How Cornell Engineers responded to a challenge from a group of eight year olds

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Cornell Engineers knows a bit about cyclones and their devastating effect on communities. So when we were asked by Year 3 and 4 class at Derrimut Primary School, an Inquiry-based government school in the Western Suburbs of Victoria that is learning about physics and natural disasters, we were quite keen to help.

There are currently 765 students enrolled and 49 nationalities across the year levels at Derrimut Primary.

The 3/4 Gallery 1 Community, consisting of 70 students, have been learning about physics as part of their Inquiry unit. The students have been exploring both simple and complex machines in the past and are now applying their knowledge on a global scale to discover how engineers use these tools to respond to issues around the world (such as natural disasters). How impressive!! Continue reading How Cornell Engineers responded to a challenge from a group of eight year olds

SpaceGass Training Videos

I found this series of SpaceGass training videos on YouTube and thought they were worth sharing. They’re getting a bit old now (2010) but that’s the version we use at Cornell Engineers – and I suspect this version is still in use in quite a few small structural engineering consultancies.

SpaceGass is an awesome 3d structural engineering analysis program. Buy it at the SpaceGass website. Continue reading SpaceGass Training Videos

What is Slab Heave

What is slab heave and how does it affect houses?

This is our video on slab heave.

G’day. I’m Matt Cornell from Cornell

Today I’m answering a question about slab heave.

Before a house is built on a site soil moisture conditions are fairly uniform across the site.

That changes when a house is built.

The uniform soil moisture conditions are interrupted by the house.

Slab heave occurs in clay soils when the soil moisture conditions under the house are no longer uniform.

When the soil around the outside of the house becomes wet the clay soils absorb moisture and expand.

The expansive forces are large enough to lift a house.

Under the house stays relatively dry.

There is a transition zone between the wet and dry soils as soil moisture transfers sideways.

When the soil around the outside of the house becomes dry the clay soils release moisture and shrink.

The ground surface moves down and the soil under the house is relatively wetter compared to the dry
soils around the outside of the house.

Again there’s the transition zone between dry soils and wetter soils as moisture transitions from under the house towards the dry zone.

Soil moisture conditions aren’t only affected by changing seasons.

Other sources of soil moisture changes are garden irrigation, broken pipes, poor drainage and tree roots.

This has been Matt Cornell from Cornell Engineers talking about slab heave.

Don’t forget to check out our website for more information and to follow us on Facebook.

Just a reminder:

  • Not everyone who thinks they have slab heave does.
  • Not everyone who thinks they have other problems does.
  • Only use experienced structural engineers and geotechnicians to diagnose and fix house movement.

Call Cornell Engineers for more information about slab heave and how to fix it.