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UWA facility oil and gas boon

A NEW test facility at the Univer-sity of WA could be a boon for the offshore oil and gas industry.

The commissioning of a $400,000 drum centrifuge has provided the university with the only advanced research facility of its kind in Australia.

Centrifuge testing involves rotational motion to generate high gravitational forces on small-scale soil models, simulating in hours the behaviour of soils that would naturally take years to develop.

The new equipment was jointly funded by UWA, industry bodies and the Department of Commerce and Trade.

UWA vice-chancellor Deryck Schreuder said it would be operated by UWA’s Centre for Off-shore Foundation Systems which had helped major research into the mechanics of seabed sediments and the performance of offshore oil and gas platforms.

It will allow new research into many areas including offshore foundation and anchoring systems, the deposition and consolidation of mine tailings, wave loading and sediment studies for coastal engineering, landfill design and the performance of landfill barriers, and remediation techniques for contaminated sites.

Professor Schreuder said the new facility would boost WA’s international reputation as a centre of high-calibre offshore foundation research and attract more research funding into the state.

The new technology has already enabled the establishment of links between UWA and the National University of Singapore and Dalian University of Technology in China, as well as with major international geotechnical consulting groups.

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