Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems

Mechanics of seabed sediments

A reliable understanding of the mechanical behaviour of the seabed sediments is central to the safe design of seabed infrastructure, such as foundations and pipelines.

The calcareous seabed sediments found off the Australian coastline have unusual mechanical properties, being susceptible to softening, collapse and liquefaction in undrained conditions, while having high frictional strength in drained conditions.

Motivated by the needs of industry, COFS has led the development of new models for the behaviour of calcareous sediments, and has devised new techniques for establishing the mechanical properties of seabed sediments in general, through advanced in situ penetrometer testing.

Our research into seabed sediment behaviour involves soil element testing in our world-class laboratory, and in situ testing at various well-characterised onshore test sites in Western Australia.