Dynamic impact and fragmentation are highly complex phenomena. Members of the Priority Research Centre for Geotechnical Science and Engineering have been conducting world-class research on the topic applied to rockfall engineering.

Our team has developed sophisticated numerical models and advanced high-speed 3D tracking facilities over recent years to advance knowledge in this area.

Competitive advantage

  • Unique impact and fragmentation testing facilities
  • Access to customised CV-based 3D 6DoF tracking software
  • Extensive expertise in developing advanced numerical models
  • Expertise in conducting advanced full scale and small-scale material testing
  • Outstanding interdisciplinary research team with extensive industry engagement, including Australian Academy of Science medallist and postdoctoral fellows

Successful applications of research

  • Prediction of fragmentation probability from material properties
  • Characterisation of the effect of fragment size on perforation energy of systems


  • Road and Maritime Services
  • Geobrugg AG
  • Australian Coal Association Research Program
  • Australian Research Council


  • Optimisation of rockfall protection systems and impacted structures
  • Better assessment of the amount of energy dissipated in fragmentation
  • Prediction of kinetic energy of fragments for better protection
  • Understanding of the failure mechanics and fragmentation process of impacting objects

Capabilities and facilities

  • Small-scale and full-scale testing facilities
  • Advanced, synchronised high-speed multi-camera system
  • Custom-build fragmentation cell
  • High-speed pressure measurement sensor
  • Computational codes (FEM, DEM) for simulating dynamic impacts and fragmentation

Further reading on: Material Sciences and Manufacturing

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.