Derek Martin, PhD, PEng, PGeol

Professor, Geotechnical Engineering
NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Railway Geomechanics
Alberta Innovates - Technology Futures Tier 1 Industry Chair in Railway Geomechanics 

Office: 6-224 Donadeo Innovation Cntr for Engineering
Phone: 780 492 2332
E-mail: derek.martin@ualberta.ca
Website:     www.carrl.ca

Research currently in progress

Dr. Martin is currently the Director of the Canadian Rail Research Laboratory (CaRRL) – Canada’s premiere laboratory dedicated to rail engineering research affiliated with the American Association of Railways and Transportation Technology Centre Inc. His current research includes:

Ground hazards, Risk and GIS
Ground movements present challenges to companies that must maintain linear infrastructure buried in or resting on the ground. To operate successfully in such conditions, companies must learn to manage the risk associated with such geohazards. My current research involves assessing geohazards, evaluating mitigative measures and developing risk management strategies for ground movements. My team has developed an integrated approach for assessing landslide risk and also used GIS technology to assess the impact of the Thompson River on a series of landslides that threaten the main transportation corridor for both CN and CP in central British Columbia. More recently, we illustrated the linkage between slow moving landslides and infrastructure damage. The results from this research are forming the bases for a risk assessment methodology for ground hazards that can be used by the railway or pipeline companies.

Repository geomechanics
The nuclear waste industry demands that coupled geomechanical processes are sufficiently well understood to proceed with engineering design. Extensive in-situ field measurements have been carried out in various countries to establish geomechanical processes around test tunnels in weak and hard rock masses. In weak rocks these processes are a function of rate effects and coupled phenomena.

With time, the rock mass strength degrades and the rock behaviour becomes a function of coupled environmental conditions. In hard rock, the predominant rock mass response is spalling. Previous studies showed that this failure process occurred at the same stress level regardless of whether the stresses were excavation-induced or thermally-induced. More importantly they showed that the onset of spalling can be estimated from carefully controlled laboratory tests. These findings led my team to the development of new probabilistic approaches for site screening purposes. My research team has conducted numerical work that has led to new promising developments in the predictive modelling of this geomechanics process.

Geoscience: stress and fracture flow
The prediction of groundwater flow around tunnels or wells in a fractured media relies on the fracture stress-flow laws developed from laboratory tests. Recently my team compiled and summarized the results of several years of detailed stress and fracture flow investigations in Sweden. These findings, based on hundreds of in-situ measurements obtained in crystalline rock to depths of 1000m using traditional double packer measurements and the newly developed Posiva fracture flow logger, showed that these laboratory-based laws are not found in-situ. These research findings will impact the geoscience community that use laboratory based laws for this coupled stress-flow relationship.