Cooperation between an American technology based company and Russian Federal University
A modern sophisticated laboratory for soil testing is now installed in the Northern Arctic Federal University (Russia, Arkhangelsk)
“The soil testing lab equipment that I have installed in Arkhangelsk is modern high-tech equipment which will be used for teaching basic and advanced soil tests, as well as for research. This equipment will enable NArFU ‘s lecturers to teach students the fundamentals of soil mechanics by measuring soil properties such as compressibility, strength, and permeability. The test results are very important for the design of civil engineering structures such as foundations, roads, and tunnels. These measured soil parameters allow a safe and economical design which saves time and money”, said Dr. Rachid Hankour, VP and director of lab systems from Geocomp Corporation.
Dr. Rachid Hankour has completed the installation of this modern equipment in the new lab at the Federal university in Arkhangelsk. In addition, he provided training to the lecturers of the Institute of building and architecture of the NArFU. These lecturers will be gaining more experience in computer controlled soil tests and in turn will teach incoming students.
Similar test equipment was installed in three other Russian cities; Tyumen, Yekaterinburg, and another Federal University in Krasnoyarsk.
“Earlier we had to do all research tests manually. We applied loads on soil samples and recorded data using a stop watch and a dial gage”, said Alexey Korshunov, senior lecturer of the department of engineering geology. “Now all results are recorded in real time and automatically displayed on the computer in the form of tables and graphs. It is even possible to check and interact on the progress of a test remotely through the Internet”.
The laboratory of the NArFU is unique in Russia in the sense that it has cyclic testing capabilities to investigate soil liquefaction due to dynamic loads such as earthquakes. “The load and displacement control frames in the lab allows us to conduct soil tests both under static and dynamic loading conditions. This research is necessary for the design of roads, for example. Such research is conducted not only in Russia, but also in many countries of Europe, especially in its Eastern part”, explains Alexey Korshunov.
The collaboration between Geocomp Corporation and the NArFU will most likely continue after the installation of the equipment. “We have good experience in partnering with universities. This creates a win-win situation. The students can investigate something we are interested in, or improve equipment performance while they complete their research projects to earn their degrees. If students get interesting results, we joint publish them in technical journals with students as lead authors. We would very much like to establish a close relationship with NArFU. During this training, I could see the excitement, interest and enthusiasm of both lecturers and students about the new equipment and future possibilities. Sometimes we stayed late in the lab or I even had to remind them to take a break during the training!” said Dr. Rachid Hankour.