Physical infrastructure, such as offshore platforms and pipelines, and national road and rail systems, rely on geotechnical engineering design and this is increasingly associated with building on extremely soft sediments (geomaterials). Offshore these are encountered in almost all modern developments, where water depths now mostly exceed 500 m; onshore, transport corridors must increasingly make use of poor ground that has proved problematic for other developments. In all such cases the response of the geomaterials is complex and highly variable and presents major design challenges.
The core goals of the CGSE are therefore to:
A compelling feature of the CGSE is that it capitalises on the complementary research strengths of the Centre for Geotechnical and Materials Modelling at the University of Newcastle, which is a world leader in computational geomechanics, with the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems at the University of Western Australia, which has unparallelled expertise in physical modelling of geotechnical problems. Combining this natural fit with SMART Rail Institute and Geotechnics and Railway Engineering Centre at the University of Wollongong, which has a worldwide reputation for transport infrastructure geotechnics, a national focus for geotechnical research will be created.