mardi 6 septembre 2011

Deuxième Guerre Mondiale/Conception de pistes d'aéroport militaire/ Première classe d'Arthur Casagrande en 1942


« While WES was evolving into a world-class military research center, Casagrande at Harvard dedicated himself further to the war effort. In 1942 he volunteered to the Chief of Engineers to establish a six-week course in soil mechanics — concentrating on airfield paving — for Army officers. The resulting Army Soils Control School accepted its first class of twenty-four lieutenants at Pierce Hall on 3 July. Three days later they began a rapid but intensive survey of soil mechanics, a subject only marginally familiar to many of the enrollees. Among this original group was Joseph R. Compton of WES. Compton recalled that some of the men's experiences with soils were entirely agricultural, with no engineering or technical training at all. A Vicksburg native, Compton was himself a graduate of the University of Virginia with a degree in business. »

« Casagrande and Terzaghi (who had come to Harvard in 1939) conducted classes personally in a demanding, eight-hours-a-day schedule that included classroom lectures, laboratory sessions, discourses by outside speakers, and field trips. Often visibly excited at the prospect of enlightening construction officers on his favorite topics, Casagrande amazed the groups with his extensive knowledge and practical trials. Each week, for example, he taught a two-hour session in field identification and classification of soils. From a seemingly infinite variety of samples from his Harvard laboratory, Casagrande would feel each soil, roll out a thread in the palm of his hand, taste it, bite it, rub it between his fingernails, estimate its strength, and finish with a description of its probable source, suitability for airfield building, potential problems, and an estimate of its Atterberg limits. His assistant invariably found the estimates to be nearly as precise as the laboratory determined values. Harvard continued to sponsor the courses until mid-1944, producing about four hundred graduates. »

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