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Short Course and Workshop by Prof. Dov Leshchinsky – Napoli (Italy), 15 March 2018

A Short Course and a Workshop were delivered by Dov Leshchinsky (Emeritus Professor at University of Delaware, USA) in Napoli, on 15th March 2018. Both the initiatives were aimed to gather professionals and scholars of the various fields of Geotechnical Engineering interested in geosynthetics and related applications. Particularly, the Course was devoted to young participants (younger than 36 years).

The Course and the Workshop were organised by Stefano Aversa (University of Naples Parthenope), Sabatino Cuomo (University of Salerno), Sergio Gobbi (Engineers’ Association of Naples), under the auspices of the Italian Geotechnical Society (AGI) and of the Italian Chapter of IGS (AGI-IGS), with the logistic support of Sabrina Moretti (University of Naples Parthenope) and Lorenzo Frigo (Geosintex srl).

Dov Leshchinsky is a worldwide well-known expert in the field of geosynthetics, with more than 40 years of experience in Geotechnical Engineering, computer programming and numerical methods, more than 30 years of teaching at University, and over 100 refereed papers, many with results of numerical analysis leading towards advances in design methods.

The 3 hours lasting Short Course titled “Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil Walls and Slopes: Theory and Application” provided an overview of modern soil reinforcing technology with an emphasis on geosynthetics. The key topics were the various available reinforcing materials, the facing components, and construction techniques. The methodologies to calculate the strength and layout of reinforcement in walls and slopes were also presented for potential various limit state failures of a reinforced structure. Attention was also given to the prediction of long-term performance of structures. More than 40 attendants were present, the most coming from Italy but also from other European Coun-tries.

The 3 hours Workshop was delivered into two parts. During the Part 1 titled “Limit State Design Framework for Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil Structures” Prof. Leshchinsky proposed a new design method based on limit equilibrium analysis and Factor of Safety (FS) Map tool. As main novelty, it was shown that the proposed design method allows attaining attain a prescribed constant FS at any location in the reinforced soil mass, providing complete information for both slip surface, reinforcement loading and connection load. The Part 2 “Lessons Learned from Failed MSE Walls” of the Workshop focused on five case histories of failed MSE walls, spanning from metallic and geosynthetic reinforcements, with the facing made of steel mesh, small concrete units, or large reinforced concrete panels, and with different, simple or more complex geometry. It is shown the likely reasons for the failures were design error and/or poor construction. Not surprisingly, it was also shown that the cost of repair was far more expensive than the savings due to skimped construction. All of these topics were discussed at the end of the Workshop moving from experience to theory and vice versa focusing on the main factors playing a role in short- and long-term behaviour of real reinforced structures in both cases of well-designed or dramatically failed structures. Out of more than 90 par-ticipants, more than 70 were professional engineers with the others being PhD students.
Memories of Short Course and Workshop by Dov Leshchinsky in Napoli (Italy)

Reported by
Stefano Aversa (University of Naples Parthenope and IGS member) and Sabatino Cuomo (University of Salerno and AGI-IGS Board member)