Research

dispOffshore geotechnics

We have a substantial research presence in offshore geotechnics. We are particularly interested in offshore foundations and structures, applying our expertise to problems in the oil and gas sector, as well as in the emerging offshore renewable energy sector (such as offshore wind). We have contributed to improved understanding for shallow foundations, such as suction installed foundations and gravity base foundations, as well as for piled foundations, and more recently for offshore pipelines.

Pipejacking and trenchless technology

A significant amount of research on pipejacking and trenchless technology has been carried out over the past two decades. The next phase of the research will be to conduct field trials on soil conditioning and lubrication methods. Soil conditioning agents are already being used in the field in connection with tunnel-boring machines. If they are to be used efficiently it is vital that high quality monitoring data are obtained.

Tunnelling and underground construction

Tunnelling works can be a significant cause of settlement damage to structures. Work in this area is motivated principally by current and future projects involving tunnelling in urban areas. In particular the development of ground movements around tunnels is of interest.

Numerical modelling of soils and structures

A range of problems in soil mechanics and in structural analysis are being investigated using numerical methods, primarily finite elements. Many of the projects are a mix of these two areas of civil engineering and some are linked to programmes of physical modelling, also taking place at Oxford.

Finite element analysis

Extensive use is made in the Civil Engineering Research Group of finite element analysis. In order to support this research, a suite of finite element software, OXFEM, is available for general use, and together with related computer software, is under continuous development. A continuing project is in progress to revise and update the program, incorporating recent development work.

Reinforced soil

The performance of geotechnical structures (such as roads, foundations, embankments and retaining walls) can often be improved by the use of soil reinforcement. A lengthy program of research has been underway at Oxford University on developing an improved understanding of the mechanics of reinforced soil.

Constitutive modelling of soils

Research at Oxford University on constitutive modelling for soils concentrates principally on the use of plasticity theory for building soil models. In much of the recent work there has been an emphasis on the use of thermodynamic principles to develop a new approach to plasticity modelling termed "hyperplasticity".

PISA project

The Pile Soil Analysis (PISA) project is a research project aimed at investigating and developing improved design methods for laterally loaded piles, specifically tailored to the offshore wind sector. It is a joint industry project run through the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator programme.