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Blog Post #3 – Trainee Geo-Environmental Engineer Cian Flynn

Posted on 17th February 2022

I am a student from the University of Portsmouth studying for a BEng Engineering Geology and Geotechnics…

“Reflecting on the last several months of this placement, my confidence and skill have greatly developed in logging where I am able to carry out several jobs independently whilst following specific requirements from the job engineers. Special requirements can include particular sampling for waste acceptance criteria tests, root sampling and photoionizing detection for measuring volatile gases.

At the end of October, I attended a specialised geotechnical course for logging at Equipe Training Limited run by Professor David Norbury. Here we were updated on the British Standards of soil identification and description in accordance with BS5930:2015 +A1 :2020 and BS E ISO 14688:2018.For three days I assisted in the logging room on a special rotary job that drilled 2x30m of cores into the Lewes Nodular Chalk Formation. This required me to adapt to rock descriptions which first appeared challenging and highly detailed.

Practice and familiarity with what was necessary to describe the chalk from window samples allowed me to progress with ease soon after. Additional features that were required to be recorded included fracture spacing, angles, fracture infill, texture and shape of the fracture faces.

It was essential to record the features to aid in establishing the strength and behaviour of the rock. I was also taught how to test the chalks density via blows from a hammer and nail or the ease of peeling with a knife. Core samples were also taken to be used for uniaxial compressive tests.  After several weeks of working more in the logging room, I have found myself spending more time working in the office with other colleagues. I have been introduced to more software, such as UK DCP 3.1 that allows me to convert field data from dynamic cone penetration tests into graph data that will be used later in main investigation reports.

Other duties have been learning how to fill out a desk study following guidance from my superiors.

 

I have also assisted in the preparation of trial pit soak away letter reports which compile in-situ test results into a concise report for our client. I have also learned how to create site specific RAMS documentation. This consists gathering all necessary information to outline the parameters of the job with emergency information and contacts, sampling specifications, installation of monitoring wells for water or gas, essential PPE and welfare facilities.

After several visits on site with accompanying engineers for site walkovers and trial pit soak aways testing, I was tasked to attend site works over three days where I would represent Soils Limited. This allowed me to put my prior experience to practice with helping assist with site works including plate loading tests, topographical surveying and windowless sampling.I was soon asked to join another overnight work before Christmas where I joined with one of the drilling crews to a job in Bristol for two days. I aided in water sampling which was later to be tested for mercury and assisted the driller with the window sampling. I was taught the basic functions of the Premier rig and how to be safe whilst the hole is being drilled.

With every month I am gaining valuable experience and learning more about how ground investigation is conducted, while I am also developing wide range of skills that I can take and develop into my future career.