Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin


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Graduate Seminar - Dr. John Germaine


Monday, December 04, 2017


03:00pm - 04:00pm


CPE 2.204


Speaker:  Dr. John Germaine, Research Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Tufts University

Title of Seminar: “Stress Dependent Behavior of Mechanically Compressed Sediment”

Abstract: Advances in technology have increased borehole drilling capabilities to nearly 40,000 ft.  In the Gulf of Mexico, sediments are normally consolidated to great depth but have extreme excess pore pressure and complex states of stress due to salt deposit modification.  Predicting the in-situ stress state is necessary for accurate geophysical interpretation, as well as effective borehole design. 

New experimental technology has enabled detailed study of the compression, permeability, and shear behavior of materials over wide stress ranges.  In combination with resedimentation technology, we study these behaviors without the complexity of sample disturbance or specimen variability.

This seminar presents results of an extensive experimental program that establishes a new understanding of the variation in behavior as a function of stress and plasticity.   Trends in mechanical behavior are very consistent with liquid limit.  One important outcome is the observation that clay-rich sediments do not follow normalized behavior, creating a need for a new generation of soil models.

Biography:   John Germaine is a Research Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Tufts University.  He has over thirty years of experience teaching undergraduate and graduate-level materials and geotechnical courses, directing a significant sponsored research program, and serving the profession.  He was a Research Associate in the CEE Department at MIT until he joined the Tufts faculty in June of 2015 where he has established the Tufts Advanced Geomaterials Laboratory in the basement of Anderson Hall.

Dr. Germaine earned his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.   His Master and Doctorate degrees are in Geotechnical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Germaine specializes in experimental observation to explore geo-material behavior.  He has developed new instrumentation and automation technology for laboratory and field-testing programs in order to quantify key aspects of behavior.  Through these experimental research efforts, he has identified phenomena that are important to the understanding of shear strength, stiffness, and particle filtration/transport behavior.  These efforts have enabled measurements of fundamental parameters for model development and engineering design.  Examples of this research include: i) measurement technology, automation, and innovation; ii) behavior of unsaturated, frozen, soft, and anisotropic soils; iii) stress dependence of fine grained material properties, iv) off-shore exploration and design; and v) quantification of coupled porous media flow and transport phenomena.         

His achievements in instrumentation and experimentation are complemented by his involvement in ASTM International Committee D18 on Soil and Rock, a technical committee consisting of over 1200 academic, industrial, commercial, and government testing specialists and responsible for more than 370 standards.  In this capacity, he contributes to the engineering profession through the authorship of standard test methods, guides, and terminology in the geotechnical and geo-environmental areas.  In addition, he provides leadership to ASTM through membership on the Executive Committee and currently as Chairman of Committee D18.  The Committee has recognized his efforts with numerous awards.  He is also a Fellow of the Society.

On the educational front, in addition to extensive thesis supervision, he has developed and taught experimental undergraduate and graduate classes taken by civil engineering students.  He has enhanced the quality and depth of the engineering educational experience through a pedagogical approach that is centered on providing students with hands-on-learning experiences, a fundamental understanding of the technology, and a hypothesis testing methodology.  He has received teaching awards from the MIT Graduate Student Council, the MIT Civil Engineering Department, Chi Epsilon National Honor society, and named ASTM’s Professor of the Year in 2011.  Dr. Germaine has supervised over 50 Master of Science students and 30 Doctorate students.  His graduates are distributed in companies throughout the world and seven are now university faculty members.