Research project - Analysis of sand crushing in soil-structure interface problems
Supervisor: Dr Itai Einav
Sand crushing, one of the most complicated and least understood soil phenomena is a major challenge for geotechnical design. At issue are the safety, longevity and cost-efficiency of large structures such as offshore oil rigs that are anchored in breakable sands. Research into collapse problems has concentrated on non-crushable sands.
As oil and gas exploration and production continues to move further offshore into deeper waters, the industry faces increasing design challenges and unusual ground conditions. One of the main goals of geotechnical engineers is to analyse and predict failure mechanisms for engineering problems. My focus will be on calcareous sand, which is typically found along Australia’s shorelines, offshore seabed and in arid regions, and provides major challenges for geotechnical design. The soil is highly breakable, with high void ratios and generally weak grains. Despite the common occurrence of these soils in Australia and many other countries, no sound means have been established to model the impact of grain crushing in collapse problems.
My research aim is to develop novel numerical and experimental visualisation techniques to gain a profound understanding of sand crushing, in relation to geotechnical collapse problems such as determination of pullout capacity of piles and deep penetrating offshore anchors.