You are on page 1of 16


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
Dear Ondergrondse member, by Bertie Rietema

Dear all, what was the previous academic year students we had much fun playing paintball. The
challenging, surprising and weird. In the course sun was out so the masks were sweaty, however
of Q4 some measures were lifted and we could this didn’t make it any less fun. The flag was cap-
get together more. The former first years had a tured by Team White, great job guys.
lecture a week (1 hour!) on campus and gradu-
ating students had the possibility to work at the During summer we had a photo contest with a
faculty. winner! All submitted pictures will be displayed
in this Mol and on the screen in the faculty (if we
Luckily we were able to organize our first Ge- manage to get it working ;)). Now, the holiday
odrink as a board at The Hangout, which was a is over and we can meet the new first year stu-
great success. The bartenders were busy provid- dents. Glad that you chose to join TU Delft! Dur-
ing us with beer and the snacks that appeared on ing the first day we visited Hoek van Holland and
the tables were surprisingly good. Many students Rotterdam, afterwards we met at The Hangout
saw each other and their teachers for the first where many beers were consumed. Good luck
time in real life. We really enjoyed it, we hope with your first quarter!
you did too!

Next to that we organized our first lunch lecture,

by Enginear, where over 30 students joined. The
resume check by Sentijn was also beneficial for
students we were looking for an internship or a
job! With a group of first, second and third year

Dear reader, by Laura de Haan

Welcome to the second issue of ‘de Mol’ 2021. he conducted at Deltaris in collaboration with
Luckily, the Netherlands is opening up again the engineering firms of the municipalities
and were are finally able to meet in real life of Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
during lectures and at the GeoDrinks again. Furthermore, you will find the planning
for the 3rd lustrum in the end of September.
In this issue you find an what it is like to do a
double master degree. Alumni Joost Gevaert We hope you enjoyed the summer and are look-
will tell you everything about his double mas- ing forward to hear all your stories related to
ter degree between Geo-Engineering and Ap- your holiday pictures on pages 9 and 10. See you
plied Geophysics. He tells about the planning soon at the faculty!
that is needed, but also about his amazing times
abroad and about his current job in Madrid.
Moreover, you find an article about
the collapse of an historic quay in Am-
sterdam by Mandy Korff. How did the fail-
ure happen and what can we learn from it?
Besides, Siavash Honardar presents
you a summary of his master thesis about tim-
ber piled foundations in Amsterdam, which

3 From the Board | Editorial

From the Board 3

Collapse of an Historic Quay 5

in Amsterdam

Double Master Degree 7

Summer Holiday Photos 9

Timber Piled Foundations 11 7

in Amsterdam

Lustrum Agenda 14

Collapse of an Historic Quay in Amsterdam
On September 1, 2020, part of the quay wall by Mandy Korff
along the Grimburgwal in Amsterdam collapsed.
It concerns a quay right next to a building of the
UvA (building BG2). During the collapse, cam-
era images were taken by a security camera (see, which show that the quay leans forward
and disappears into the canal. Luckily, nobody
was injured but of course it is upsetting to see
such a failure happening. Are more quays at risk?
Amsterdam has many kilometres of historic
quay walls of which it is unknown whether they Figure 1: Cross section of quay wall according to historic
are sufficiently safe in their current function. evidence (quay is built around 1875)
Various studies are currently underway, also
with staff and students of TU Delft involved. ings (Figure 3) and cross sections before, dur-
They study assessment methods, monitor- ing and after collapse. The Grimburgwal quay
ing systems and replacement methods for the collapsed in several phases; initially there was
quays. These studies all make use of knowledge a horizontal deformation of the quay and a few
of failure mechanisms of the old quay walls. days before it collapsed, holes were found in
Such old quays are usually built from masonry the paving. The quay then became detached
supported by a wooden pile foundation, with after a vertical deformation and fell out of the
or without a wooden relief floor, see Figure 1. plane towards the canal. A section of approx-
Much value can therefore be found in studying imately 25 m disappeared completely under
the cause of the collapse and the failure mech- water. The collapse has started in the eastern
anisms that have occurred in the Grimburgwal. part. The western part has been pulled along
This article summarizes the forensic engineer- and tilted as a result. A 3D reconstruction was
ing analysis of the collapse of the Grimburgwal made, of which a part is shown in Figure 2.
(GBW) as it was performed by a consortium led Step 2 Failure mechanisms
by TU Delft. The aim of the investigation was to In the second step all possible failure mecha-
find out which lessons can be learned from the nisms were determined, included the so-called
collapse of the Grimburgwal for the other quays influence factors (either contributing to the loss
in Amsterdam. The investigation was a com- of strength or to a higher than normal load).
bined effort of specialists in masonry, timber, Some of the most important mechanisms are
hydraulic engineering, monitoring and geotech- shown in Figure 4; from left till right first the
nics. The full report of the collapse (in Dutch) horizontal bending of the piles, then the rota-
can be read online on: tion of the masonry wall, failure through the
en/2021/tu-delft/grimburgwal-provides-les- floor (or sheet pile between the piles) and on
sons-for-quay-wall-renovations-amsterdam. the left horizontal sliding of the masonry from
the floor. Several potential factors influencing
The forensic engineering approach the loads were determined, amongst others:
The approach taken in this research was that incidental loads on the quay, heavy rainfall,
of forensic engineering, which means that drought, wave impact, foundation works at.
in a structured way information is gathered,
failure mechanisms are developed and com-
bined to determine the most likely cause of
events and contributing factors to the collapse.
Step 1 Data collection
In the data collection step a lot of evidence
(recent and historic) was collected, with great
help from the City of Amsterdam itself. Some
interesting sources where the old historic
information on the contract from 1875, the
camera images, canal bed measurements), in-
SAR measurements and the study ofthe re-
mains of the quay above water as well as un- Figure 2: Part of the 3D animation of the collapse, including
der water. We made this into timelines, draw the location of the cracks
5 Faculty Corner
Figure 3: Front view of the wall; in black the situation prior to
collapse and in red the situation found after collapse, including

neighbouring building, replacement work of the

street on top of the quay. The following most
relevant loss of strength factors were identified: Figure 5: Results of the stress in the piles depending on the
damage to masonry from ship impact, deep- depth of the canal, for different pile diameters, 1st and 2nd
er bottom of the canal bed and environmental order calculations and strength of the timber.
degradation mechanisms of masonry or timber. May and August 2020, although this repaving
degradation mechanisms of masonry or timber was necessary as a result of the deformation of
the quay that occurred before. After determin-
Step 3 Combination of information and failure ing the most like contributing factors to the col-
mechanisms lapse, measures where identified for the city of
In step 3 calculations were made to determine Amsterdam to implement also for other quays.
the most likely (combination) of failure mech-
anisms based on the information collected in Conclusions and recommendations
step 1. Calculations were made regarding the This assessment has shown that the geometry
overturning mechanism, which turned out to of the quay played an important role in the sen-
be (just) stable for most combinations of loads. sitivity of the quay to deepening of the canal.
Other important calculations were made with a This resulted in measures / follow-up actions
model describing the geotechnical and struc- being recommended related to the checking of
tural behaviour of the foundation of the quay, other places with soil erosion of the canal bot-
with the piles and the floor in timber and the tom, only two rows of piles as foundation and/
soil and masonry on top of the floor. These cal- or damage of the masonry in the form of cracks.
culations were performed by a model devel- Furthermore, it was found that inSAR meas-
oped by one of the team members (Mart Jan urement provided a good insight in the weak-
Hemel, TUD and AMS) using a combination of ness of the quay wall section as it spotted set-
elastic and plastic behaviour for the piles and tlement of the street behind the quay already
soil. As it was clear from step 1 that the bot- long before the collapse. It seems there for
tom of the canal was deepened (most likely by possible to reduce the risk of collapse by pay-
boats), the response of the foundation of the ing systematic attention to settlement behind
quay to deepening of the canal was calculated. the quays, because this may indicate horizontal

As it was not 100% sure whether the quay ex- deformation of the quay, an indicator of pos-
isted of a foundation with two pile rows or with sible collapse. Also, it is advised to perform
three pile rows, both options were modelled. measurements (preferably horizontally on the
Based on these and other calculations, the fail- quays, but also vertically) and to investigate
ure mechanisms that contributed to the col- the relationship between the deformation and
lapse were identified. The main failure mech- possible failure (numerical or experimental).
anism was the horizontal bending of the piles In this study, it has proved possible to ob-
as a result of a locally deepening of the canal tain an impression of the stability of the quay
followed by breaking of the quay. The existing using various calculation methods. Further
cracks reduced the possibility of redistribution development and validation of models for
of forces in the quay in the longitudinal direc- combined calculation of the entire struc-
tion, so that the stronger parts (with three rows ture (floor, masonry, piles and soil) is neces-
of piles) were no longer able to take over the sary, because they are not yet commonplace
load. The trigger (the last push) for the collapse
was probably the renewal of the pavement in The research team is grateful for the opportunity the City of
Amsterdam has provided to study this collapsed structure. The
full team for this research project consisted of: Dr. Mandy Ko-
rff (project lead, TUD/Deltares), MSc. Mart-Jan Hemel (AMS/
TUD), Dr. Dirk Jan Peters, prof. Bas Jonkman, Dr. Rita Espos-
ito, prof JW van de Kuilen, Dr. Geert Ravenshorst, MSc. Paul
Korswagen, MSc Alfonso Prosperi (all TUD), Msc. Maarten
de Groot (SkyGeo), Patrick Stoppelman (SkyGeo) , Dr. Pante-
Figure 4: Failure mechanisms for the quay wall lis Karamitopoulos (AMS/TUD) amd Dr. Henk Wolfert (AMS).

Faculty Corner 6
Double Master Degree
by Joost Geveart
were going to take a little longer and I simply
really liked studying. I especially loved the com-
bination of studying challenging theoretical con-
cepts, fieldwork and going abroad. Therefore, I
chose the master’s in Applied Geophysics as a
first master’s, which brought me to the ETH Zürich
and the RWTH Aachen after a first semester in
Delft. As the second master’s I had to choose
a master’s from a different faculty with overlap
with Applied Geophysics, in order to be eligible
for a double master’s degree. Geo-Engineer-
ing seemed a good fit. Which it absolutely was!

Geophysics is most well-known from the oil

& gas industry, but as you (should ;D) know it
Master thesis fieldwork also has very interesting applications in Geo-
technical and Geo-environmental Engineering.
As a short introduction: I am Joost, was raised As such it was not too hard to put together a
in Goes, Zeeland and decided to study Ap- package of interesting courses. However, I did
plied Earth Sciences in Delft as my bachelor’s. have to do a few courses from the Civil Engi-
I then combined the joint master’s in Applied neering bachelor’s to obtain a master’s diplo-
Geophysics with the master’s in Geo-Engi- ma in Civil Engineering. Also, the administrative
neering, found a Spanish girlfriend in Zürich side of obtaining a double degree did prove to
and moved to Madrid in January 2020. There complicate things a bit, but with the support of
I survived the lock down, learned Spanish and study advisor Pascal de Smidt those administra-
since October 2020 I work as a Geotechnical tive issues vanished like snow in front of the sun.
and Automation Engineer at Arup in Madrid.
Getting back to what I learned during my double
One of the main reasons that I decided to do degree and during my first half a year of my pro-
a double master’s degree was that I was done fessional life: Why are geophysics useful in the
with my bachelor’s after three years, my friends civil industry and why do we hear so little about it?

Geta 2018: Mountainbiking

7 Alumni Corner
Putting it simply with geophysics you can
make a relatively cheap image of the subsur-
face without intrusion. If these subsurface im-
ages were combined with geotechnical and
geo-environmental data, then our subsurface
models would be much more accurate, we
would reduce uncertainty and we could fur-
ther improve our simulations and designs.

Nonetheless, we are not there yet. Currently, for

example a Seismic Refraction Tomography (SRT)
or Time Domain ElectroMagnetic (TDEM) survey
might be done to find the depth to bedrock and
then these data end up as cross-sections in some Geta 2017: Italy
appendix of some report. Furthermore, many en-
gineers who are no experts in geophysics don’t
understand how to interpret these cross-sections Behold, what I am saying here is in its infant
and will thus not care about them. Therefore, a shoes, but it’s not just fluff and buzzwords. I am
next step would be to include such SRT or TDEM working on digitizing and managing geotech-
cross-sections in a digital 3D ground model, nical data, building digital 3D ground models,
such that the geophysical data can be viewed in automating simulation based on such models
their context and how they complement the rest (e.g. with Plaxis) and the value of geophysics is
of our subsurface data. This might sound obvi- recognized more and more. For example, EM-
ous, but digital 3D ground models are more of erald Geomodelling is a Norwegian Geotechni-
an exception than a rule now (some exceptions: cal Institute (NGI) spin-off that is commercial-
offshore and tunnels). Then, once we start to ap- izing the Machine Learning based connection
preciate the value of geophysical data, we can of TDEM and geotechnical data to build digital
start to not only include geophysical cross-sec- 3D ground models. What a time to be alive!
tions, but also build our ground models based
on both geophysical and geotechnical data by
connecting these data with Machine Learning.


Geta 2018: Italy

Alumni Corner 8
Summer Holiday Photos

From top to bottom (left side): From top to bottom (right side):
Joost Dick, Auke Barnhoorn and Jur Peerden, Niels Walrave and
Mauritz Feldbrugge Shlagha Thapa
9 summer photos
From top to bottom (left ide): From top to bottom (rigth
2x Edin Memic, Shlagha Thapa side): Fabian Campos (winner
and Daan van Nie of the photo contest), Leon
Vrielink and Bertie Rietema

10 summer photos
Timber Piled Foundations in Amsterdam
by Siavash Honardar
What’s the first thing that pops into your head
when you hear the word ‘Amsterdam’? The
beautiful scenery of the canals? The incredibly
unique and eye-catching architecture? The
somehow chaotic yet functional interaction
between bicycles and pedestrians? The over-
whelming number of tourists?
These were some of the things that popped
into my head when I thought about Amster- Figure 2: Typical timber pile foundation system in Am-
dam, till I started my thesis on the geotech- sterdam
nical bearing capacity of timber piles in the incredibly complex and challenging to tackle.
city. For a duration of 9 months I conducted That being said, the lithological sphere of the
research at Deltares, in collaboration with the city can be normalized into a simple soil profile,
engineering firms of the municipalities of Rot- governed by formations deposited during the
terdam and Amsterdam. This research focused Holocene and Pleistocene time periods. This
on analysing and understanding the pile-soil generalized profile can be seen in Figure 1. The
interaction of tapered timber piles, load tested so-called ‘first’ and ‘second’ sand layers of Am-
in the lithological sphere of Amsterdam. sterdam are results of the Boxtel formation and
Timber piles have been used in Amsterdam as were deposited in the mid-Pleistocene. The first
a means to create foundations for structures sand layer is particularly of significance when
since before the 17th century. An incredibly addressing the bearing capacity of timber piles.
large portion of bridges, quay walls and old This layer acts as the bearing layer for these
buildings have wooden piles as foundations. piles and traditionally, timber piles were insert-
As a consequence of several processes, such ed somewhere between 25 to 50 centimeters in
as aging and deterioration of these piles, to this layer. The typical timber piled foundation
as well as changes in infrastructure through system can be seen in Figure 2.
the years, the need to assess the safety and As part of the ‘Structural Safety of Bridges’
integrity of these foundations has risen. In program (Programma Constructieve Veiligheid
order to assess the safety of these structure, Bruggen (PCVB)), an assessment framework is
the municipality of Amsterdam has formulat- developed to specifically tackle the safety of
ed an assessment program titled ‘Structural bridges. This program, namely Toetsingskader
Safety of Bridges’. As part of this program, an Amsterdamse Bruggen (TAB), is divided into
experimental framework is set up concerned two aspects. One of these aspects focuses on
with the geotechnical capacity of timber piled the evaluation of the geotechnical parameters
foundations. The aim of this framework is to affecting the behavior of timber piles. As to
evaluate the bearing capacity of foundations achieve this overall goal, a series of new timber
under 250 bridges and 200 kilometers of quay piles were made available to the project to be
walls in Amsterdam. tested in several settings. 27 of these piles were
The underground space of Amsterdam is instrumented with fiber optic sensors, which en-
ables users to obtain continuous measurements
of strain along the length of the pile. The piles
were then installed into the ground at differ-
ent depths in a testing ground at Overamstel,
Amsterdam. The site conditions in terms of soil
profile are incredibly homogeneous and repre-
sentative of the city itself. The piles were then
load tested in compression. A load cell on top of
the pile heads measures inserted loads while the
fiber optic sensors record the strains developed
in the pile as a response to loading. Additionally
LVDT sensors were installed on top of each pile
Figure 1: Typical soil profile and formations for Amster- to monitor the displacement of the pile head.
dam This setup can be seen in Figure 3.
11 Thesis Talk
Figure 3: Pile load test set-up in Overamstel, Amsterdam Figure 5: Determination of α_p factor
(Credits: Rodriaan Spruit, Amsterdam 2019)

Now you can imagine that upon completion capacity of a pile ( Q_T) is expressed as a sum-
of these experiments, a gold mine of data was mation of these two entities. Through the al-
made available to the people involved in the pha-based method (Q_T=q_(c,avg)∙α_p∙A+Σq_
project. The optic sensors delivered discrete c∙α_s∙O∙ΔL), the alpha factors can be back
readings of strain at a spatial frequency of 25 calculated (Example in Figure 5). This provides
centimeters, which in retrospect, is incredibly us with an opportunity to estimate the bear-
precise (compared to 14 meter long piles). The ing capacity of these piles based on practical
strain readings enabled us to not only derive the data and experience, ultimately leading to a
displacement of the pile base but to derive the more representative evaluation of the safety of
load distribution along the entire length of the structures founded on these piles. The impact
pile for each load step. and importance of this research program is
Figure 4 shows the response of one of the piles difficult to sum up in a short article. My in-
throughout the load test. Here F_His indicative volvement in the project was an incredible
of the load applied on the pile head and F_(b_0 experience for me and I learned a lot. However
) notates the load at the pile base. The quan- this research is far from over and I only man-
tity F_(b_res ) is representative of the loads at aged to touch up on the tip of an ice berg.
the pile base including ‘residual loads’, which More and more experiments have been con-
are locked in loads developed in the pile as a ducted on these piles and the research pro-
consequence of pile installation. In the bottom gram is continuing in the coming years. In fact,
part of Figure 4 the pile head displacement other aspects such as degradation of these
(u_H) and pile base displacement (u_b) are also piles due to biological processes is another
illustrated in time. topic that has been tackled and continues to
Having continuous load distributions through- require further research. Other aspects are
out the piles, the bearing capacity of each pile also being looked into; such as the impact of
could be derived in terms of base resistance climate change on the infrastructure and fabric
(Q_b) and shaft friction (Q_s). For each of these of the city in relation to structures founded on
entities, the so-called ‘Alpha’ factor can then timber piles. Overall, I can’t emphasize enough
be determined. The total resistance or bearing how interesting it was for me to work on this
project and I can’t wait to hear more about the
new developments within it!
My full thesis is available on the repository of
the university and the other parties involved
are mentioned in the following. I hope you
found this short piece informative and inter-
esting. Feel free to contact me if you’re inter-
ested in more details!

Figure 4: Pile response to loading

Thesis Talk 12

Win 2.500 euro en

de eeuwige roem
Inschrijven kan vanaf nu tot en met 24 september 2021
Voor meer informatie kunt u contact opnemen met Ellen van Eijk: of 085-4862410

Winnaar conceptueel Thijs Niemeijer (links)
Winnaar techniek - Carolina Lantinga (rechts)

Thijs Niemeijer
Stichting A.M. Schreuders reikt om
het jaar de Schreudersstudieprijs
uit aan een twee studenten die zijn
afgestudeerd aan een HBO of universiteit
op het gebied van ondergronds bouwen.
Met de prijs wil de stichting vernieuwend
ondergronds ruimtegebruik stimuleren, om zo
een bijdrage te leveren aan het oplossen van
ruimtelijke problemen in ons dichtbebouwde land.
27 SEPT. - 1 OCT. 2021

Lustrum into Depth

Scratching the Surface

27 12.45 - 13.30

14.45 - 17.45

Into the Depth
12.30 - 17.15 SYMPOSIUM

17.15 - 18.30 DRINKS


Not Bad Atoll
8.00 - 20.00 WADDEN & MARKERMEER

30 Medieval Miners


The Core



Contact Circulation: 250
“De Ondergrondse“
p/a Stevinweg 1, Room 0.0.43 Editors: Leon Vrielink, Laura de Haan and Jur Peerden
2628 CN Delft

T | 015 - 278 2778

E |
W |

Colophon 14

You might also like