Officine Maccaferri


Our young talents at the 9th South African Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference (SAYGEC)

Mechanically Stabilised Earth Walls

Our young engineers presented two papers on geosynthetics applications in capping and reinforced soil systems

At Maccaferri, we are committed to developing the talent of our young engineers. For this reason, we continuously promote learning through internship, e-learning and practical learning experience on our work sites. Recently, we also decided to offer our young engineers the opportunity to attend the 9th South African Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference (SAYGEC).

Organized by SAICE Geotechnical Division, the 9th edition of the South African Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference took place in Salt Rock (Kwa-Zulu Natal) last September and represented a network forum and opportunity for young geotechnical engineers to better acquaint themselves with the industry and products available. This happens within an environment where conference speakers and most of the delegates are under the age of 35. The conference is held every three years and aims to provide delegates with the opportunity to develop their writing skills and produce a technical paper, which will be published in the conference proceedings. In addition, speakers can exercise their presentation skills in front of a more forgiving audience and delegates attending can learn from like-minded peers.

Among the conference highlights, there were two papers presented by Maccaferri Africa’s young engineers:

  • Ricardo Sousa and Edoardo Zannoni presented the paper “Designing with Geosynthetics in Capping”. Traditional capping solutions require an extensive volume of fill material, labour and machinery. The paper discussed how a cost effective capping system can be achieved with the use of geosynthetics. The design of soil veneer, drainage and anchoring applications was also discussed. Attention was brought to the importance of taking into account both short term and long term operating conditions as well as site-specific parameters in the choice of the most appropriate reinforcement. Moreover, the different design standards used around the world should be taken as guidelines on minimum requirements for the design of capping systems. The final considerations were made on the importance for designers to work towards safe, efficient and environmentally-friendly solutions.
  • Juan de Beer, Joseph Meadows and Edoardo Zannoni presented the paper “True Bridge Abutment Using Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil: Principles and Applications”. This paper focused on the major benefits of using geosynthetic-reinforced soil systems as true bridge abutments. The Black Rock Mine project was presented as an example. The project consisted of constructing four 7.5 m high retaining walls, designed in accordance with BS8006-1:2012 Code of Practice for Strengthened/Reinforced Soils and Other Fills.

In addition, one of our flagship projects was presented by Kate Purchase with the paper “Case Study and Lessons Learnt: The Construction of Mechanically Stabilised Earth Walls at Mount Edgecombe Interchange”. This paper focused on the various challenges encountered and lessons learned during the construction of the mechanically stabilised earth (MSE) walls on the Mount Edgecombe Interchange. Poor ground conditions were improved with a series of techniques, including Replacement Stone Columns and Dynamic Compaction (DC/SC), bi-directional polymeric geotextile and G6 Raft (stone) with a depth of 2 m. In this project, we designed and supplied the retaining structures using our MacRes® vertical concrete faced walls with high performance ParaWeb® geostrips for soil reinforcement.

At Maccaferri, we are committed to helping young engineers start and advance their careers. We believe that actively participating in this type of conferences can help them challenge themselves beyond their everyday activities. Moreover, the interaction with peers can encourage the free flow of ideas and experiences. This is why we are delighted that the conference was highly informative and exciting for our young engineers.

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