Recently, work has concentrated on testing soils at different suction and temperature levels and correlating the macro and micro-scale response. This work has special relevance to heavily compacted clays surrounding radioactive nuclear waste disposal as well as applications such as burial of high voltage cables, drilling of deep offshore wells and foundations subjected to temperature and suction changes. Research into unsaturated soils represents a relatively new area in geotechnical engineering. Climatic changes makes this topic highly relevant and research work focuses on the thermo-hydro-mechanical behaviour of these soil-water-air systems. The team collaborates with international leading researchers in this area. Work into the effects of cyclic wetting and drying on soil behaviour has been in progress for several years and is continuing. This is very relevant when investigating the effect of flooding events on soil response and microstructure.
Research is also being undertaken in the effect of suction changes on granular materials (eg sand, glass beads, coal, etc). This work is of particular relevance when handling granular materials that can be expose to different relative humidity environments (ie different suction levels can happen).
In addition, researchers have expanded their particular interest in earth construction hydro-mechanical behaviour. The data is used to examine the mechanics associated with water migration and the structure performance. This research is undertaken with industrial collaboration.
Staff contributing to this research area include:
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