trip to the European Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference, and there are other prizes for the runners up.

This year's competition meeting was chaired by Bill Craig, and the guest lecture 'Ground anchors in Europe in the 21st century' was given by Keller Ground Engineering's Tony Barley, who stressed the need for corrosion protection on ground anchors, and aspects of their failure. The talk also described

the latest technology in the field.

A total of eight written papers were submitted, each not longer than 2,000 words, with four finalists chosen to give 15 minute oral presentations at the meeting. The performances were of a high standard, with an abundance of computer hardware in evidence. This was the first year that computer projection was used instead of the more traditional slides or overheads. The papers are available from the ICE library.

The first contestant was Toby Hayward, a PhD student at Southampton University. He described the 'Behaviour during construction of a bored pile wall with a stabilising base at Coventry'. The work was of merit in illustrating the use of comprehensive instrumentation on a project of moderate scale. It concerned a road construction and used field data evidence to highlight the mechanism by which the wall achieved its retaining properties.

Paul Wiltcher of Kvaerner Cementation Foundations presented his role in the work at the Bluewater development in Kent, giving 'An insight into the largest driven precast piling contract ever awarded in the UK'. In particular, he discussed the real problems of pile breakage and slumping. This interesting presentation also demonstrated how a global positioning system could be used as a valuable management tool for coping with incidence of pile failure and in organising pile replacements

The winner was Archie Mundegar of Ove Arup & Partners, whose work is presented here. The project dealt with the effect of mica on sandy soil, in an effort to examine possible causes of slope failure during construction of the Jamuna Bridge in Bangladesh.

Rand Selman of Mott MacDonald discussed 'Subsurface movements induced by tunnelling in London Clay', based on her MEng work at Imperial College. She illustrated clearly the behaviour of existing London Underground Northern Line tunnels, in response to the construction of a pair of Jubilee Line tunnels below and transverse to them. A useful relationship for predicting the observations was highlighted for design purposes.

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