Nottingham Centre for Geomechanics

PhD Students 

kunkun cheng

Kunkun Cheng

PhD title: Centrifuge tests of monopile foundations under cyclic lateral loading

Supervisor: Dr Alec Marshall and Dr Charles Heron

Research summary
The research will undertake analytical/numerical and physical modelling of wind energy foundation systems. The research aims to better understand the long-term behaviour of offshore wind turbine foundations, an area of significant interest and uncertainty within industry. This research is highly specialist and will rely on the use of a geotechnical centrifuge for model-scale testing of turbine foundations. The outcome of this research will help to improve current design codes of offshore wind turbine foundations.
Ge Cui cropped

Ge Cui

PhD title: Soil-pile Interaction due to Railway Induced Vibration 

Supervisors: Dr Charles Heron and  Dr Alec Marshall 

Research title
Vibrations emanating from railways can cause disturbance for local residents and interfere with the functions of adjacent buildings. The aim of this research is to improve the understanding of railway induced vibrating travelling from, or to, piled foundations. This research relies on data from centrifuge tests in which small-scale models are tested at an elevated g-level to replicate prototype stress conditions and hence obtain the correct constitutive behaviour of the soil. Dynamic loads are applied to the top of a single pile using a small shaker and the vibrations within the soil are monitored by accelerometers. 
Angus Pettey

Angues Pettey 

PhD title: A Micro-Mechanical Study of Soil-Structure Interfaces

Supervisors:  Dr Alec MarshallDr Charles Heron and Prof. Glenn McDowell

Research summary
This study aims to address the current shortcomings in knowledge related to the constitutive behaviour of soil-structure interfaces. By undertaking a series of element scale interface tests to investigate different influencing parameters, a fundamental understanding of the interface can be built. Traditional stress-strain data will be analysed in conjunction with advanced image analysis of particles at the interface, and microscopic analysis of the interface and crushed soil particles. 
By understanding fundamental mechanisms and building on fundamental theories, the resulting model will be applicable to a wide range of scenarios. Such an interface model would then be able to be fed into simulations of overall soil-structure-interaction systems, eliminating the current simplifications made when conducting such simulations.

Jacques Tott-Buswell

PhD Title: Dynamic Soil-Structure Interaction of Offshore Monopiles under Cyclic Loading

Supervisors: Luke J Prendergast, Dr Alec Marshall, and Dr Charles Heron

Research summary
With the increasing demand for renewable energy, the offshore wind industry aims to expand their territory into deeper environments, presenting harsher climates on Offshore Wind Turbine (OWT) infrastructure. This introduces difficulties when designing monopiles, as the required rigid geometries to resist higher loads induce uncertainties with current design standards, especially when exposed to dynamic loading conditions. Monopile’s simplicity in design and installation is a means of exploitation, especially with the global appetence for a sustainable future. This project aims to develop a non-linear simulator for monopiles to aid in the analysis of the soil-structure interaction under dynamic loading.
William Webb

William Webb

PhD Title: A Scale analysis of axisymmetric granular column collapses over a range of elevated gravitational accelerations

Supervisors:  Dr Charles Heron and Barbara Turnbull

Research summary

Granular flows can be found both in nature, as landslides, debris flows and rockfalls, and across a range of industries, such as food and pharmaceutical processing. In this research, we focus on the environmental setting, where the granular flow is typically complicated by the presence of water and a huge range of particle sizes present. These two factors greatly alter the scaling of these flows when creating laboratory prototypes.

The overall aim of the project, with the use of centrifuge testing, is to establish which dynamic processes determining flow outcomes are governed by which particle size ranges and to then implement these findings within simple analytical models and scalable numerical models which can be used to predict flow behaviour.


Yalin Yu

PhD Title: An investigation of tunnel-pile-building interaction using hybrid centrifuge modelling

Supervisors:  Dr Alec MarshallDr Bahman Ghiassi and Dr Jelena Ninic

Research summary
This project aims to study the response of buildings with piled foundations to tunnelling using the coupled centrifuge-numerical modelling (CCNM); a hybrid modelling technique. Advanced constitutive models will be implemented in ABAQUS and integrated into the existing CCNM application to reproduce the non-linear behaviour of buildings due to tunnelling. The findings are expected to give a reference for engineers to estimate the potential impact of tunnelling-induced ground movements on structures with deep foundations.
Chuanjin Tang

Chuanjin Tang

PhD title: Tunnel-pile interaction in layered sand.

Supervisors:  Dr Alec Marshall and  Dr Charles Heron

Research summary

My research aims to explore the influence of tunnel excavation in layered sand on the surface deformation and piles at different positions. A series of geotechnical centrifuge tests as well as additional methods at Nottingham Centre for Geomechanics will be conducted to collect data for further processing and analyzing.

The research findings will reveal tunneling-soil-pile interaction in layered sand modeling cases and provide references for project sites.

Jiaxin Zhang

Jiaxin Zhang

PhD Title: The effect of tunnelling on buildings with piled foundations

Supervisors:  Dr Charles Heron and Professor Barbara Turnbull 

Research summary
In many granular flows, from avalanches of brittle rocks to loading at soil-structure interfaces or pharmaceutical processing, individual particles may be prone to crushing, breaking into smaller pieces as the flow evolves. In this project we consider how such breakage can couple with granular segregation to alter the overall behaviour of granular flow. 
The kinetic sieving continuum model is a powerful tool for describing shallow avalanches. We propose to start by modifying the model to incorporating breakage and hence polydispersity. In future, additional exploration will be made to achieve the ultimate goal of simulating breakage and segregation.

Nottingham Centre for Geomechanics

Faculty of Engineering
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD