Malcolm Bolton’s proposal for a Technical Committee on Micro-Geomechanics was accepted by the President in January 2000, and terms of reference were confirmed in February. The aim of the new TC35 is to develop granular perspectives of soil behaviour based on the observation of soil grains and fabric, and the micro-mechanics of deformation and flow. One outcome should be an improvement in the physical understanding of conventional soil parameters. Another should be the development of advanced techniques of soil characterisation which can accompany conventional soil testing.
The subsequent work of the chairman, together with an initial steering committee comprising Masayuki Hyodo, Adrian Hyde, Matthew Coop, Yukio Nakata and Glenn McDowell, has been to put in hand plans for inaugural activities. An informal steering group meeting was hosted by Professor Hyodo in Yamaguchi University in July. This was followed by an Informal Workshop on Micro-Geomechanics at Cambridge University in December which heard 15 presentations from staff and research students from 6 UK universities and from Yamaguchi University. The success of this meeting encouraged the steering group to accept the offer of Professor Togrol to organise a one-day Satellite Conference in Istanbul on 25 August 2001, immediately before the 15th ICSMGE, on “Fundamentals of Soil Behaviour” which will explore the granular perspective in geomechanics. Ten active research workers from four countries have agreed to make short presentations of their recent work, in order to stimulate discussion. There will then follow a Grand Inquisition into the physical meaning of soil parameters, led by Professor Muir Wood, and assisted by an expert panel. The first full meeting of TC35 will follow the next day, when we look forward to meeting many representatives for the first time.
Other plans are in hand. Discussions are taking place with Professor Vardoulakis for TC34, in order to have some interaction during Powders and Grains 2001 in Sendai, in May 2001. The US National Science Foundation is considering sponsoring an Invited Workshop on Micro-Geomechanics in Cambridge in 2002. Professor Hyodo has kindly organised the publication of the proceedings of the International Workshop on Soil Crushability, which was held in Yamaguchi University in August 1999, and is exploring the opportunities for hosting a TC35 International Symposium in Japan in 2004. We hope new members will make presentations at these meetings, and propose new activities in various regions arising from their own enthusiasms.
A new website for TC35 is being constructed by Yukio Nakata while he is on leave in Cambridge; it is at http://www-g.eng.cam.ac.uk/TC35/Index.html. Please contact Malcolm Bolton by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how to participate!