Christophe is a Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia, and the Deputy Director of the Centre for Offshore Foundations Systems which he joined in 2003. He holds a PhD in Geotechnical engineering, which he obtained in 2002 working on the large beam centrifuge at IFSTTAR in Nantes (France). Since then his passion for centrifuges has remained and his whole career has been spinning around physical modelling. He managed the centrifuge facilities at the Centre for Offshore Foundations for the period 2003-2012. He is the former Chair of the Technical Committee on Physical Modelling in Geotechnics of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (2010-14), an Editor of the International Journal of Physical Modelling in Geotechnics, and was the Chair of the 8th International Conference on Physical Modelling in Geotechnics. Christophe actively promotes the use of centrifuge modelling to academics and industry worldwide and has a long track record of collaborations with industry working on diverse design and research projects. His research interests include anchoring systems for offshore structures, shallow foundations, spudcans and offshore renewable energy. He has also a keen interest in the development of innovative and ground breaking technology for centrifuge modelling that open new areas of investigation. Christophe has authored more than 150 refereed publications, all associated with centrifuge modelling, and is preparing with colleagues Prof. David White and Prof. Mark Randolph a book entitled “Centrifuge modelling in geotechnics” to be published late 2015.
Conleth has been involved with geotechnical centrifuges for thirteen years. His first post-PhD position was at COFS in UWA where he learnt the ropes of centrifuge modelling before returning to his home country to establish Ireland’s first and only geotechnical centrifuge. However, the lure of UWA and Perth enticed him back to COFS in 2012, where he took up his current position as an Associate Professor and took over the role of centrifuge manager from Christophe. Conleth continues to manage the geotechnical centrifuge facilities under the new umbrella of the NGCF in addition to pursuing his main academic interests in offshore anchoring, soft soil characterisation and foundation systems for offshore renewable energy devices.
Kelvin has been a centrifuge technician at the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems since May 2013. His primary focus since then has been the operation of the 1.8 m beam centrifuge and the 1 g testing laboratory. As of February 2015 he has been expanding his skillset by taking control of the 1.2 m drum centrifuge.
Prior to joining the team Kelvin had accumulated over 14 years of experience in a number of roles in the offshore oil and gas industry. The most notable of these was as a Remotely Operated Vehicle Pilot/Technician. From the controls of a submersible robot he has had the opportunity to inspect and interact with many of the spudcans, footings, chains, caissons, piles, mudmats and pipelines deployed in the field. Joining a research environment Kelvin has transitioned from a world where the robotics are dwarfed by the subsea hardware to one where the robotics tower over the scale models.
After joining the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems geomechanics laboratories in late 2010 Manuel Palacios naturally gravitated towards the geotechnical centrifuges. He quickly built a relationship with the electronics staff and the existing centrifuge technicians, which resulted in Manuel being appointed chief centrifuge technician in 2012. Manuel has a passion for new technologies and has been key in introducing tablet computing, 3D printing and HD action cameras (GoPros) into everyday centrifuge operations.
David Jones is the chief mechanical technician for the Centre for Offshore Foundations Systems, The University of Western Australia, which he joined in 2003. Dave’s career path has been centred around research and development, commencing his apprenticeship as a tool maker within the agricultural industry in Wales, immigrating to Australia in 1981 and progressing to the auto industry in Melbourne and then relocating to Perth in 1986. Dave has gained valuable technical experience with world class facilities such as Orbital Engine Company, before commencing with COFS.
Dave’s enthusiasm stems from the challenges of designing and manufacturing instruments and models for use in centrifuge modelling. Dave enjoys being a contributing member to the experienced COFS centrifuge team (National Geotechnical Centrifuge Facility) that is continually developing innovative and modern technologies for the benefit of academia and industry.
John, originally from Ireland, joined COFS in 1998, and has managed the instrumentation/electronics laboratory for most of this time. From the early days in Ireland, John has been involved in design and testing of electrical/electronic and mechanical industrial equipment in many different industries. In addition to his supervisory role, John has specialized in electronic hardware design such as the design of the DigiDAQ Data Acquisition system - a purpose built DAQ system for centrifuges. His broad knowledge of power electronics through to instrumentation electronics, makes John well suited to managing electronics projects from conception to successful completion.
Khin is an electronics technician at Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems, University of Western Australia. She joined the team in 2008 and is responsible for the building, maintenance and repair of various electronic instruments such as the UWA-developed DigiDAQ boxes. Her skilful and meticulous installation of strain gauges and sensors on small-scale models, such as T-bars, CPTs and anchors for centrifuge modelling, makes her a highly-valued member of the NGCF team.
Mike obtained his Ph.D. in Crystallography and Computation Chemistry from the University of Durham in 2006. Since then Mike worked at the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, France developing data-analysis software for neutron diffractometers. He joined the University of Western Australia in 2009 developing CrystalExplorer, a program that is used by hundreds of research groups around the world. Mike joined the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems as an Electronics Engineer in late 2014 and brings with him a wealth of experience in the design and development of scientific software.
Mike finds it very satisfying to be part of such a talented team of scientists and technicians. Whether it’s developing control and data acquisition systems, building websites, debugging firmware, modifying legacy code or designing user interfaces, Mike loves the challenge of working in an environment where no two days are the same.
Mike was also responsible for designing and building this website for the NGCF.
Andrew Van Dam is a Senior Electronics Technician for COFS. His work focuses on the development and maintenance of control systems and bespoke electronics for data logging. Most notably he specialises in motion control applications with very high levels of precision and repeatability to support the high-quality research projects undertaken by COFS. With over 6 years industry experience he brings a wealth of experience from industrial control systems, robotics and electronics design. He has a passion for small scale embedded electronics and wireless sensor networks.
Guido Wager supports researchers and PhD students with instrumentation, hardware and software related challenges. He has more than 10 years of experience working in research and development, and uses his extensive experience in electronics and programming, his knowledge of energy science and his experiences during his PhD in electronic engineering to meet the challenging projects carried out at COFS.
Lisa Melvin is the Business Manager at the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS) at The University of Western Australia (UWA). Lisa has a Bachelor of Commerce with majors in Financial Accounting and Managerial Accounting and a minor in Business Law. She joined UWA in 1999 and moved to COFS in 2002. She is responsible for HR Management, Financial Management, Contract Management, Strategic Planning, Marketing, Policy development and implementation and oversees all experimental facilities at COFS to ensure their effective operation. She has managed the contractual negotiations and financial aspects of the commissioning of the new centrifuge, which included a trip to France to inspect the new centrifuge and the IFSTTAR centrifuge.
Dana is the Administrative Assistant at the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems at the University of Western Australia since June 2014. She previously worked for BHP Billiton, Worsley Alumina Refinery and Mine as an Administrative Assistant and as an Executive Assistant. Dana provides administrative support to all COFS staff, students and visitors. She has certificates in Business and Human Resources. Dana is the main contact point for all queries related to the NGCF and is responsible for all the NGCF social media.