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Dr Gary Fowmes

Use of Additive Manufacture in Development of Geosynthetics

Geosynthetics are polymeric sheets or grids used to enhance the properties of the ground, and construction with these materials offers savings both in terms of cost and embodied carbon. The two projects below will focus on the use of additive manufacturing techniques to develop and prototype geosynthetic materials and sensor technologies for a range of applications, particularly focussing on reinforcement, barrier and drainage within civil engineering applications.

3d Printed Geogrids

Additive manufacture allows researchers the freedom to experiment with geometric variables and systematically tests the influence of each variable. The project will primarily consider development of geosynthetic reinforcing layers that can better intact with “marginal fills”. Marginal material is defined as aggregates or other soil material that is not within the limits typically prescribed by design codes, but is widely available on construction sites. The ability to utilise marginal fills offers the construction industry huge financial and environmental benefits when compared to importing aggregate to site. The research will involve study of materials, analysing how they strain and fail, proposing new materials with improved properties and testing and analysing the performance through physical testing, interferometry and scanning electron microscopy.

3d Printed Sensors for Geosynthetics

Geosynthetics have been utilised for several decades, and whilst some research has been undertaken to monitor in situ performance, little has been done to take advantage of the geosynthetic as a sensor itself to monitor the geotechnical health of a structure. This project will utilise the state of the art facilities at the University of Warwick to develop sensors for strain, displacement and temperature that can be quickly and cheaply printed onto geosynthetics. The vision of the project is that all geosynthetics will routinely have sensors printed onto them, thus greatly increasing the monitoring capability of these geosystems.

For more information contact Dr Gary Fowmes (G.Fowmes@Warwick.ac.uk)

It is envisaged applicants will have a strong analytical background and may have experience of laboratory testing and/or manufacturing. Whilst the application of the project is civil engineering focused, applicants are also welcomed from other engineering or applied scientific disciplines. The applicant will join a team at the forefront of geosynthetics research and development. Dr Fowmes has been involved in the geosynthetics industry since 2004, and has well established connections with the industry in the UK and internationally. He is immediate past chairman of the International geosynthetics Society in the UK and has recently completed a £120,000 EPSRC funded project investigating the use of additive manufactures in geomembrane barriers.

Note: Should your application for admission be accepted you should be aware that this does not constitute an offer of financial support. Please refer to the scholarships & funding pages.