National Soil-Foundation-Structure Interaction (SoFSI) Laboratory

The University of Bristol has received capital investment of £12M for the construction of a National Soil-Foundation-Structure Interaction (SoFSI) Laboratory to enable large prototype scale experiments for use by both academics and industry.

The ways in which real structures, such as offshore wind turbines, large span bridges, rail tracks, nuclear power plants and buildings, actually interact with their foundations and the surrounding soil are inadequately understood, resulting in conservatisms in design, construction and operation, that drives up costs and inhibits innovation.  

This laboratory will integrate structural and geotechnical engineering for soil structure testing and will fill key gaps in our understanding which cannot be resolved using conventional, smaller scale, laboratory tests or prototype observations. The SoFSI Facility will enable us to deliver a unique, high value, capability for de-risking investments in innovation and development, for example in life-extension techniques for existing infrastructure or the application of new materials and devices.

The SoFSI facility will comprise:

  • strong floors and reaction walls
  • a 6mx6m (50t) uniaxial shaking table
  • an 8mx6m pit with a depth of approximately 8m
  • a state of the art soil box incorporating dynamic actuators

Construction is due to begin in 2019, with full operation by late 2020.  Research funding is being established so that the laboratory will be fully active from 2021. 


For more information please contact Professor Anastasio Sextos.

This is a unique opportunity to promote innovation and improve our understanding of how infrastructure actually works at full-scale in the laboratory and in the field.

Professor George Mylonakis, Head of Research Group
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