A new article co-authored by Siavash Zamiran has been published by Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering. The article discusses a wellbore stability model using a chemo-thermo-poroelastic approach. For reading the full please visit ScienceDirect website or get access to a pre-proof version from Researchgate.
Drilling through chemically-active shale formations is of special importance due to time-dependent drilling fluid-shale interactions. The physical models presented so far include sophisticated input parameters, requiring advanced experimental facilities, which are costly and in most cases unavailable. In this paper, sufficiently-accurate, yet highly practical, models are presented containing parameters easily-derived from well-known data sources. For ion diffusivity coefficient, the chemical potential was formulated based on the functionality of water activity to solute concentration for common solute species in field. The reflection coefficient and solute diffusion coefficient within shale membrane were predicted and compared with experimental measurements. For thermally-induced fluid flow, a model was utilized to predict thermo-osmosis coefficient based on the energy of hydrogen-bond that attained a reasonably-accurate estimation from petrophysical data, e.g. porosity, specific surface area (SSA), and cation exchange capacity (CEC). The coupled chemo-thermo-poroelastic governing equations were developed and solved using an implicit finite difference scheme. Mogi-Coulomb failure criterion was adopted for mud weight required to avoid compressive shear failure and a tensile cut-off failure index for mud weight required to prevent tensile fracturing. Results showed a close agreement between the suggested model and experimental data from pressure transmission tests. Results from a numerical example for a vertical wellbore indicated that failure in shale formations was time-dependent and a failure at wellbore wall after 85 min of mud-shale interactions was predicted. It was concluded that instability might not firstly occur at wellbore wall as most of the conventional elastic models predict; perhaps it occurs at other points inside the formation. The effect of the temperature gradient between wellbore and formation on limits of mud window confirmed that the upper limit was more sensitive to the temperature gradient than the lower limit.
Next Step; Interview with ASCE Civil Engineering Magazine, December 2019
IT WOULD BE EASY TO ASSUME that Siavash Zamiran, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, doesn’t get much sleep. Zamiran, who was presented with the ASCE Edmund Friedman Young Engineer Award in 2019, works full time as a geotechnical engineer for St. Louis-based Marino Engineering Associates Inc. (MEA), teaches geotechnical engineering on an adjunct basis at Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T), and serves as the chair of the Sustainability Committee for the St. Louis Section. But he says his enthusiasm, optimism, organizational skills, and devotion to self-improvement keep him going. By continuing to teach in the subjects in which he practices, he maintains up-to-date knowledge and skills. And by reading, networking, and listening to podcasts, he has learned how to manage his time and tasks to achieve a rewarding balance of work, school, and life.
- You have just been promoted from project engineer to senior project engineer at mea and taken on a new adjunct professorship. How are you managing all the responsibilities of both?
What helps is that the courses I teach are in the areas in which I work. There is a saying that if you want to learn something perfectly, teach it. When I had the opportunity to teach geotechnical engineering, I took it so that I could better learn and understand all the rules, formulas, and principles. On a daily basis, I use those same principles in my consulting, analysis, and design.
- How did the opportunity at Missouri S&T present itself?
I am very involved in civil engineering organizations, especially ASCE. My ASCE experiences have helped me to increase my network and connect to other professionals in my area. Also, being in contact with my coworkers who practice in other specialties and with professors in other areas of academics helped.
- How does your job as a senior project engineer differ from that of a project engineer?
When I was a project engineer, I was involved almost entirely in the technical parts of the work—the design and analysis. Now that I am a senior project engineer, I have more responsibilities for project management, relationships with clients, and supervising staff.
The good thing about working for a small-sized company, which mea is, is that it gives me the opportunity to be involved not just in my own work but also other disciplines and areas, including business development, marketing, and client relationships.
- What are the chief skills and abilities that you developed in your previous positions that help you in these new positions?
Being in a more senior position and managing projects and relationships require lots of ‘softer’ skills in parallel with the technical skills. And you really don’t learn those softer skills in school. So I try to increase those skills myself. I read and study about project management, time management, selforganization, and other nontechnical topics. This is useful not only for my work but also for other parts of my life.
Also, when I was working on my dissertation, I had to start something from scratch, come up with the idea, do the research, collect the information, conduct the analysis, develop a procedure, and create an output of my study. Finally, I had to put all that together into a two-hundred-page dissertation and defend it in front of committee members. I worked on it for two years, and it taught me how to handle a long-term, multiple-part project from start to finish. That was a very helpful, practical experience.
- What personal traits or characteristics do you believe help you in these new positions?
I am generally enthusiastic and optimistic about things. And I am consistent about what I want and pursuing it. There is a compound-effect rule that says if you want to reach a goal, you have to be consistent in doing small steps each day, and those steps will compound and accumulate until you reach that result. So, you might not see big results in the short term, but in the long term, you will. It’s all about persistence.
I also try not to fear rejection. That gives me the ability to take risks and seek opportunities and adventures; fear can be a barrier to all that. So, for example, when I wanted to apply for a research position to pursue my ph.d., I got rejected a couple of times, but that didn’t discourage me. If you interview with one professor, you have a low probability of success. But if you interview with one hundred, you can get rejected ninety-nine times and still succeed that one time.
- What technical skills helped you achieve these positions?
The skills I gained from courses in the principles of geotechnical engineering, like soil mechanics, foundations, and the strengths of materials. I have a fair understanding of them, and as I said, when I teach them, that improves my own knowledge.
I am also developing my skills in specific computer programs related to my area. Those programs and computational skills are not taught in traditional school curricula, so I have learned about those programs and how to do specialized analyses on my own.
- How have nontechnical skills helped you in your achievements?
The softer skills sound easy because they are not technical, but it’s hard to learn them and use them in practice. And once you learn them, it’s very easy to use them just for a short period of time and then forget them. But when I keep myself updated and read about them on a day-to-day basis, that improves my learning curve and keeps me motivated.
I have a list of books and articles to read, and of course magazine articles are more motivating because you can read and finish them quicker. There is also something called a mastermind group—a small group of peers who get together to talk about these skills. I have a group of friends, something like a mastermind group, that I keep in contact with. I get more motivated when chatting with them.
- What role did mentors, advisers, or your network play in your achievement?
Being surrounded by friends who are skilled is very motivating. Again, working in a small company gives me an advantage. I can work directly with officers, such as the president of the company. And I also work with faculty at the school where I teach, and they always try to be the top in their fields. That motivates me to follow their path.
- What do you hope to accomplish in these new positions?
I’d really like to learn more about my area of expertise; I read technical materials to increase my knowledge and stay updated. When I do that, I have more confidence about what I am doing.
And right now, I want to learn more about the growing areas of programming, data science, and machine learning. I also want to learn more about automation and statistics and incorporate them into the areas of my interest.
- What types of positions do you see yourself moving toward over the next few years?
I’d like to remain working in the industry and being involved in academics. I’d like to go toward more managerial positions like project manager, where I’d be working more independently on projects from the start and then developing and finalizing them.
- What advice would you give to other young engineers who would seek positions similar to yours?
Continuing your learning is important; when you finish school, that shouldn’t be the last time you open a textbook or read technical material.
Also, keep your life–work balance by being more organized and by learning personal development skills. People might think working full time and teaching would be overwhelming, but learning those personal skills teaches you how to balance everything in your life: work, education, health, and relationships. —LAURIE A. SHUSTER
A short course titled "Computational Modeling in Geotechnical Engineering" will be presented by Siavash Zamiran in EMI 2019 Conference at California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA. The course will be on Tuesday, June 18th, from 10 AM to 4 PM.
This course will present the principles of numerical modeling in geotechnical engineering practice. The main focus will be on the numerical modeling approaches based on finite element and finite difference methods using different geo-mechanical commercial programs. The instructor will consider the geotechnical modeling aspects to span from the results of site characterization and laboratory, soil/rock properties, constitutive relations, boundary conditions, computational domain, loading; to validation and verification of results. The modeling procedure of a retaining wall system will be demonstrated as a practical example. Advanced aspects of numerical modeling including soil-structure interaction, fluid-mechanical interaction, and dynamic analysis will be discussed. The course materials are useful for students and professionals in different engineering fields including civil, geotechnical, mining, petroleum, and geological engineering.
More information and registration link can be found on the conference website.
Short Course material access
The Short Course titled "Numerical Modeling in Geotechnical Engineering with Emphasis on FLAC Modeling" was held in Los Angeles, CA by Siavash Zamiran from MEA Inc. The course covered different topics in numerical modeling in geotechnical engineering including introduction to computational geotechnics, commercial geotechnical programs, theoretical considerations of numerical modeling in FLAC and FLAC3D, practical applications of modeling of shallow foundations, retaining walls, and tunnels . For more information regarding the short course please visit here.
MEA, Inc. of St. Louis, MO is hosting a 2-day workshop on Numerical Modeling in Geotechnical Engineering. The workshop will be on January 25-26, 2019 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and will be taught by Dr. Siavash Zamiran, P.E.
This course is an introduction to modeling geotechnical problems using commercially available geotechnical programs with an emphasis on FLAC. Different geotechnical programs and numerical methods will be discussed and compared with each other. Principals of numerical modeling will be described. The modeling procedure for several practical geotechnical examples (including seismic loading) will be demonstrated using FLAC. The material is useful for students and professionals in different fields including civil, geotechnical, mining, petroleum, and geology engineering. Attendees will be awarded 5 PDH Credits for a single day registration, or a total of 10 PDH Credits for full enrollment.
TOPICS COVERED IN THE WORKSHOP INCLUDE:
For more information and registration please visit: