International Rock Engineering Award for Aalto University researcher
Lauri Uotinen studies problems related to the stress caused by mining activity, rockfall risk assessment, and the mechanics of rock joints.
The award, given by the International Society for Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering (ISRM), was presented for the first time this year.
"I accept this recognition award with joy and gratitude. It was awarded for years of effort in developing new methods and rock engineering education", Lauri Uotinen summarises.
"Falling rocks or rock collapsing on traffic routes is a global problem. We have developed a new research method to effectively determine the rockfall risk covering large areas. The method has been tested on a 300-kilometer section of road from Helsinki to Turku to Pori", the researcher adds.
The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency (Väylävirasto) can use the method to determine the required corrective actions, to target maintenance actions, and to reduce the risk of rockfalls on the road.
“This method allows for efficient asset management. With the help of the fast method, it is possible to pay attention to the right points and take risky objects for a more detailed examination,”says Markku Äijälä, Head of the Skills Structure Unit at the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.
Uotinen is also studying the growth of rock stress in deep mines where the mining activity increases local stress. "The method utilizes the movement of the rock mass and allows monitoring the growth of the stress state in real-time. It has been tested in Aalto University's underground research laboratory and a deep underground mine.," says Uotinen.
Uotinen's third research area is testing the mechanical and water flow properties of rock joints. He has developed new methods for measuring the surface roughness of rock joints as well as for assessing the shear strength and fluid flow properties using large-scale laboratory samples.
Uotinen has been doing pioneering research in the field of rock mechanics for a long time. He was the first to utilize 3D printing in rock fracture mechanics. In 2017, Uotinen developed a new method for reproducing the shape of a rock joint using 3D printed molds and mortar cast joint replicas. Uotinen developed a new method for predicting the shear strength of rock joints and for predicting fluid flow using photogrammetry.
Based on Uotinen's research, two startup companies have emerged: Fractuscan Oy (https://www.fractuscan.fi/) and AMS Solutions Oy (https://www.remos.fi/).
For more information
DSc Lauri Uotinen, Staff Scientist
tel. +35850 464 2970
Department of Civil Engineering, geotechnics
Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.
Markku Äijälä, Head of the Skills Structure Unit
tel. +35829 534 3627