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Magazine of Dispuut Geo-Engineering “De Ondergrondse”


De Ondergrondse has been working together with the Dutch engineering association “KIVI
Geotechniek” for quite some time now. In order to make this cooperation even better, KIVI
Geotechniek is offering the students of the Geo-Engineering section the possibility to join the
activities hosted by KIVI Geotechniek. These activities include excursions to conferences and more!
For most activities you need to be a member of KIVI Geotechniek and most are organized in Dutch.

If you would like to become a member of KIVI Geotechniek, send an email to

Sponsors 2
The Board During the COVID-19 Period

Dianne Frode
When I heard that the university would close for The first few weeks of quarantine were actually
three weeks (more like months at the time of not that bad. The assignments from Numerical
writing), I decided that I wanted to spent the lock- Modelling were taking up a lot of time, so the
down at my parents place. They live in a beautiful free time really came in handy. However, it did
village (Groesbeek) and going there also meant start getting annoying that meetings in person
that I could spend more time with them and also were not allowed in the fourth quarter. The on-
my grandma. To keep the study time separated line meetings were very inefficient. Also, I really
from my spare time, I studied at my grandma’s started to miss the social part of studying. There
place. This was quite a nice solution, since I did were no Geodrinks, no end-of-the-year BBQs,
a lot more work and I spent more time with my not even a little chat with other people after lec-
grandma. Because of the lockdown she saw a tures.
lot less people, so she appreciated it that I was During the summer break, the restrictions from
there every day. After some weeks I started do- the government were loosened. It was nice to
ing home workouts, since the gym was of course see my friends again after such a long time, but
closed. And I spoke my friends from Enschede still, things were not really the same as before. On
a lot more often then before the lockdown, be- most days, the only thing I did was sit at home
cause we figured out that we can also just meet and watch Netflix or play video games.
up online rather than travelling three hours to I hope that the corona virus will not cause an-
see each other. This summer I just stayed in the other peak in the future, so that we don’t have to
Netherlands and enjoyed the beautiful weather wait long for the next Geodrinks. And trust me,
over here. this will be a Geodrinks you do not want to miss!

Emy Sybren
After some intense weeks in Q3 working on the A lot has changed since the outbreak of the coro-
numerical modelling assignments, I must say that na virus. Suddenly we were forced to study from
it was weird not seeing most of you in the weeks our homes. It was a strange to see your fellow
(and months) to follow. I think that quarantine students only through a video connection and to
life was a big change for all of us, and I hope take exams in your own room. I hope everyone is
you’ve all been healthy and stayed mentally sane healthy and was able to finish their courses in Q3
during it all. I think we were lucky to have great and Q4 of last year.
weather in the first months, which made it possi- As commissioner of education I evaluated the
ble to still meet people outside. online education and tried to support the teach-
Apart from studying and doing my part as the ers wherever needed together with the GEEC. As
treasurer, I took up a lockdown hobby. Since the online teaching continues, I will also continue
most sports facilities closed down (and I had al- doing this. During the summer I have recharged
ready finished all my puzzles), I decided to pur- myself and I am ready to take up this task!
sue a yogic lifestyle. Thankfully, the sports center I enjoyed seeing the new first year Geo-Engineer-
is now almost back to ‘normal’ and I don’t have ing students during the introduction day. We are
to force myself into impossible yoga poses any- planning to organize more real-life events which
more. comply with the corona measures. I look forward
As for my Ondergrondse duties, I am still a bit to meeting you all there!
saddened that we were not able to organize the
GE Trip Abroad this summer. I really hope that
we still get to organize some other fun activities
when the COVID-19 measures are eased. Enjoy
your holidays, and hope to see you all soon!

3 From the Board

From the Board 3
Graduate Thesis by Alumni
Geotechnical Engineer - Arup
Road to TU Delft 11
Top 5 Most Impressive Tunnels 14

by Mitch Frissen, MSc
Determination of differential settlements of
high-rise building foundations in soft soil
A framework for daily engineering practice

Hello, my Name is Mitch Frissen and I graduat-

ed this year (2020) in May on differential settle-
ments of high-rise buildings in soft soil condi-
tions. In this article I will give a summary about
my Master Thesis research topic.
the embedded beam in combination with the
Currently, the settlements of high-rise buildings multi-linear shaft friction is fitted in PLAXIS 3D.
are calculated based on two methods. The sin- The fit is conducted by increasing the stiffness
gle pile settlements (s1), are generated due to of a soil volume below pile tip level. Which does
mobilised shaft friction and pile tip resistance. account for the residual stresses after pile instal-
These settlements are determined with analyt- lation.
ical methods (i.e. NEN 9997-1, 2017). Settle-
ments related to pile group behaviour in soil The solution of this fit consists of two parts: im-
layers below pile tip level (s2) are calculated provements on behalf of the new embedded
with the equivalent raft approach i.e. Tomlinson beam formulation after Smulders (2018) and a
(1977). However, an essential aspect for differ- soil stiffness fit below pile tip level. Regarding
ential settlement calculations is the redistribu- the new embedded beam formulation, improve-
tion of loads by soil-structure interaction mech- ments have been determined on mesh-depend-
anisms, which are not currently incorporated in ency and a stiffer load-displacement response.
the calculation approach. A missing factor for a The fit method performs well in combination
soil-structure interaction calculation is the lack with the embedded beams while approaching
of soil-displacement installation effects in the the load-displacement response of soil-displace-
numerical methods for single pile behaviour. ment piles according to NEN9997. However, the
Therefore, in my research I focussed on the im- ultimate bearing capacity of the embedded pile
plementation of a soil displacement single pile should still be calculated with D-Foundations
behaviour in PLAXIS 3D and thereby towards in- (analytical method based on NEN9997).
tegration of the structural and geotechnical de-
sign in one calculation method for appropriate In the pile group calculation, the behaviour of sin-
soil subgrade reactions and load redistribution. gle piles is extrapolated to all piles in the PLAXIS
3D model. A plate element is modelled on top of
In my research numerical methods are used the pile heads to achieve a redistribution of loads
in combination with the embedded beam ap- due to the overlying superstructure. In this way,
proach applied in PLAXIS 3D. To approximate the single pile behaviour and bending stiffness of
the NEN9997 load-displacement behaviour of the superstructure is implemented in the PLAXIS
soil displacement single piles, the behaviour of 3D model, and the soil-structure interaction cal-
culation is possible.
However, group effects due
to the soil displacement in-
stallation method are only
partly covered in this ap-
proach. The reduction or
increase in skin resistance
in pile groups is not cov-
ered since, the predefined
maximum skin friction ca-
pacity is manually inserted
as an input parameter and
it is not an outcome of the

5 Graduate Thesis
PLAXIS 3D calculation.

Afterwards, the proposed framework is applied

to a practical case study including measure-
ment data of a high-rise project in Amsterdam.
The proposed framework turned out to capture
soil-structure interaction properly by taking into
account a part of the superstructure bending
stiffness and single pile behaviour. Compared to
current calculation approaches, complex soil be-
haviour is captured in redistribution of the loads.
However, the calculated settlements are still de-
viating from the measurement data. A probable
explanation for the discrepancy is the shift in ap- model, complex soil behaviour is now captured
plied load over time in PLAXIS 3D relative to the in the load redistribution calculation in PLAX-
real construction process. IS 3D. Therefore, the possibilities of linking the
structural design to the geotechnical design
In conclusion, an improvement in terms of in an early stage of the design process will be
modelling soil-structure interaction has been feasible. Combining the designs in an early
achieved by incorporating single pile behaviour stage, the structural dimensions of columns
and superstructure bending stiffness in PLAXIS and beams are calculated with appropriate soil
3D. The soil-structure interaction in combination subgrade reactions and load redistributions
with the new embedded beam formulation, the by the soil. However, it is recommended to
fit method and the plate element is a fast ap- apply more investigation on the behaviour of

proach for determining the load distribution on soil-displacement pile (groups) in combination
the pile heads. Subsequently, the accuracy for with embedded beams because, group effects
determination of settlements is increased due are still not completely incorporated.
to the improved soil-structure interaction. Com-
pared to current approaches where linear springs If you are interested in my research topic you
are used for single pile behaviour in the structural can read my complete Master Thesis on the re-
pository website of the TU Delft. After finishing
my Master Thesis on the TU Delft, I followed
my dreams and moved to the mountains in
Austria. Currently, I am working at Amberg
Engineering AG in Innsbruck. This engineering
firm is specialized in design of tunnels in hard
rock environments.
- NEN 9997-1. (2017). Eurocode 7: Geotechnical Design, including
Dutch national annex and NCCI. Nederlandse Norm. NEN.
- Smulders, C. M. (2018). An improved 3D embedded beam element
with explicit interaction surface [Master Thesis]. Delft University of
- Tomlinson, M., & Woodward, J. (1977). Pile Design and Construction
Practice, Fifth edition (Vol. 5). Taylor & Francis.

Graduate Thesis 6
by Rajasekar Subbian
I’m Rajasekar Subbian The goal of this program is to equip the
and I graduated from existing bridges to deal with the fatigue
TU Delft in the year resulting from ever-increasing traffic and
2017. I wrote my dis- to ensure its safety per current standards
sertation about a grav- and requirements.
ity-based foundation
for offshore wind tur- One such bridge that I am currently work-
bines under the super- ing on is the Van Brienenoord bridge lo-
vision of Dr. Ken Gavin. cated in Rotterdam connecting the banks
of river Nieuwe Maas. Van Brienenoord
Currently, I work as a graduate geotech- bridge is a twin arch bridge with a main
nical engineer at an international engi- span of 300 m.
neering firm called Arup. In this article,
I’d like to share my experience in the ge- An interesting fact for a geotechnical en-
otechnical industry. gineer would be that one of the bridg-
es (from 1960) was founded on a cais-
Arup, as an engineering firm has al- son foundation whereas the other (from
ways been of interest and the impor- 1980) was founded on both the existing
tant aspect that attracted me towards it caisson and new pile foundations.
is the philosophy of total architecture,
quality of the product, and its ethics. To ensure the compliance of the founda-
tions to transfer the additional load when
The reader could read the key speech by the renovated bridge is in place, advanced
Sir Ove Arup, which will provide great- computational analyses were performed.
er insight into the philosophy and the
principles on which our firm is based. A difference in soil stratigraphy was ev-
idenced on both sides of the river from
The other aspect which I like about my the archive ground investigation data
job is that every day is not the same. whilst the ground model development.
My day-to-day tasks constantly change
from GI interpretation to foundation Furthermore, the information on the
design, from analytical analysis to finite deeper layers within the zone of influence
element analysis, from digital develop- was limited. Besides, one of the piers sup-
ment to site visit. porting the arch is located on the island
whereas the other in the water. Thus, the
Besides, the responsibility to deliver loading history is also different from each
high-quality infrastructure which serves other.
the society in the long term keeps me
motivated and updated with the state- To establish a good ground model, a new
of-the-art technologies in the industry. ground investigation program was car-
ried out.
Bridge renovation in the Netherlands
has been one of the talks of the town
programs in the infrastructure market.

7 Alumni Corner
A layer of dumped rocks was encoun- Furthermore, as a member of De on-
tered in the surroundings of the piers in dergrondse, I have cherishing memo-
water making it difficult to perform the ries from the activities such as lectures,
(deeper) CPTs closer to the substructure. symposiums, and most importantly the
borrel evenings.
This introduced the uncertainty in the
deeper soft layers. However, such uncer- My suggestion to the current students in
tainty was taken into account in the FE terms of job search would be to spend
analysis with the help of sensitivity anal- time researching the companies to look
ysis and the available deformation mon- for a fit with your specific requirements.
itoring data.

Besides, make use of the interview as an
Of course, I can speak about this project opportunity to get to know the company
for days but if I need to point out one in detail and assess their suitability for you.
take away for me in this project then it
would be the art of dealing uncertainty. Framing the questions beforehand
will help you in assessing them. In
While I was a master’s student at TU Delft, this way, it’ll eventually result in a
I loved the group projects involving other win-win situation for both parties.
disciplines. This helped me appreciate the
total architecture in the engineering chal- Wishing you all the very best and make
lenges by getting a bird’s eye view while sure to enjoy your tenure at TU Delft.
at the same time, not losing the specifics. Feel free to ontact me on LinkedIn for
any questions.

Alumni Corner 8

Geotechnical Risk Ground

Engineering Assessments Improvement
– – –
Soil Investigation Condition Surveys Permeation grouting
Foundations and ground structures Vibration predictions Jet grouting
Construction pits Deformation analysis Mixed-in-place
Bored tunnels and trenchless tech. Damage predictions Compensation grouting (compaction)
State-of-the-art dike verification Monitoring plans Compensation grouting (fracture)
Low Subsidence or sub. free systems Monitoring and supervising Ground freezing
Dynamics and earthquakes Damage investigations

Hydrogeology Environmental Internship/

– – graduation

Pumping systems Environmental soil and water studies CRUX 2019/2020 achievements:
Model studies (Re)usability of soil and construction - Finalist Cobouw Awards Best
Statistical groundwater analysis materials Employer
Hydrogeological effect studies Working in contaminated soil - Great Place to Work Certified
Ground energy systems (ATES) Environmental supervising - Beste Workplaces top 10
Pump tests Consulting on asbestos remediation - Finalist Schreudersprijs
Flow barrier ... and much more!

Are you an enthusias-

tic and driven student
of Civil Engineering or
Structural Engineering
and interested in an
at CRUX? Send your CV
and motivation to

CRUX Engineering BV +31 (0)20 4943070
My name is Vincent Leclercq (24), and I started working at
CRUX after my graduation in February. When looking for a
job I realised I wanted to be involved in the development
of sustainable energy. At the same time I also enjoyed the
challenge of designing complex geotechnical structures in
densely urbanised areas. This brought me to CRUX. I would like
to take this opportunity to introduce to you CRUX’s newest
workfield: Energy Geotechnics.
Vincent Leclercq

When people think about working in Geotechnics, Another elegant aspect of the Energy Sheetpile
they usually think about tunnels, dykes, sheetpiles, comes from its good compatibility with ATES sys-
and building foundations. CRUX offers the chance to tems. In summer, the extracted heat can be stored in
work with colleagues having specialised knowledge aquifers. This allows for precise calibration of heat
in all these fields. The projects you start vary in size supply and demand for a building (or neighbour-
and style, which means you get to explore the whole hood), which greatly increases the performance of
spectrum of Geotechnical activities. the system.

The newest workfield of CRUX particularly drew me: CRUX has been the leading group in the Energy
Energy Geotechnics. CRUX is developing the activ- Sheetpile experiment at “De Zweth”. In cooperation
ities related to energy extraction from the shallow with several other companies, TU Delft (Phil Vardon,
subsurface with geotechnical structures. CRUX is Ivaylo Pantev) and TU Eindhoven, an experiment has
also active in the design of ATES systems, and their recently been set up to test the efficiency of the sys-
influence on surrounding structures. tem. The testing will start in September, and will last
for 2 years.
Waterways form a large part of our Dutch landscape.
Surface water often is slightly warmer than the am- If I managed to get you curious about this topic, or if
bient air. It also has an extremely high heat capacity. you have questions about my experience working at
This combination allows for a great thermal ex- CRUX you can always contact me at
traction potential. In urban areas sheet piles are of-!
ten chosen as retaining structure. By installing heat
exchanger on the sheetpiles (or quay walls/ founda-
tion piles), thermal energy can be extracted from the
surface water and soil.

By using a heat pump, the temperature of the ex-

tracted fluid can be increased to heat buildings. The
system can also be reversed to provide cooling. The
energy demand of these heat pumps can of course
be provided with renewable energy. On a side note,
the heat exchangers cool the water in the canals,
which slightly increases the chance of ice on the ca-
nals (yes: ice-skating!).
by Do Chinh Phuong
I was born in September 1996 in the
KienAn hospital, which is located 20 km
away from the sea shore. After giving birth
to me, my parents named me: “Do Chinh
Phuong” which means “always find the
right way” in Vietnamese.

My father is a director of a Construction

company – Hacco, located in Hai Phong
city, Vietnam. We focus on constructing
dykes, dams, bridges and roads. Growing
up in a family with a tradition of being an Me and my best friend in Vietnam – Bon
engineer, spending life building people’s (2020)
designs and dreams, my father decided
that I would take all of his inheritance and I was promoted to be a leader of a Geo-
follow his path. technical class in September 2018 by the
president of our student association and
all of my classmates. Despite the fact that
I did not have high grades, he convinced
the Head of our Faculty of Construction
that I was best suited for that position. This
changed my following years in an unpre-
dictable way.

Becoming a leader of the class in my Uni-

versity meant that I was responsible to
team-up with all of my classmates and that
I would support them when they encoun-
tered troubles, while on the other hand, also
Sheet pile wall and struts in Tu Ky bridge,
being a mean of communication between
Hai Duong city (constructed by Hacco,
lecturers and students. Furthermore, I had
to widen my network with all lecturers, and
had to be their assistance on-class and off-
I started my bachelor degree (civil en-
gineering) at the ThuyLoi University (its
former name was Hanoi Water Resources
Seven months later, my supervisor – Ass.
University) in September 2014. My pur-
Prof Hoang Viet Hung – Head of Geotechni-
pose was just to have a degree, and then
cal Division in ThuyLoi University advanced
my father would guide me with his expe-
our team to the National Mechanics Olym-
rience and knowledge. Because of that,
pics 2018 (held by the Vietnamese Mechan-
my first 2.5 years in the University was a
ics Association, honored by the Ministry of
big mess. I achieved low grades as I did
Education). After I won the first prize of the
not focus enough on my study. I thought
contest, my supervisor introduced me to the
that the rest of my years at the University
Institute of Water Resources for a 4-month
would end the same way.
However, you never know what happens
to you tomorrow.

11 International Geo-Corner
ThuyLoi University (2020)
In this period, my task was researching the every single moment being a TU Delft stu-

bearing capacity of the soft soil ground, dent. Now, my first year has ended; all the
specifically soft clay in Ca Mau, in the south knowledge invigorates me to keep it up, all
of Vietnam. I also participated in building the memories embrace my heart, I want to
a physical model to study the behaviour of study here, not only my second year, but
different shapes of shallow foundation in even longer.
Ca Mau’s soft soil. This was the first time I
learnt how to conduct a research based on I am still on my way studying and re-
in-situ data and I liked this so much that I searching.
made a decision to become a researcher at
that moment. To all my classmates, I wish you the best.
Miss you all.
When I completed my first internship, my
parents had a conversation with me. First- Hanoi, 6th of August 2020
ly, they were surprised with the fact that I
did not choose to work in our company,
but then encouraged me to keep studying
on my own. With their financial support, 4
months after I graduated, my first interna-
tional flight was happening, and I was on
my way to Delft!

Being a student at the TU Delft and a mem-

ber of the Geo-Engineering section is an
extreme experience to me. Tons of assign-
ment and hours staying in the computer
room while being stuck with coding and
homework cannot deny the fact that this
place is ideal for any student who wants to
learn from the best.

It is not easy for me to get used to the aca-

My supervisor and me on the Graduation
demic environment here, although I enjoyed
day (2019)

International Geo-Corner 12
are looking
for you!
Water Authority Drents Overijsselse Delta (WDODelta)
is a government organization responsible for safe dikes,
dry polders and sewage treatment.
We maintain and control approximately 240 kilometers of
primary river levees and a lot of constructions in the area
of West-Overijssel and South-West Drenthe.
A team of six enthousiastic flood control experts are working
on dike reinforcement projects and safety assessments of
the primary river levees in the area.

The department Research and Consultancy is looking for

a master student for the following subjects:

• Internship: River levees reinforcement project

• Internship: Safety assessment of river levees
• Thesis: Piping in sand-on-sand river levees
• Thesis: Macro stability (outwards) of river levees
• Thesis: Time dependent groundwater flow in river levees
• Own research proposals are welcome

Look at our website or the

careerboard at the coffee corner for more information
and the detailed description of the posistions.
1. Downtown Seattle actually sits on top of 3. Tokyo is protected from floods by a mas-
the original city dating from the 1800s. It was sive underground system of tunnels and
rebuilt on top of 6 m high walled tunnel fol- water tanks, with 14000 hp turbines that
lowing a great fire, in order to prevent floods can pump 200 tons of water per second.
from high tide and sewage. You can go under- The project aims to protect the city from
ground and visit the original city remnants. floods during heavy rainfall and typhoons.

4. The first proposal to tunnel under the Eng-

lish Channel was put forward by a French-
man in 1802. It would have had illumina-
tion from oil lamps, horse-drawn coaches,
and an artificial island mid-Channel for
changing horses. It was considered one of
the “Seven Wonders of the Modern World”
by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

5. Gotthard Rail Tunnel is the world’s longest

2. The oldest subway tunnel in the world has (57 km) and deepest (2.3 km) tunnels in the
had its only entrance welded shut and it con- world. It contains switchovers, was drilled in
tains a steam engine over 100 years old. The five individual segments, inside of which tem-
tunnel was built in 1844 but then abruptly peratures went upwards of 40°C during works.
sealed in 1861 shortly after Brooklyn banned
steam locomotives within city limits. Legend
has it that it was later reopened in 1920s for
mushroom growing and in the 1940s when
the FBI searched inside for hidden Nazis.

Sources: Seattle Department of Transportation, Kick-

assFacts Facts Encyclopedia, Water Technology, Newly
Swissed BmbH

Contact Circulation: 250
“De Ondergrondse“
p/a Stevinweg 1, Room 0.0.43 Editors: Gokul Krishan Balaji, Teodora Barbuntoiu,
2628 CN Delft Simon Dehout, Frode van der Drift, Maarten Zijlstra

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Top 5 Most Impressive Tunnels | Colophon 14