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Old 12-23-2017, 11:19 PM   #21
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I forgot to mention a very important part of my story. The lab techs were following ASTM and AASHTO to the letter. What that means is they were doing everything by the book. I would have loved to have them all in my lab.

End of Story.

The following is for you engineers out there.

When I met with the Daewoo execs and the US Army Corps of Engineers, (COE) people you could literally feel the tension and animosity between the two groups. All the COE people were on one side of the table and Daewoo on the other. I also found out (just before the meeting; Oh shit!) that they had brought in an "expert" before me, who was unable to solve the dilemma. I read his report and his findings were the same as mine! What do I say now?!

The problem was not the lab. I knew that's what the Daewoo execs wanted me to say and it was true. As I started to give them my findings I could tell by the look and body language of the COE guys that, that was not going to fix the standoff. So I threw in a "BUT! I did find some deficiencies!". The army corps guys all smiled and pulled up to the table. It was so funny. Now they're thinking that I'm not just a professional hired yes man. The Daewoo guys looked at me in horror. I threw out some bullshit stuff, just enough to make the COE happy. I told them that the deficiencies had been remedied and that the lab was now running by the book. I knew that appeasing Daewoo was not going to fix this, so I didn't care about Daewoo at this point. One of the smart COE guys saw through it and asked "what do you think is really the problem?" They were having road failures all over the new highway because the COE was requiring the Daewoo lab to use out of date test procedures, that work most of the time but not in this case with the type of soil. The test procedures had disastrous consequences on the stability of the road. I told the COE guy that I was not an engineer and therefore not qualified to answer that question. Also I was not provided all of the technical information regarding the road. He said "common, you have been doing this a long time and technicians get to know this stuff pretty well so give me your thoughts". I hesitated and squirmed around in my seat and finally told them what I thought and the looks on their faces was just like they had been punched in the stomach. Because it meant many more millions of dollars to fix and continue fixing the failures. Of course they new that the failures had to be fixed but they wanted Daewoo to pay for it. Anyways, the head COE guy leaned over to another fellow and told him to release Daewoo's money. Oh ya baby! I just earned my money. After that you would have thought that Daewoo would have been ecstatic but no!? At least not the guy that hired me. He was mad because he didn't agree with my assessment of the problem. I said who cares you got your money and you aren't responsible for the failures. Go figure. Anyways, the lab was vindicated and I got paid. That's all I cared about because that's what I was hired to do. I also think that there was so much animosity between Daewoo and the COE that he wanted me to just tell them that Daewoo was right and they were wrong. That would have not solved a thing except to massage some egos.

The Technical Stuff.

When you build a road or any kind of pad for a building etc.. You have to compact the soil. You don't just roll over it a few times with a vibratory roller (sheeps foot) and call it good. You have to take a sample of the soil to a geotechnical lab to determine the maximum density and optimum water content of that soil type. It's called a compaction test and it's done in a 4" or 6" diameter mold, depending on the amount of gravel. If the soil has gravel in it you have to do what's called a Rock Correction. Performing the rock correction using the old method actually changes the natural grading (gradation) of the material. The way the old procedure is performed, is to replace the gravel that is retained on the 3/4" sieve with the same weight of gravel that passes the 3/4" sieve and is retained on the #4 (about 1/4") sieve. By doing that the natural gradation of the soil is changed. That's why they came up with a calculated method. By changing the natural grading of the soil the maximum density and optimum moisture content is not accurate for that material.

Now the field technicians (inspectors) have an inaccurate value that they use to determine the relative compaction of the compacted fill in the road.

The process is to excavate a few feet of material. How many feet is determined by the Geotechnical Engineer based on other lab tests, (in this case CBR). They mix the soil with water to bring it to it's optimum moisture content. Then the contractor starts to place the soil in 6" to 12" placements (lifts). They compact the soil with a vibratory roller. The way that the inspector (field technician) determines the relative compaction (based on the laboratory compaction test) is with a machine. The machine is called a Nuclear Densometer (nuke gauge). The inspector drives a rod, creating a 12" deep by 1/2" diameter hole in the compacted fill. A probe from the nuke gauge is inserted to the bottom of the hole. The tip of the probe has a radioactive source. In the machine on the surface is a geiger counter. The machine is calibrated to give a density based on the amount of radiation that goes from the probe source through the soil to the machine. The fewer the counts the more dense the soil is. This field density is divided by the maximum density determined by the lab. The result is the percent compaction. For roadways the requirement it is usually 95% as determined by the engineer. But that percent compaction is based on the lab test that was wrong due to the old rock correction method that was used.

i wanted to find out what the actual relative compaction of the highway was, so I had the lab rerun the compaction test using the current rock correction procedure. The result was 11 pounds lower maximum density, which changed the relative compaction from 95% to 85%. It's no wonder why they were getting failures. A highway compacted to 85% relative compaction is not going to hold up to heavy traffic.

After that Daewoo had my lab run duplicate testing with there lab for several months during the repair of the highway. We actually found some discrepancies from the compaction testing. They were getting slightly higher densities than my lab. They were running them by hand and we were using a compaction machine. We checked ourselves by running them by hand and found the Daewoo lab was right! I told you that they were a good lab. So we found a deficiency in my lab. We calibrated our machine but still got the same results. We did some research in to it but I don't remember enough to go in to it.

It's not uncommon to have problems with geotechnical projects on the Islands. The volcanic soils there can behave in unusual ways. An old engineers told me about a project in the South Pacific or Micronesia. They just started clearing a site. They had heavy equipment clearing the site and getting it ready to build on. At the end of the day they parked the excavators and dozers etc onsite and left. When they came back the next day most of the equipment had sunk so far that they had to dig it out. That gets into pore pressure dissipation and soil mechanics beyond my understanding. Now days there are geotechnical companies in Hawaii and probably on other islands. They have a much better understanding of the way that volcanic soils behave than the companies on the mainland that were used before they were any on the islands.

Daewoo did not have me sign a non disclosure agreement so what I'm telling you is public knowledge.
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Old 12-24-2017, 12:17 PM   #22
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Palau is one of the best diving destinations in the world. One of the problems they have is tourism overwhelming their environment but they need tourism for the economy. From what I have read over the years, Chinese visitors are a big part of their economy but the Chinese can be rude and destroy the sites the came to see.

Palau just instituted a tourist pledge, https://www.cntraveler.com/story/pal...he-environment to try to manage/minimize the problem.

The area of China we visited had some very odd traffic laws/regulations/culture.

One rule/regulation/law was that if one changed lane you honked one time. As a result there was all sorts of noise as people changed lanes and honked. We were told that a mayor in a nearby locality ordered people to stop the horn honk when changing lanes to make it a bit quieter.

If one was crossing the street, one did NOT look at the traffic. If one looked at the traffic, they, the pedestrian, lost the right of way and vehicles now had the right of way. Sooo, to cross a street, you did not look but of course you did from the corner of your eyes. Twas crazy but it worked.

We were riding a bus to the big city one day and when returning "home" I saw a lady driving a car stopped at an intersection. She was very obviously NOT looking at oncoming traffic by looking straight ahead but still looking at the oncoming traffic from the corner of her eye. At the very last minute, only a few second before the bus was at her intersection, she pulled right out in front of the bus! The bus driver honked his horn ONE time, and moved into the other lane like nothing had happened. And of course NOTHING had happened since this was the way they handled traffic. We passed the lady in the car, and she was just driving down the road like nothing had happened, which of course was the case. In the US, there would have been some horn honking but not just a single toot.

Back to pedestrians. We did a fair amount of walking at night. The major roads had street lighting but the side streets did not. The light on side streets was from homes and businesses. As an aside, the businesses, all of which where family businesses, were opened very late at night. Any who, quite a bit of the vehicle traffic was motor bikes. There were quite a few cars but mostly it was motor bikes, and at night, there seemed to be far fewer cars and more motor bikes.

At night the motor bikes would not use their head light. This was to save gas so they were driving down unlit streets with no headlights on. Given that a pedestrian crossing the street would lose the right away if they LOOKED at the traffic, one could not obviously take a look down the road. Flip side was that since there was no street lights and the motor bikes were driving without headlights it was almost useless to look anyway.

What you had to do was LISTEN and covertly look before quickly crossing the street. One did not dawdle.

Strange as it may seem to us, we did not see one accident even though we spent a decent amount of time walking and riding around. The system worked for them.

Later,
Dan
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Old 12-24-2017, 01:52 PM   #23
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DirtD,
That is a good story! Even across cultures, laws of physics remain the same.
Engineering is applied physics, among other things.

I had an interesting encounter with the South Koreans building a DRAM fab here in the lower 48. My VP sent me in to "appreciate the situation," (a quote from the old movie Lawerence of Arabia.). I found a lot of difficulties with communications verbally, written, and telecom, due the the cultural & time difference with SK. Contractors were really stressing, as they were not getting paid on time.

I saw the same "east vs west" seating at meetings, could feel the tension in the air. Big cultural differences in how work should get done. Tele on meetings were a total fail, too many people that want to talk at once with inadequate English and Korean technical language skills. But it was the assumed expectations of how things should/did proceed that created the most stress.

Some $$ were saved on concrete by making the fab floor 2" thinner than specified. That contractor got paid and split. The consequence was that any pass throughs for equipment utilities (holes in the floor) required industrial X-Ray of the spots to avoid cutting rebar. This made equipment hookup incredibly time & $$ consuming, and difficult to bid.

This fab was built on a hill. The road up had so much slope and grade change that it was too steep to deliver process tools! Nikon and Cannon would not warranty their equipment, and the lowboy trailers grounded out on the grade change.

I have never seen so many cigarette butts on a job site either. Smoking is part of the SK culture that is not compatible with clean rooms.

I reported what I saw back to my VP, he listened with a big smile and said thanks.
I didn't have to work up a bid for that place, it failed a few years later, got sold, somebody tried to turn it into a solar cell plant, I don't think that worked out either.

Keep up the good attitude about the cross culture experiences and you will have a great time!
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Old 12-24-2017, 02:31 PM   #24
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The other thing about traffic in China. If you are at fault in a car accident or hit a pedestrian, you are financially responsible for the people you injure until such time as they can take care of themselves. You may be responsible for someone for the rest of your life.

This is a great incentive to drive carefully.

When I was in China for several months recently, I noticed that the driving was what we in the US might call haphazard as far as following any sort of western ideas of rules of the road. However, I saw very few accidents (3 in 7 months) and these were just fender benders and I was working in a fairly large city and commuting to work 2x day.

It is also very difficult for a foreigner to get a license to drive in China. So there are very few Westerners driving around to foul things up.
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Old 12-24-2017, 03:00 PM   #25
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It is also very difficult for a foreigner to get a license to drive in China. So there are very few Westerners driving around to foul things up.
Yeah, I can't imaging driving in the large cities. The stoplights are more advanced, but the drivers certainly have a bizzare scheme for lane managment. I would just be a pedestrian waiting to cross in Shenyang, and cars would zip by BEHIND me. Very exciting.

Crossing the streets in Hanoi required a super "trust me". You need to start crossing before a break in the traffic, since there was none. Maintain speed and heading during the transit, and the cars/bikes/trucks accomodate you. somehow.
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Old 12-24-2017, 03:37 PM   #26
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I was in the Philippines in the 80's, pre and post Marcos. As others have noted, Pilipinos are good people. There are sketchy places to avoid, like any big city, but the people there have big hearts. We were invited to have dinner by complete strangers in their homes.

A buddy and I rode narrow wheeled 10 speeds throughout the island of Cebu on dirt roads. A memory I will always cherish. We must have looked like crazy Americans to the locals. Most of the people outside of the city were living in poverty, but happier than many folks in the U.S. with 100 ft. boats.

Its likely a different story now, and I won't get in to that on this forum.

Yes, travel is good, especially at a young age = Perspective.
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Old 12-24-2017, 04:26 PM   #27
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I blew out a tire in one of the numerous and deep pot holes in the Palauan roads.

Happy Holidays Everyone!
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Old 12-24-2017, 04:29 PM   #28
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I blew out a tire in one of the numerous and deep pot holes in the Palauan roads.



Happy Holidays Everyone!


Where did you grow up on the Peninsula? Woodside High here
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Old 12-24-2017, 04:48 PM   #29
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DirtD,
That is a good story! Even across cultures, laws of physics remain the same.
Engineering is applied physics, among other things.

I had an interesting encounter with the South Koreans building a DRAM fab here in the lower 48. My VP sent me in to "appreciate the situation," (a quote from the old movie Lawerence of Arabia.). I found a lot of difficulties with communications verbally, written, and telecom, due the the cultural & time difference with SK. Contractors were really stressing, as they were not getting paid on time.

I saw the same "east vs west" seating at meetings, could feel the tension in the air. Big cultural differences in how work should get done. Tele on meetings were a total fail, too many people that want to talk at once with inadequate English and Korean technical language skills. But it was the assumed expectations of how things should/did proceed that created the most stress.

Some $$ were saved on concrete by making the fab floor 2" thinner than specified. That contractor got paid and split. The consequence was that any pass throughs for equipment utilities (holes in the floor) required industrial X-Ray of the spots to avoid cutting rebar. This made equipment hookup incredibly time & $$ consuming, and difficult to bid.

This fab was built on a hill. The road up had so much slope and grade change that it was too steep to deliver process tools! Nikon and Cannon would not warranty their equipment, and the lowboy trailers grounded out on the grade change.

I have never seen so many cigarette butts on a job site either. Smoking is part of the SK culture that is not compatible with clean rooms.

I reported what I saw back to my VP, he listened with a big smile and said thanks.
I didn't have to work up a bid for that place, it failed a few years later, got sold, somebody tried to turn it into a solar cell plant, I don't think that worked out either.

Keep up the good attitude about the cross culture experiences and you will have a great time!
Hi Gone,

Great story, yeah construction is always kind of hit or miss. The contractors think the engineers don't know what they're talking about and the engineers like to use huge safety factors, which run the costs up. Probably some truth to that on both sides. One of the fun and games that the grading contractors would like to play was if the inspector for the engineered fill was difficult they would have the water truck drive by (when he was taking a test in the fill) and spray him good. The experienced inspectors would learn to work with the contractors.

Cheers!
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Old 12-24-2017, 04:54 PM   #30
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Where did you grow up on the Peninsula? Woodside High here
Garr,

Woodside high for one year. 1972 I think. I came from San Jose. It was kind of a culture shock. Much more redneck in San Jose in those days. What year? What city?

Small World!
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Old 12-24-2017, 05:42 PM   #31
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Garr,



Woodside high for one year. 1972 I think. I came from San Jose. It was kind of a culture shock. Much more redneck in San Jose in those days. What year? What city?



Small World!


Redwood City/Atherton border (basically Stockbridge) WHS class of 75
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Old 12-24-2017, 10:50 PM   #32
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Old 12-24-2017, 11:15 PM   #33
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Redwood City/Atherton border (basically Stockbridge) WHS class of 75
Tamalpais '61

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Old 12-25-2017, 01:45 AM   #34
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Yeah, I can't imaging driving in the large cities. The stoplights are more advanced, but the drivers certainly have a bizzare scheme for lane managment. I would just be a pedestrian waiting to cross in Shenyang, and cars would zip by BEHIND me. Very exciting.
Lived and driven in China for 30 years. Visited the states and was driving my sister in my typical "China Way". Looked over and she was bent over with her hands protecting her head.

Mayor said "no horns", so we just blink our lights as warning. It seem this means something different in the states, like "it OK to make your move". Almost ran over several people.

Many unlicensed and uninsured motorcycles on the road. Can't help hitting one occasionally as they don't follow, or even know, any rules. They demand big money, you offer small money. If the don't accept you pullout your phone and pretend to call the cops asking for their license and insurance. They take the money and run.
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