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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R012806/1
Title: UKCRIC - Bristol Soil-Foundation-Structure Interaction Facility (SoFSI)
Principal Investigator: Taylor, Professor CA
Other Investigators:
Karamitros, Dr D Sextos, Professor A Stoten, Professor DP
Mylonakis, Professor G Diambra, Dr A Ibraim, Dr E
Neild, Professor SA Crewe, Dr AJ
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Civil Engineering
Organisation: University of Bristol
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 April 2017 Ends: 31 March 2021 Value (£): 9,600,000
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Construction
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
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.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.bris.ac.uk