ARC Centre of Excellence Geotechnical Science & Engineering

Geomaterial Science

The complexity in the behaviour of geomaterials is largely attributable to their granular nature and the presence of internal structure and multiple phases (solid, liquid and gas), as well as the marked influence of stress level and history.

Key innovations,  involving all the nodes, include the formulation of new models for highly compressible soft soils, as found on seabeds and in estuarine deposits, as well as novel ground improvement methods such as vacuum consolidation. Challenging aspects being pursued include the unresolved problems of creep and thixotropy in geomaterials, the role of damage at the macro and micro-scales under static and cyclic loading, the fundamental mechanisms that govern rate-dependent behaviour, the mechanical response at ultra low effective stresses (crossing the solid-fluid boundary and linking, for example, with scour), and the micromechanical origins of cyclic instability. These mechanisms govern the life-cycle response of heavy haul road pavements and cyclically-loaded foundations.