Transforming Robust Design Concept into a Novel Geotechnical Design Tool

This research transforms mature Robust Design concept into a novel geotechnical design tool. Robust Design, which originated in the field of Industrial Engineering aims to make the product of a process insensitive to (or robust against) “hard-to-control” input parameters (called “noise factors”), by adjusting “easy-to-control” parameters (called “design parameters”). In this research, the principles of Robust Design are tailored to formulate a new Robust Geotechnical Design methodology for achieving design robustness and reliability at a reasonable cost.

To demonstrate the transformation of Robust Design methodology into a computer-aided geotechnical design tool, we choose to focus on braced excavations (or supported excavations) in urban areas, an engineering problem that stands to benefit from this proposed advancement. Robust Geotechnical Design can be used during the braced excavation design phase to reduce the effects of “noise” factors and thus, reduce or eliminate the chance of excavation failure and excessive ground deformations. Robust Geotechnical Design can not only help protecting the adjacent infrastructures during construction, but also yield more economical and efficient geotechnical design solutions. Therefore, the proposed research, which transforms the concepts of Robust Design into novel geotechnical design tool, is expected to have a broad effect on current geotechnical design practice.