The NGCF conducts research associated with centrifuge modelling of offshore and onshore geotechnical structures and the characterisation of soils. It services the research needs of a large group of academics and postgraduate students at the University of Western Australia, from the ARC centre for Geotechnical Science and Engineering (the Universities of Newcastle and Wollongong), and from the three partner universities (Queensland University, Monash university and University of Adelaide), but is also open to all interested researchers in Australia and worldwide.

The NGCF has modelling capabilities to investigate issues associated with soil-structure interaction, foundation engineering, soil characterisation and geohazards, both offshore and onshore. Some examples of the research undertaken using the COFS centrifuges in recent years include:

The NGCF provides a wide range of research services to assist academics and students with their research projects. These include the design of models, setting up motion control and data acquisition systems if required, the conception of modelling program to fit research goals, the establishment of performance data for model calibration and the validation of innovative foundation concepts.

Research activities at the NGCF are supported by the full team of academics, engineers and technicians, who can provide expert advice, develop innovative solutions and collect high-quality data for a wide range of geotechnical problems.

Research Highlights

 

Subsea structure under combined 6 degree-of-freedom loadings

Shallow skirted foundations used as PipeLine End Terminations (PLETs) are subjected to complex combined vertical (V), horizontal (H) and moment (M) loadings along the 6 degrees of freedom. Our centrifuge tests revealed the nature of failure mechanisms (sliding, bearing or overturning) as a function of the load path followed in the VHM loading space. Mitigation measures were investigated such as corner pile reinforcement to provide additional horizontal and moment capacity.

 

Anchor keying

Upon loading, a plate anchor embedded vertically in soil, will rotate and lose embedment before mobilising its full capacity. Centrifuge tests were performed to reveal the details of this keying mechanism and to improve the plate anchor design and calibrate models for predicting plate anchor behaviour.

Pipeline Buckling

Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) is used to investigate the mechanisms of embedment and berm formation occurring when a pipeline resting on the seabed buckles under thermal expansion and displaces horizontally.