UKCRIC - Bristol Soil-Foundation-Structure Interaction Facility (SoFSI)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Civil Engineering

Abstract

The primary motivation of UKCRIC is to drive down the cost of infrastructure and to extract increased value from it. Epistemic uncertainty is at the heart of these cost and value issues. The original UKCRIC proposal set out the need for large to prototype scale experimentation as an essential part of resolving key epistemic uncertainties. Soil-foundation-structure interaction (SFSI) is one of the topics carrying greatest uncertainty. Current engineering methods and codes of practice tend to treat the three elements of the problem separately and usually only introduce their coupling through the crudest of means. As a result, the implications, deficiencies and benefits of whether or not to consider the holistic system response, especially for dynamic loadings, are poorly understood. This leads to over-conservatism in many designs, to restrictions on innovation due to the perceived uncertainties, and in some cases to unexpected failures, particularly where earthquake and other dynamic loads are concerned. Conventional smaller scale laboratory modelling and available numerical modelling techniques are unable to capture reliably many of these holistic system response effects. The UKCRIC scientific case successfully argued the need for a large scale dynamic soil-foundation-structure interaction facility on these grounds.

The UKCRIC Soil-Foundation-Structure Interaction Facility (SoFSI), to be built at the University of Bristol, will be a large outdoor compound populated with modular reaction walls, reaction slabs, servo-hydraulic and other equipment and office spaces, which can be reconfigured and augmented to suit the needs of particular experiments. The envisaged compound will measure 150x50m and will have a simple, reconstitutable, crushed rock bed on top of which modular reaction slabs or other suitable surface preparations may be applied to suit the needs of the experiment. Secure modular offices will be based on ISO standard shipping container patterns. Reaction walls and soil specimen containers will be built from large interlocking reinforced concrete blocks that can be pre-stressed together, or bolstered by steel beams, for strength and stiffness. The blocks will be detailed to accommodate actuator and other equipment attachments, and to facilitate safe access and working conditions amongst other requirements. Sensitive equipment, such as actuators and hydraulic power pack modules, will be enclosed in purpose designed weather-proof enclosures. Control rooms will be in mobile offices, positioned locally to the experiment and configured to suit the needs of the latter. Where necessary, overall environmental protection will be provided by clad scaffolding envelopes over the whole rig.

The SoFSI facility will be a node of the UKCRIC Bristol Collaboratory (living laboratory) through a high performance network connection to the innovative Bristol Is Open (BIO) IT network infrastructure (www.bristolisopen.com). The Collaboratory's accessible engagement and co-production spaces, with advanced data visualisation capabilities, and connections to BIO, will allow broad user engagement and participation in the co-production of SoFSI activities. Through the BIO connection and Collaboratory capabilities, infrastructure professionals, owners and businesses will be able to work with academics to conceive and execute SoFSI experimental programmes and to access and use the resulting data more readily. The Collaboratory co-production spaces will be open to citizens and young people, with satellite nodes being located in schools, colleges and community centres around the city-region. This will enable the UKCRIC SoFSI community to engage actively with these groups, raising public awareness of the research and, most importantly, stimulating the pipeline of future engineers and infrastructure professionals.

Planned Impact

Not required for the VfM case

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The SoFSI facility is still in the design phase. However, extensive engagement with industry as part of the design brief formulation has helped to mobilise a strongly interested industry user group. These discussions have started a co-production process that is beginning to draw together a shared understanding of research needs into the long term, which will feed into the facility and overall UKCRIC research route mapping as the latter develops.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Construction,Energy,Environment,Transport
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Industry workshop on Reducing the Cost of Nuclear, Bristol, 5 June 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A one-day workshop with a leading nuclear operator and its wider supply chain, discussing the needs for seismic soil-structure interaction research. This led to the formation of a working group and a follow-up workshop with the aim of scoping a long term research and development route map.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Parnership building meeting with Atkins 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Small workshop meeting with Atkins to explore industry needs for the UKCRIC Soil-Foundation-Structure Interaction facility (SoFSI). Contributed to raising awareness of the proposed facility, eliciting performance requirements, prioritisation of use cases, and input to research route mapping.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Participation in South West Infrastructure Panel of SW ICE (07/02/2018) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Membership of newly formed SW Infrastructure Panel of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Opportunity to feed in ideas and techniques from UrbanID, ReDReSC and UKCRIC into policy coordination for infrastructure across the SW of England.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Participation in meeting with Mayor of Bristol and local business regarding One City Plan (12/10/2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Injection of policy and practice ideas from UKCRIC, ReDReSC and UrbanID projects into formative discussions about the One City plan, chaired by the Mayor of Bristol (Marvin Rees) and local business leaders.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Partnership building meeting with Arup (05/04/2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Small workshop meeting with Arup to explore industry needs for the UKCRIC Soil-Foundation-Structure Interaction facility (SoFSI). Contributed to raising awareness of the proposed facility, eliciting performance requirements, prioritisation of use cases, and input to research route mapping.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Partnership building meeting with HR Wallingford (25/05/2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Small workshop meeting with HR Wallingford to explore industry needs for the UKCRIC Soil-Foundation-Structure Interaction facility (SoFSI). Contributed to raising awareness of the proposed facility, eliciting performance requirements, prioritisation of use cases, and input to research route mapping.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Partnership building meeting with Jacobs (11/05/2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Small workshop meeting with Jacob to explore industry needs for the UKCRIC Soil-Foundation-Structure Interaction facility (SoFSI). Contributed to raising awareness of the proposed facility, eliciting performance requirements, prioritisation of use cases, and input to research route mapping.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Partnership building workshop with Bristol City Council City Control Room Leaders 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Small workshop meeting with Bristol City Council City Control Room Leaders to explore industry needs for the UKCRIC facilties, UrbanID and ReDReSC projects. Contributed to raising awareness of the proposed facility, eliciting performance requirements, prioritisation of use cases, and input to research route mapping.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Poster display about UKCRIC SoFSI facility at Int Conf on Next Generation Infrastructure, ICE, London, 11-13 Sept 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Poster display about the UKCRIC SoFSI facility development, on show in the refreshments area of this international conference.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Project Demonstration during the Engineering Research Showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Talk during the School of Engineering Reseach Showcase
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwJaMvxwVuo
 
Description SoFSI Industry workshop, 04/05/2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop meeting with consultants, contractors and infrastructure owners to explore industry needs for the UKCRIC Soil-Foundation-Structure Interaction facility (SoFSI). Contributed to raising awareness of the proposed facility, eliciting performance requirements, prioritisation of use cases, and input to research route mapping.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Soil-structure interaction workshop with EDF, Saclay, France, 26 Novemnber 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This follow-on workshop explore research needs with respect to seismic soil-structure interaction research as part of an ongoing process to develop a long term research route map. Bristol and French universities described their work, and EDF related this to their seismic safety needs. This was a first step in building collaborative partnerships with French colleagues and industry. A further workshop is planned for the summer of 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description UKCRIC Urban Observatories/National Infrastructure Commission workshop, held as part of Festival of the Future Cities week (17/10/2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A day long workshop focused on the UKCRIC Urban Observatories developments and links to the National Infrastructure Commission's policy development around digital twins.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Urban Living Partnership workshop session at Festival of the Future City, Bristol (19/10/2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An afternoon workshop session featuring presentations from all 5 Urban Living Partnership Pilot projects. Progress update on Bristol UrbanID project, with further reference to UKCRIC and ReDReSC.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017