Geophysical investigation and structural engineering

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


The presence of fine, wet, soft sediments (such as alluvial silts, sands & clays) and evaporite deposits (e.g., halite and gypsum beds) in the near sub-surface is problematic for the long-term integrity and performance of engineered earthworks such as embankments. For large-scale transport infrastructure projects, it is vital that we develop sophisticated modelling, monitoring, characterisation and prediction tools in order to determine how these materials behave over their life cycle and, therefore, ensure the geomechanical integrity of the infrastructure asset. This is particularly true for longer-term asset management systems due to the effect of weather extremes and the increasing uncertainty of climate-change patterns. This project will work with HS2's Geotechnical division to develop a new method for the geophysical assessment of soil/sediment strength over time along the HS2 route in areas of potential instability and higher operational integrity risk (e.g., the halite fields of Cheshire, alluvial sediments of the Trent Valley, etc). By combining the latest in geophysical, geotechnical, geological and Lidar survey methods, the student will develop new integrated sub-surface imaging, mapping, monitoring, modelling and visualisation tools to determine the strength, performance and long-term resilience of these 'soft, wet sediments' to climatic change and construction-related operations. Over the 4-year period of the project, the student will create advanced visco-elastic modelling techniques/code that will be used in combination with cutting-edge geophysical monitoring data from "the train as the source" passive seismic methods and 4D spectral resistivity imaging approaches developed at the University of Birmingham. These new tools will be developed and evaluated at the new, BEIS/EPSRC-funded £27M National Buried Infrastructure Facility on campus before being tested and optimised on site for operational use.


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R512436/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021
1943792 Studentship EP/R512436/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021 Zachary Lloyd