PROFESSOR MARK Randolph from the University of Western Australia will give this year's BGA Rankine Lecture at Imperial College on 19 March.
His lecture, Science and empiricism in pile foundation design, will address the degree of confidence that can be placed on conceptual and analytical frameworks for estimating pile capacity and on quantitative parameters required to achieve a design.
Randolph will argue that despite great advances in pile design, the fundamental aspect - estimating axial capacity - still relies on empirical correlations.
He believes engineers need design approaches that minimise sensitivity to estimated pile capacity. This, he said, could be achieved partly through greater reliance on pile testing and also by adopting design approaches focused more on estimating deformation response of complete foundations and guarding against unacceptable deformation.
Randolph is director of the Special Research Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems at the University of Western Australia. His personal research interests include most aspects of pile design, but at the moment he is focused on offshore developments in deep water, especially soil characterisation and the estimation of limiting loads for foundation and anchoring systems.
lThe Rankine Lecture will be held on 19 March, 5.30pm (tea from 5pm) in the Sherfield Building, Imperial College, London.