Basset Farmhouse, Basset Road, Treleigh, Cornwall TR16 4BE
Tel: (10209) 314489, Mobile: (07788) 440462, Fax: (01209) 314489
Problem Solving for Civil Engineers
After nearly 25 years of research into and design of bridges and similar civil engineering structures, the talents of Keith Withey are now available to a wider clientele through Civil Solutions. Keith has obtained a reputation for being able to develop solutions which are somewhat different from the run-of-the-mill. The design of an edge beam held in place with soft ground anchors to supplant alternative designs of massive retaining walls or embankment regrading had the potential for saving millions. Conversion of the failed walls of a box culvert to cantilevers, while over-spanning with a prestressed deck supported on piles enabled a road to remain open during strengthening, which otherwise might have required extensive temporary works.
Keith’s experience of alternative exotic materials (composite materials) enables the range of potential solutions to be increased. These modern materials can often make an almost impossible strengthening problem much more tenable, as the low level of intrusiveness of the application of the materials, and the speed at which they can be applied, can solve many of the problems of strengthening structures which cannot be closed for any significant length of time because of the importance of a route. A recent seminar in London released the first universal design guide for composites. Keith was a corresponding member of the Concrete Society group which produced the guide.
Reinforced concrete was thought to have an indefinite lifetime. It has now become obvious that much of the concrete cast in the last fifty years is not going to live up to the original expectations, often due to low cover, poor compaction, or local poor quality. Major cutting out and repair is invariably disruptive and expensive, and long term prognosis is often not good. Cathodic protection (use of an impressed voltage to reduce the chance of corrosion) can slow down the rate of corrosion to sufficiently low levels, that the design life of a structure can be attained, despite the onset of premature degradation caused by corrosion.
The research background means that Keith is good at initial evaluation of ‘what if’ problems. Many areas of the UK have problems with assessing the strength of stone bridges. Keith is undertaking a feasibility study for Cornwall County Council, supported by several other County Councils, to evaluate methods of enhancing the assessed strength of stone.
Finally, Keith’s experience of running a multi-user data logging system (RSX) while developing the software for instrumentation and control of large scale bridge deck