April 20, 2017

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Yazen Khasawneh and David Espinoza to Present at the Purdue Geotechnical Society Annual Workshop

Yazen Khasawneh (Michigan) and David Espinoza (Maryland) will be presenting at the upcoming Purdue Geotechnical Society's annual workshop on "Climate Change and Geotechnical Engineering" at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana on Friday, April 21, 2017.

Yazen's presentation is entitled "Displacement Analysis of World Islands' Breakwater." David's presentation is entitled "Bringing the Engineers Back into the Boardrooms: Connecting Climate Risk to Financial Performance."  

The workshop attracts geotechnical engineers from Indiana and the Midwest.

The Purdue Geotechnical Society was founded in May 2003 to enhance the bond and working relationship among alumni, faculty, students, and staff of the Geotechnical Engineering group at Purdue University for the benefit of all.


Displacement Analysis of World Islands' Breakwater

The World Islands in Dubai, UAE consists of reclaimed sandy islands arranged in the shape of the world map. An approximately 26km long breakwater earthen structure was constructed to protect the islands against high wave. The stability under seismic loading, liquefaction potential, and post-earthquake shaking vertical displacements of the breakwater crest are major long-term performance concern. Two dimensional coupled seismic hydromechanical numerical simulations were performed on the selected critical cross section. The breakwater foundation material consists of siliceous calcarenite with shells in the upper layer of the calcarenite, the shelly calcarenite is overlain by a native sand layer. The structure of the breakwater consists of a sandy core constructed by dredging, a layer of quarry material was placed on top of the core. The breakwater final crest elevation was achieved by placing an armor layer mainly at the sea side of the structure. The armor and quarry layers were modeled as elastic perfectly plastic material with MC yield criteria. The calcarenite foundation layer was modeled as linear elastic material. The native and dredged sand layers were modeled using the Dames & Moore constitutive model. The most reasonable scenario in terms of ground motion and selected parameters resulted in localized liquefaction and post-earthquake permeant vertical displacement ranging from 0.2m to 0.7m.

Bringing the Engineers Back into the Boardrooms: Connecting Climate Risk to Financial Performance

There is no limit to human ingenuity - It has always been society's greatest means to solve global problems. That is why we are optimistic that we can engineer through today's most pressing issue: climate change. But, despite the tools and the will, our greatest challenge may be our ability to finance those ideas in time. Why? Because, despite our technological achievements, decisions that affect future generations are still based on arcane financial models developed to value traded securities nearly 70 years ago and are not applicable to infrastructure investments. Those models fail to see future risks and so they fail to value the actions that we can take today to alleviate such risks. By grossly underestimating future risks, these models undervalue the long term actions that we can take today and impose a cost on future generations that the current one has little incentive to fix. Climate change makes this problem more evident. We understand the science and its wide-ranging consequences on communities and physical assets, we can engineer solutions, but, standard financial analysis breed the false or misleading perception that investments in climate change mitigation or adaption of our critical infrastructure are not worthwhile. Climate change will affect everything we care about, and we have a solution for promoting the vital mitigation and adaptation investments to safeguard these things and to give future generations a chance to inherit a livable planet. By pivoting to a robust valuation method capable of assessing ever changing physical risks, long-term infrastructure projects can finally be on equal footing with short-term opportunities and we can begin to develop the projects that will do the most good.

More Information

For more information regarding the event, visit: Purdue Geotechnical Society Annual Workshop
For more information on displacement analysis, contact Yazen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or David at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
To learn more about David see his profile at: http://www.geosyntec.com/people/david-espinoza
To learn more about Yazen see his profile at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yazen-khasawneh-ph-d-p-e-b7632952/