Sterling Leaves Legacy Of Advancement, Cooperation For The TTC

Changing Of The Guard At The Trenchless Technology Center
June 2009 Vol. 64 No. 6
Dr. Sterling (right) and Ph.D.-candidate John Mathews examine testing equipment.

That Sterling and the staff he has assembled have succeeded is evident. The TTC is making valuable contributions to the continuing development of trenchless technologies through research and development programs and the education of engineers, government agency personnel, contractors and others about the availability and capabilities of trenchless procedures.

An important element in the center's success, Sterling believes, is its university, industry and government base of support. Other contributing factors include its interdisciplinary faculty's broad range of expertise, highly specialized testing facilities along with active technology transfer and information dissemination activities to allow the latest technologies to reach those who can make effective use of them.

A milestone for the center came in late 2007 with the dedication of the center's new National Trenchless Technology Research Facility that includes a 20 by 20 foot soil box for testing to apply horizontal and vertical loads to soil and structures and allow construction of purpose built testing frames. The soil box is one of the largest of its kind among the few in North America. Among its capabilities is the ability to conduct controlled studies of full scale soil structure interaction for pipes of several feet in diameter, It enables monitoring of ground movement during pipebursting and pipe jacking and the study of HDD bore hole stability as well as utility locating and pipe characterization technologies.

"The test facility has enhanced our research program tremendously, and we use it extensively," said Sterling. "It employs a full time technician and has been quite a hive of activity during the past year."

Growing research

The addition to the research facility positions the center to more effectively compete for available research projects, said Sterling, and credits it with playing an important part in gaining a three year project for the Transportation Research Board of the National Research Council about rehabilitation of culverts. The study is being conducted in conjunction with CNA Consulting Engineers, Minneapolis, MN, and Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario.

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