Geomechanics Research Group
Geomechanics covers activities related to the characterisation of granular materials, soil, clays etc and understanding, and modelling, their behaviour under a range of conditions and time scales.
Particular areas of interest are the modelling of soil-structure interactions including soil-vehicle interactions for extra-terrestrial applications and the behaviour of liquefiable soils subject to seismic and other dynamic effects.
Our research areas
- Mechanics and micro-mechanics of granular materials including image analysis
- Discrete Element Modelling (DEM) of granular materials including laboratory validation
- Physical modelling of geotechnical problems including soil-structure interaction with particular emphasis to off-shore wind turbines
- Soil-Vehicle interactions including extra-terrestrial applications
- Wave propagation in, and constitutive models for, nonlinear materials
- Pipelines and piles in seismic areas including liquefiable soils
- Study of soil liquefaction using element tests.
Tackling climate change
Surrey Advanced Geotechnical Engineering (SAGE) Laboratory
The SAGE Lab (PDF) is a geotechnical testing facility to carry out advanced laboratory testing of soils and scaled model tests of geotechnical problems.
We have two calibration chambers with transparent sides for visualisation purposes:
- A large calibration chamber 2.4m × 1.4m × 2.6m in size with a transparent front. This chamber has been used before to carry out shaking table tests.
- A small calibration chamber 450mm × 200mm × 400mm in size with a transparent front. This has been used before to carry out 1-g and shaking table tests.
Cyclic triaxial apparatus
We can carry out element testing of soil to understand the cyclic behaviour including liquefaction susceptibility and also multi-stage test (for example cyclic testing of soil to liquefaction and then applying monotonic loading).
Using the tests results we can construct bespoke p-y curves (Winkler Springs for pile-soil analysis) for any soils. Currently codes of practice provides methodology to construct p-y curves for standard soils (such as sand, soft clay, stiff clay). We can construct continuous p-y curves for a soil from the element test data based on our published research.
Resonant column apparatus
We can carry out Shear Modulus and Damping characteristics of soils.
Dynamic simple shear apparatus
We can carry out cyclic simple shear tests on soils applying hundreds of thousands of cycles.
Triaxial with local measurement (bender element)
Our monotonic triaxial apparatus is also equipped with bender element equipment and we can also carry out other local measurements.
Small scale models of offshore wind turbine foundations
We carried out wind turbine model tests to understand the dynamic soil structure interactions as well as long term performance. Apart from standard measuring devices, we are able to monitor the structure frequency during shaking using non-contact device such as Laser Vibrometer. See the above photograph.
Some examples of pipeline testing
Models to investigate the effects of fault movements or landslides on buried pipelines: we carried out model test to study the effect of fault movement (both reverse and thrust) on pipeline behaviour.
Examples of micro mechanical behaviour of soil
We developed a custom made inter-particle friction apparatus. This has been used to carry out interpartical friction test on irregular surface under different normal loads.
Physical model of retaining wall
We are able to carry out shearing tests on granular material confined by a moving wall.
Please contact the head of our group if you are interested in using our SAGE laboratory for any advanced soil or small scale testing, or if you have any questions.