Sounik Banerjee

Effect of initial fabric in behavior of granular materials influenced by multidirectional cyclic shear loading
Mahdi Taiebat

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I have a deep passion for thinking critically about a subject and building knowledge. I have published in three international journals using material from my master's thesis. Also, I wanted to work in an area where I could have impact. I aspire to be a researcher and a teacher and I carry one year of experience in the latter profession.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

To achieve my dream, I wanted to study in one of the best geotechnical schools in North America. 

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

As a civil engineering graduate student I have worked extensively in finite element-based numerical modelling. Starting PhD, my goal was to work in micro mechanical behaviour of granular materials in the field of geotechnical engineering where there is considerable work to be done, and is fundamental in understanding phenomenological soil behaviours. I am able to work in this specific area in my current research group under the supervision of Dr. Mahdi Taiebat.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

I was pleasantly surprised after coming to Vancouver that travelling within British Columbia is so effortless, thanks to the seamless service provided by Translink and the free pass I get as part of my four-year fellowship. In addition to this, the metro and the mundane diversity in Vancouver amazes me every weekend when I tour the city trying to find the best photography opportunities with my friends and colleagues.

What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?

I aim to do research and teach individuals in the future. So, I enjoy the challenge of sustaining the vagaries of elemental research and working with professors as a teaching assistant.

What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?

I want to plan for my near future and then follow a gradual path towards a future career. At present, I want to make specific, novel contributions and have a good number of publications from my PhD. Afterwards, I may consider working in the industry for a brief period before entering academia as my final career goal.

How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?

As a PhD student, I believe independent learning is very important. My supervisor helps me polish my ideas and focus on specific areas to maintain a steady direction. So far, I am taking the challenges and hopefully will be able to meet my goals through continuous preparation.

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

More than life, research work with my previous supervisor Dr. Debarghya Chakraborty at IIT Kharagpur in India have helped prepare for this program, in addition to being selected for the Four-Year Doctoral Fellowship at UBC.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

I like to draw, write poems and go on long, unplanned trips.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

The students who get  admitted in research-based programs at UBC are natural self-educators and quite motivated individuals. I don't feel I can give them any specific advice, other than to live their dreams.


Learn more about Sounik 's research

The arrangement of granular materials before undergoing cyclic back and forth loading can have significant effects on cyclic strength degradation and eventual liquefaction in undrained condition. Historically, soil fabric has been studied using limited anisotropic parameters with spherical particles, mostly limited to mechanical anisotropy suggested otherwise. However, strong contradicting evidence exists in literature which depicts stress-strain response of granular materials for constant void ratio and confining stress as a function of initial soil fabric. This can hold true for both drained and undrained behavior of cohesion-less materials. Also, if the limited effects of specific anisotropic parameters are removed and a wide range of parameters already available in literature are used, this can provide substantial evidence of the initial anisotropic effects. In our research, the influence of geometric anisotropy in terms of particle shape and multidirectional cyclic loading are also investigated in lieu of closely resembling the ideal conditions using Discrete Element Method.