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Zornberg Honored As 2015/2016 Mercer Lecturer

Zornberg Honored As 2015/2016 Mercer Lecturer

Jorge Zornberg
Professor Jorge Zornberg
University of Texas at Austin
IGS Immediate Past President

The Mercer Lecture ( is a biennial lecture sponsored by Tensar International, with the endorsement of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) and the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS).

Dr. Zornberg’s topic is Stabilization of Paved Roads Using Geosynthetics.

Established in 1992, the series provides individuals who have made significant technical contributions to the advancement of geosynthetics the opportunity to present their work at international conferences around the world. They are held in honor of the late Dr. Brian Mercer, the inventor of geogrids and a strong advocate for innovation, research, and development.

The key objective of the lecture is to help promote the co-operation of information exchange between the geotechnical engineering profession and the geosynthetics industry by giving an eminent practitioner the opportunity to undertake a lecture tour on the subject of Geosynthetics in Geotechnical Engineering.
Upcoming Mercer Lecture Locations:

  • 15th Asian regional Conference, Japan, 9 – 13 November 2015
  • ISSMGE Pan-American Regional, Buenos Aires, 15 – 18 November 2015
  • 3rd international Conference on Transportation Geotechnics, Portugal, 4 – 7 September 2016


THE 2015/2016 TOPIC
Stabilization of a pavement system involves placing a geosynthetic at the bottom or within the pavement base course in order to increase its load-carrying capacity. The base mechanical properties are improved because of the lateral restraint induced by the geosynthetic by minimizing deformations of the unbound granular material. There is clear evidence that geosynthetic stabilization has led to an increased design life of pavements for a given base thickness as well as to a decreased base course thickness for a given pavement design life. In addition, geosynthetic stabilization has been observed to result in significantly improved performance for pavements founded on problematic soils (e.g. on expansive clay subgrades).

Significant advances are being made towards identifying and quantifying the parameters that govern the stabilization of paved roads. This lecture provides an overview and discussion of current methodologies used in the design of geosynthetic-stabilized pavement systems. An overview is also presented of experimental, analytical and field monitoring evaluations that have been conducted to evaluate the geosynthetic stabilization function. The confined stiffness of the soil-geosynthetic composite under small displacements is identified as a parameter that provides good basis for the design of geosynthetic-stabilized pavements. Proper quantification of the parameters governing the behavior of geosynthetic-stabilized pavements is expected to trigger a significant increase in the adoption of geosynthetic stabilization of paved roads.

A dedicated website for the Mercer Lecture Series ( has been developed. The site will serve as a source of background knowledge for the industry as a whole. Visitors to the site will be able to access details of the venues where Dr Zornberg will present. The site also includes an archive of previous lectures.