Chris Woods is Vice-President for the Virginia-based dynamic compaction specialty contractor, Densification, Inc. Prior to joining Densification, Chris spent over thirteen years as a geotechnical consultant practicing throughout the eastern seaboard of the United States, as well as overseas. Chris earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering Degree from Purdue University and his Master’s Degree in Geotechnical Engineering from Virginia Tech. He has over 20 years of experience in geotechnical engineering, with a particular specialization in ground improvement; he has additionally been involved with the design of shallow and deep foundation systems, evaluation of earth slope stability, design of retaining walls, geotechnical instrumentation monitoring, and extensive construction oversight. Chris has been an active member of the ASCE and the Geo-Institute, serving as a member of the Geo-Strata Editorial Board since 2015, and as a board member of the Soil Improvement Committee. Chris has also been involved in several initiatives with the Deep Foundations Institute (DFI), including Co-Technical Chair of the 2022 DFI International Conference, and is an active member of the ASCE Foundation Standards Committee.
During the past 40 years, ground improvement has become an important tool for the geotechnical community, as the number of sites with suitable bearing soils become fewer and farther between. Similarly, as time moves on, more and more sites come into focus for development that have received any number of various landfill materials, be it municipal solid waste (MSW) from households, construction and demolition (C&D) debris from construction activities, or simply soil materials exported from another site. As a result, the challenges to engineers and contractors to design and construct new developments within budget and on time continue to increase.
Dynamic compaction is a ground improvement technique that has been used more frequently to improve in-place landfill materials to a point where vertical construction can proceed without excessive long-term settlements. On sites where dynamic compaction is used, alternative methods of post-improvement evaluation have become more common, given the number of below-grade obstructions at a site that typically prohibit standard drilling approaches. Embankment load testing, plate load testing, and where applicable, post-improvement drilling are all techniques that have been used successfully to evaluate the effectiveness of dynamic compaction programs, as outlined by the three case studies discussed herein.
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