Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Vernon R Schaefer


Geoconstruction technologies provide solutions for pavements, foundations, slopes, and retaining walls on transportation projects across the United States. This dissertation includes a selection of papers to address two knowledge gaps within the broad application area of geoconstruction technologies. First, the geotechnical engineering community lacks a central repository that summarizes, distills, and distributes the abundant information regarding geoconstruction technologies. Second, the stone column geoconstruction technology lacks design guidance for estimating settlements and the development of future project considerations based on a review of case histories.

The first two papers, "Web-Based Information System for Geoconstruction Technologies in Transportation Infrastructure" and "Selection Assistance for the Evaluation of Geoconstruction Technologies," describe a new information system that compiles the critical knowledge for 46 geoconstruction technologies applicable to transportation infrastructure from the following areas: ground improvement, geosynthetics, grouting, slope stabilization, soil reinforcement, soil stabilization, alternative materials, and recycling. The information system contains an introduction to the Geotechnical Design Process, Catalog of Technologies, Technology Selection Assistance, and Glossary. For each technology, the following documents can be accessed through the Catalog of Technologies: Technology Fact Sheet, Photographs, Case Histories, Design Guidance, Quality Control/ Quality Assurance, Cost Information, Specifications, and Bibliography. Technology selection assistance aids the user in identifying potential geoconstruction technologies for a user-defined set of project conditions.

The last two papers, "Reliability of Estimating Settlements for Stone Columns" and "Stone Columns: Lessons Learned, Settlements, and Future Project Considerations," relate to the performance of ground reinforced by stone columns. The design considerations for stone columns were developed from a thorough review of published literature focusing on case histories that document both the successful and unsuccessful implementation of stone columns. Over 15 methods of estimating settlements were identified for stone columns. The Priebe method is the most widely used and was evaluated using the concept of reliability. Case histories with unsatisfactory performance allowed the development of application, design, and construction considerations for future projects and represent a summary of lessons learned from previous projects. A well-documented case history for an embankment widening project that used stone columns allowed an evaluation of current Federal Highway Administration recommendations for estimating settlements. Numerical analysis of this case history provided design guidance regarding the stress distribution in the soils underlying the stone column reinforced zone to use in the analysis of settlements.


Copyright Owner

Samuel Caleb Douglas



Date Available


File Format


File Size

289 pages