Prof. Bernardo Caicedo

Professor Bernardo Caicedo, from Universidad de Los Andes, came to EPFL in December 2015 and gave a presentation of the research activities in geotechnical engineering at Los Andes University. His presentation was entitled “The problem of soil atmosphere interaction and the effect of cracks in soil deposits”.

The increasing interest in the study of the THM response of soils due to hydrological variations has heightened the need for improvements in the basic understanding of heat and mass transport taking place at the soil-atmosphere interface. Numerous hydrological parameters affect this thermo-hydro mechanical process: solar radiation, air temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind velocity, rain intensity and hygrometry. Only few results of soil-atmosphere interaction based on field tests are available to calibrate numerical models since these studies require measurements over long periods of time, in particular when attention focuses on the cyclic behavior during wetting and drying. On the other hand, due to extreme climate conditions large cracks in soil deposits have been identified in many locations in different parts of the world. Various studies have examined processes of crack formation and interactions with atmospheric conditions, but the effects of cracking on bearing capacity has received little attention.
This seminar will expose some studies in a climatic chamber that allows understanding the effect of each environmental variable on the soil atmosphere interaction. Furthermore, results of centrifuge tests to simulate the influence of cracks and desiccation on the bearing capacity of shallow circular foundations will be presented.

About the speaker:

Graduate in Civil Engineering at the Cauca University in Colombia (1986), DEA in geotechnics and structures, Ecole Centrale de Paris (1987), PhD in Geotechnics and Structures Ecole Centrale de Paris (1991). Professor at Los Andes University since 1991. Member of the editorial board of Geotechnique Letters, Acta Geotechnica and the Journal of Transportation Geotechnics. Referee for several international journals. Supervisor of 95 master thesis, 12 doctoral thesis in Uniandes. Leader of more than 65 research projects in pavements and geotechnics in Uniandes. Editor of one book and author of 80 conference papers and 36 journal papers.