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.

Study with us

Pursue a career in the geotechnical engineering sector with our masters course.

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.

Calibration chambers

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.

Our capabilities

We are fully capable of carrying out all types of soil testing including Triaxial testing with local strain measurements (bender element), cyclic triaxial, resonant column and dynamic simple shear.

Example problem studies are:

  • Behaviour of offshore wind turbines under cyclic and dynamic loading
  • Behaviour of pipelines crossing a fault
  • Other Dynamic Soil-Structure Interaction (DSSI) problems.

We also can carry out vibration monitoring of small scale models using non-contact devices, shaking table tests for small scale models and also can develop of customised sensors (e.g. waterproof MEMS accelerometers).

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.

Our team

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.

Liang Cui profile image

Dr Liang Cui

Senior Lecturer

Rao Martand Singh profile image

Rao Singh

Lecturer, Geotechnical Engineering

Placeholder image for staff profiles

Dr Rick Woods

Principal Teaching Fellow

Postgraduate research students

Placeholder image for staff profiles

Hadi Abubakar Abba

Metakaolin-based geopolymer for ground improvement of tropical expansive black cotton soil

Placeholder image for staff profiles

Aleem Aleem

Numerical modelling of different offshore wind turbine foundations

Sadra Amani profile image

Sadra Amani

Seismic design and analysis of offshore wind turbines

Placeholder image for staff profiles

Dr Oluwaseun Ogunleye

Analysis of geothermal energy utilisation in underground tunnels

Placeholder image for staff profiles

Dr Isaac Olaniyi Olawoore

Study of thermal performance enhancement in geothermal energy pile

Contact us

Find us


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Surrey