This year’s Rankine Lecture was delivered by Professor Malcolm Bolton of Cambridge University.
Much of his career at Cambridge and formerly UMIST, has been associated with the use of centrifuge testing: a gross simplification for somebody who has produced over 200 publications. Over the last decade he has been developing and promoting MSD (Mobilisable Stress Design).
He used the Lecture, illustrated with case studies of slope stability, shallow foundations and propped retaining walls, to demonstrate how his approach could improve understanding and geotechnical design.
He concluded on a controversial note, ridiculing a partial safety factor of 1.4 in EC7 in bored pile design, which he sees as adding an unnecessary 40% of concrete.
Claiming that young engineers were still being trained in the methods of their grandfathers, the Lecture is well worth looking at for its entertainment value, but contains serious messages for design engineers.