Dredging Up a Solution for Geotextile Tubes

August 6, 2015

Zeru Kiffle, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been awarded a fellowship grant from the Geosynthetic Institute for his research proposal “Finite Element Modeling of Geotextile Tubes Stacking in Dewatering Projects.” Geotextile tubes are long, wide tubes made of a permeable material used in dredging. In dredging, a slurry of polluted soil and water is pumped up from the bottom of a body of water and into these tubes. As the contaminated slurry fills the tubes, the water escapes through the tube’s skin, while the soil and contaminates are contained within. This technology has been used in projects like the cleanup of Onondaga Lake in Syracuse. In some cases, when space is limited, geotextile tubes are stacked on top of one another. This has led to instances where they have ruptured and become unstable. With this grant, Kiffle will analyze the factors that contribute to such failures by using ABAQUS modeling software to simulate field conditions in Professor Shobha Bhatia’s lab at Syracuse University. Additionally, he will conduct actual field testing in New Jersey where 20,000 cubic yards of river sediment will be dredged and dewatered using geotextile tubes. Kiffle’s research will contribute to a better understanding of multilayer stacking of geotextile tubes using finite element models, as well as the effect of contained material on stacking stability. The ultimate objective is to create tool that environmental engineers can use to safely predict the stability of stacking geotextile tubes,” says Kiffle, “Receiving this grant has been an encouraging win and I’m grateful to be able to contribute to the industry’s use of these valuable tools.”