Geotechnical Research Group

The Geotechnical Research Group (GRG) was formerly established in 2008, and has grown to a team that comprises 2 academic staff (Dr Conleth O’Loughlin, Dr Pat Naughton), 1 postdoctoral researcher (Dr Philip Hull) and 6 postgraduate students.

The Geotechnical Research Group at IT Sligo conducts applied research that is highly relevant to issues currently facing the geotechnical industry. The core of our research is utilisation of the IT Sligo geotechnical centrifuge to investigate soil-structure interaction problems to develop innovative design concepts for complex geotechnical problems.

Geotechnical centrifuge modelling is the most powerful investigative tool for revealing the mechanisms that govern the behaviour of complex soil-structure interaction problems. In view of this, IT Sligo have established the first and only geotechnical centrifuge facility in Ireland, and in so doing, have greatly enhanced the group’s capabilities.

Research in the group falls within two broad thematic areas; onshore geotechnics for infrastructure projects and offshore geotechnics for the energy industry. Our approach is to utilise centrifuge modelling to obtain experimental data that can be used as a performance indicator for foundation systems, and as a means of validating and developing analytical design tools that can be readily implemented by industry.

Our research outputs have been disseminated in leading international geotechnical journals (e.g. ICE Géotechnique, ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering) and at the most influential international conferences. Much of our research is in collaboration with other research centres in Ireland and overseas (e.g. Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, University of Western Australia, Virginia Tech, USA) and with industry (Deep Sea Anchors, Norway; In Situ SI, UK; Maccaferri, Italy; Terram, UK; Linear Composites, UK).

The group is growing rapidly – our vision is that over the next 3 years we would grow to a group of 5 key researchers (2 academics and 3 postdoctoral researchers) supported by 10-12 postgraduate students, and that through this growth we would establish a financially self-sustaining centre of excellence for applied geotechnical research at IT Sligo by 2012. We are already well on our way towards achieving this goal, having attracted competitive funding of circa €0.7 m over the past 2 years.