The Geosynthetic Institute (GSI) has awarded a $5,000 Fellowship Grant to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Engineering (SOE) doctoral candidate Pourya Kargar for his research proposal “Investigating Seismic Response of Geocell Reinforced Retaining Walls with Low Plasticity Backfills Using Nonlinear Dynamic Analysis.”
The GSI is a consortium of 71 organizations worldwide involved with geosynthetics. All types of polymeric geosynthetic materials are involved. The organizations include federal and state governmental agencies, facility owners, designers, consultants, quality control and quality assurance organizations, testing laboratories, resin and additive suppliers, manufacturers, manufacturer’s representatives and installation contractors.
Kargar is a student in SIUE’s Cooperative Program in Engineering Science, working under the guidance of Abdolreza Osouli, PhD, in the Department of Civil Engineering.
Osouli noted the national award promotes SIUE’s name among highly research-intensive universities. “Plus, Pourya will be able to focus on his research with this award and be regarded as an expert in the field of liquefaction and stability of retaining structures,” Osouli said.
Because the GSI Fellowship is from one of the largest industries in civil engineering, the award is significant for Kargar. “This award endorses the significance and practicality of our research,” he said. “Also, it helps remove the financial limitations in the way of reaching my research’s goal.”
Kargar’s research focuses on retaining walls being integral elements for various projects, such as roads, highways, bridges, railroads and buildings. “Depending on the ground and construction conditions, several kinds of retaining walls may be used for these projects,” he said. “Geocell-reinforced retaining structures could be an ideal alternative to the regular retaining structures because of numerous advantages such as cost-effectiveness, speed of construction and environmental aspects.
“By focusing on the dynamic response of these retaining walls under seismic loadings, our research provides valuable insight for geotechnical engineers to be able to compare this alternative with conventional retaining walls. Therefore, this type of geosynthetic structure could be recognized as a practical solution in many retaining projects with great confidence.”
A native of Kermanshah, Iran, Kargar has been honored for academic achievement throughout his SIUE career. “Pourya is not only talented and dedicated to his research, but also has a motivation to excel without limitations,” Osouli said. “He also is extremely eager to learn from other pioneers and follow the advice of mentors in achieving these recognitions on the national stage.”
Kargar received the International Association of Foundation Drilling Ohio Valley Chapter Thomas A. Buzek Scholarship for the 2019-2020 academic year.
In 2018, Kargar received the GeoConfluence Research Scholarship from the St. Louis Chapter of the Geo-Institute of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The scholarship was provided to support outstanding practical research in the field of geotechnical/geoenvironmental engineering, particularly benefitting the Midwest. His research focused on 3D Limit Equilibrium Analysis of the Oso 2014 landslide, one of the deadliest landslides in United States history.
Photo: Pourya Kargar, SIUE School of Engineering graduate student and recipient of the Geosynthetic Institute Fellowship grant.