Priority Research Centre for



  • Computational Homogenization and Virtual Testing of Geomaterials

    This project aims to determine relevant engineering properties of common geomaterials by simulating the processes that take place on the microscopic scale instead of letting them occur physically as in traditional laboratory experiments.

  • Contact Mechanics for Soil-structure Interaction at Large Deformation

    In Civil Engineering, loads are transferred between structures and the ground principally through contact of surfaces. The nature of the soil-structure interaction can dramatically affect the overall load capacity of a structure and therefore plays a key role in civil engineering design.

  • The Environmental Geotechnics of Coal Mine Spoil

    Much of Australia's export wealth comes from the export of mined coal. An unavoidable consequence of open-cut mining of coal is that it disturbs large volumes of ground, altering its structure and hydromechanical properties to significant depths.

    The aim of this work is to present salinity and hydrological data, for a range of typical spoil materials from the Hunter Valley, that can be used in the modelling and prediction of salt release from overburden piles in abandoned coal mines.

  • Foundation Remediation using Expansive Polyurethane Resin

    Injection of expansive polyurethane resin is a common underpinning solution for individual houses, which does not require the installation of additional footing elements.

  • Georemediation

    Waste products from industrial operations, if not disposed of properly, have the potential to significantly impact the quality of our natural surface and ground water systems. Geoenvironmental engineering focuses on finding engineered solutions to contaminants that have impacted on groundwater aquifers.

  • Hollow Nano-Structures

    Hollow nanostructures are of great interest as vehicles for drug delivery, as nano-reactors for gas phase reactions and for their unique optical, magnetic and electronic properties.

  • Hypoplastic and Post-Failure Modelling of Geomaterials

    The development of accurate constitutive models for predicting the pre- and post-failure behaviour of geomaterials is of major significance in geomechanics. When implemented in a computational framework such as the finite element method, these models enable engineers to design a wide range of geotechnical infrastructure such as tunnels, retaining walls, embankments, cuttings, foundations and storage facilities.

  • Insitu Soil Testing

    Insitu testing of soils has become widespread in recent years due to its cost effectiveness and convenience. Two sophisticated devices for performing insitu tests are the pressuremeter and the dilatometer. Both of these devices are being studied in major research programs using the truck mounted testing facility NEWSYD.

  • Interdiffusion and Demixing in Materials

    Many materials depend on interdiffusion in their formation. In service, the components of many materials demix as a result of the high temperatures and large driving forces present, which can lead to a degradation of designed properties.

  • Metal Dusting

    Metal dusting refers to the very rapid disintegration of iron and low alloy steels in a highly carburizing (carbon super-saturated) atmosphere at temperatures ranging from 400 to 750°C.

  • Multiscale Modelling of Collapse in Geomaterials

    The collapse of geomaterials can greatly affect the normal working behaviour of geostructures and may even lead to catastrophic failure for a wide range of geostructures such as open-cut pits, underground mines, deep piles, tailings dams, building foundations, offshore rigs and deep wellbores. Collapse in geomaterials is usually accompanied by various forms of instability such as shear banding, bulging, diffused patterns and cracking.

  • Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis

    The geotechnical group has developed an extensive suite of software for performing elastoplastic finite element analysis, and this is continually being expanded.

  • Porosity Occurring in Diffusion-Bonding

    Diffusion-bonding is a very attractive process for the strong bonding of dissimilar engineering materials in order to form engineering devices and structures. However, because of the differing diffusion rates of the components, porosity often forms in the bonding zone during fabrication or in-service conditions.

  • Reactive Soil Behaviour

    The geotechnical group is currently leading a long term study, funded partly by industry and partly by government, to improve design procedures for foundations on expansive (reactive) soils.

  • Shakedown Analysis of Pavements

    For pavements operating in the inelastic range under repeated load cycles, the shakedown limit is widely accepted as an appropriate design parameter. To predict the shakedown limit for a given pavement with known geometry and material properties, two numerical methods are being developed.

  • Rock Fall Analysis

    Natural hazards involving rocks or rock slopes are responsible for loss of life and damage to infrastructure.

    This study aims to develop an analysis procedure for predicting the motion of blocks detaching from a steep rock wall and traveling down the slope below.

  • Rock Joint Flow Behaviour

    Understanding water flow through a rock mass is a fundamental issue in many areas of rock engineering.

    A flow model based on the micro roughness of the rock joint has been proposed which gives a better prediction of flow anisotropy.

  • Soft Soil Embankments

    Soft soils are problematic since, under load, they can produce large settlements over a very long time span. These soils are widespread in the coastal region of Eastern Australia, where the population is increasing fast and much infrastructure has to be constructed.Soft soils are problematic since, under load, they can produce large settlements over a very long time span. These soils are widespread in the coastal region of Eastern Australia, where the population is increasing fast and much infrastructure has to be constructed.

    The project aims to improve our understanding of soft soil foundation behaviour and, hence, to establish a predictive numerical model for estimating long-term settlement.

  • Computational Limit Analysis of Geostructures

    Geotechnical stability analysis is traditionally performed by a variety of approximate methods that are based on the theory of limit equilibrium. Although they are simple and appeal to engineering intuition, these techniques suffer from a number of serious disadvantages, not the least of which is the need to presuppose an appropriate failure mechanism in advance. This feature can lead to inaccurate predictions of the true failure load, especially for realistic problems involving layered materials, complex loading, or three-dimensional deformation.

  • Thermal Transport in Composites and Porous Media

    This research is concerned with steady-state and transient thermal transport in metal foams and metallic hollow sphere structures.

  • Unsaturated Soil Mechanics

    Unsaturated soils contain both air and fluid phases in their pores and occur throughout the world. One of their major features is their volume and strength change behaviour upon wetting and drying. The aim of this research is to understand the behaviour of unsaturated soils through laboratory and field testing, to develop constitutive models that capture their basic features, and to develop robust, efficient algorithms to implement these models and for solving boundary and initial value problems.

  • Contaminant Migration

    Mathematical models have been developed that will accurately predict the long term effectiveness of clay barriers for resisting the dispersion of fluoride contaminated waste. The ultimate objective is to assist practising geotechnical engineers in the design of waste containment systems. The theoretical work for this project is being complemented by an extensive experimental study of the behaviour of fluoride.