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UK Conference Puts Containment Centre Stage

Containment engineering had a starring role at IGS UK’s 6th Symposium for the first time in 12 years.

The topic formed the core theme of the biannual event, this time held at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, UK, to refocus attention on how to promote better design practice and innovation.

Global case histories explored non-standard design practices including applications in mining and extreme environmental settings, to challenge standard engineering design methods. Delegates also enjoyed lively discussion at a series of workshops at the end of each speaker session, which included keynotes from Dr. George Koerner and Ghent University visiting professor Gemmina Di Emidio.

Current industry-wide concerns acknowledged at the conference included the need to incorporate sustainability in containment solutions, having more on-site testing, trying out geosynthetic materials normally used in other applications, and generally taking a more bespoke approach to problem-solving.

Key conclusions from the workshops included:

  • Recognizing there were serious challenges, such as finite quantities of high-quality soils, to which geosynthetics can usefully contribute. Sustainable engineering could be improved by allowing the reuse of more marginal materials.
  • Design lives of up to 120 years may be over-conservative and potentially stifle innovation.
  • A need to test these materials and geosystems.
  • A need to educate the next generation of engineers.

IGS UK President Patricia Guerra-Escobar said: “We welcomed 75 attendees including 10 industry exhibitors and the day had a very positive vibe with everyone enjoying being at an in-person event after lockdown. Containment geosynthetics have a wide range of applications and implications for how we live and sustain our planet so IGS UK was keen to facilitate discussion on best practice, sustainability and encouraging innovation for our members.”

For more information on IGS UK, activities and future events, visit the chapter website here.