The Soil Mechanics Laboratory, established in 1943, was relocated in 2003 from the historical site in Patission Street to the Zografou campus. The laboratory supports and complements the teaching and research needs of the Geotechnical Department, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, promotes the academic cooperation with research centres and academic institutions, and the organization of scientific lectures, meeting and seminars. The laboratory is equipped with state of the art advanced testing facilities used for the understanding of fundamental behaviour of soils and weak rocks. The facilities are used for academic and commercial research projects focused upon:
- The mechanics, behaviour, and strength and deformation properties measured with local instrumentation on soil samples (LVDTs, bender elements etc.).
- The generalized loading conditions (anisotropic) encountered in foundations, earth-retaining and earth-fill structures, in underwater slopes, and on seabed surface under the wave action and/or gravity-based foundations.
- The interrelationship between geotechnical and seismic characteristics of sediments, their liquefaction potential and stabilization methods.
- Artificial cementation (using nano-particles, slag, bio-cementation) to improve the mechanical properties of problematic soils.
- Remote monitoring of structure and ground movements.
- Numerical methods, numerical algorithms and constitutive models of soil behaviour under generalized loading conditions.
- Site-specific seismic hazard assessment; analysis and design of soil-foundation-structure interaction systems.
Τhe laboratory infrastructure is used for the twofold purpose of investigating the soil behaviour at element level and en masse to assess the performance of soil-structure systems; and includes:
- A hollow cylinder apparatus with the unique power, unlike its counterparts in European Universities, to apply static and dynamic loading under principal stress axes rotation.
- A range of low, medium (2 MPa) and high (10 MPa) pressure triaxial stress path cells and a dynamic triaxial apparatus, fully automated and equipped with up to date local instrumentation, have been developed in the lab for static and cyclic/dynamic loading.
- Reduced-scale experiments are performed using a 2 tons capacity shaking table and a push-over apparatus on equipment built in-house to assess the performance of soil-foundation-structure systems: (i) Fault rupture box (3 m x 1 m x 1 m), ii) Laminar box, iii) Transparent sand box (1.5 m x 1 m x 1 m), and auxiliary instrumentation.
- Standard Triaxials, Oedometers, Shear Box, devices simulating Retaining Wall, Ground Water Flow, Permeameters, are used for conventional laboratory testing.