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Meeting/Event Information

2020 T.H. Wu Distinguished Lecture

February 07, 2020
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
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The Ohio State University
151 W Woodruff Ave
Columbus, OH 43210
Venue website

Soil Erosion and the Observation Method for Bridge Scour

Bridge scour is the number one cause of bridge failures in the country. Bridge scour is the erosion by flowing water of the soil around the foundation of the bridge supports. This erosion process leads to scour holes which can reach 40 ft in depth and more. At the design stage or at the maintenance stage it is very important to estimate the scour depth should the bridge be subjected to a large flood. Climate change is not helping in that respect.

The lecture starts by a discussion of soil erosion fundamentals, of erosion testing, and of key erosion parameters as they are influenced by basic soil properties. It continues by looking at the current practice for calculating scour depth at bridges. It is shown that the recommended practice gives a scour depth which is 3 times larger than the observed scour depth on the average and that the scatter is very large.

A new method called the Observation Method for Scour (OMS) is described and it is shown how this method gives scour depth predictions which are much closer to the measured scour depths and that the scatter is significantly reduced. Ten case histories are presented to increase the reliability of the method.

Jean-Louis Briaud

Jean-Louis Briaud, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, Dist.M.ASCE, 2020 ASCE President-Elect

Jean-Louis Briaud, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, Dist.M.ASCE, is a distinguished professor of civil engineering and director of the National Geotechnical Experimentation Site at Texas A&M University. He is also holder of the Spencer J. Buchanan chair at Texas A&M University’s Zachry Department of Civil Engineering.

Briaud recently completed a three-year term on the ASCE board of direction and previously served as president of the Geo-Institute. He was also president of the Federation of International Geo-Engineering Societies. In 2014, Briaud was recognized as a Distinguished Member of ASCE.

Briaud started his career four decades ago as an assistant professor at Texas A&M University. He has also worked as a consultant on numerous projects, including highway embankments, oil tanks, dams, bridges, levees, shallow and deep foundations and soil erosion. He is a licensed professional engineer in Texas.

Additionally, he has written two books, “Geotechnical Engineering” and “The Pressuremeter”, and published about 300 articles and reports. He has received the Ralph Peck Award from ASCE, the CGS Geoffrey Meyerhof Foundation Engineering Award from Canada and the Honorable Aitalyev Medal from Kazakhstan.

Briaud earned his Bachelor of Science at Ecole Speciale des Travaux Publics in Paris, France, a Master of Science at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, Canada, and a doctorate degree in geotechnical engineering at the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Canada.

The lecture is sponsored by The Ohio State University, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, and co-sponsored by the Central Ohio Geo-Institute Chapter.


Lecture will be held in Room 130 CBEC (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), 151 Woodruff Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210

CBEC Information:
Parking Information:


Please go to this webpage for registration information.

There is also a happy hour reception after the lecture. Please RSVP for that event as well. 

PDHs are available for this lecture. 

The T.H. Wu Distinguished Lecture is a signature event in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering. Presented yearly, the lecture features prominent scholars and practioners in the field of geotechnical engineering. The lecture is held in memory of Dr. Tien H. Wu, professor emeritus and former chair of CEGE. The T.H. Wu Fund, endowed on June 24, 2011, promotes excellence in civil engineering by way of lectures by eminent practitioners and academics in the profession.