University of Nottingham

Nottingham Centre for Geomechanics

Nottingham Centre for Geomechanics

The Nottingham Centre for Geomechanics (NCG) is a multi-disciplinary research centre interested in the mechanics of geomaterials. Its cross-disciplinary nature encompasses civil, materials, and mining engineering along with mathematics. The NCG aims to provide solutions to soil and rock related problems in engineering design and construction.

Head of NCG: Dr. Alec Marshall

The NCG has two main facilities:

Soil Mechanics Laboratory - for testing ‘soft’ earth particulate materials, mainly soils and granular materials

Rock Mechanics Laboratory - for testing rocks together with materials used in the support of rock excavations



Soil Mechanics

Geotechnical Centrifuge
The geotechnical centrifuge is a 50g-tonne machine able of producing model acceleration of up to 150g maximum with a 500kg max payload. The Geotechnical centrifuge can be used to test plane-strain and axis-symmetric models. The centrifuge has a 2m beam radius.
GDS Hollow Cylinder Apparatus
The GDS Hollow Cylinder Apparatus can apply a wide range of stresses on a hollow cylindrical specimen, controlling the magnitude and direction of the three principal stresses; plain strain, simple shear and very small shear strain. The loading systems are computer controlled and strains can be measured directly on the test specimen. Standard and advanced triaxial tests can be conducted on standard solid cylindrical test specimens.
GDS Dynamic Simple Shear System
The DCSS can be used for research into dynamic
soil behaviour with its ability to model many types of field loading conditions. It allows for a smooth and continuous rotation through 90 degrees of the principal stress directions. Additionally, the dynamic cyclic ability allows investigation of damping ratio and liquefaction.
GDS Advanced Stress Path Triaxial Testing System
The PC-Controlled GDS Advanced Stress Triaxial Testing System is capable of testing sands and clays at two specimen’s sizes: 38mm and 50mm. It uses GDSLAB software and the classic Bishop & Wesley type stress path triaxial cell with an internal submersible load cell. The 38/50mm cell is for up to 7kN axial force.
GDS Large diameter Cyclic Triaxial Testing System
The GDS Large Diameter Cyclic Triaxial Testing System is a hydraulically actuated load frame with a large diameter triaxial cell suitable for testing samples with large particle sizes such as railway blast. The system is capable of monotonic, dynamic and advanced triaxial tests. It has a 100kN load range and 0 to 10 10Hz load frequency.
GDS High Pressure Triaxial System
The GDS High Pressure Triaxial System is used for research into the behaviour of stiff soil. It features the virtual infinite stiffness system (VIS) improving accuracy of stifness measurments. It can accommodate samples of up to 100mm diameter with a cell pressure and back pressure of up to 64Mpa and an axial force of up to 100k.
Dynamic Triaxial Testing System

The Dynamic Triaxial Testing System provides PC automation of:

  • Independently programmable cyclic control of axial load and radial stress
  • Cyclic axial deformation control
  • Stress path control to set up datum of cyclic loading
  • B check and saturation ramps
  • Classic axial compression and extension tests, stress controlled or strain controlled
  • Generalized stress path control; mixed drained sand undrained
  • K-zero consolidation and swelling


Rock Mechanics

RDP Howden 100 Tonne Servo-Controlled Stiff Press
A 100 tonne servo hydraulic stiff press with a large working area (1m2) and an adjustable height of up to 1.5m. A servo-controlled triaxial cell with volumetric measurement and high speed computer logging. The machine is currently used in the testing of the compressive strength of rocks.
Avery 500 Tonne Compression Test Machine
The Avery 500 tonne Compression Testing Machine has a working area of 1m3. The machine is currently used for testing the compressive strength of rocks.
20 Tonne Denison Universal Testing Machines
The Dennison is a large 20 tonne universal testing machine with tensile gripping jaws for compressive strength of rocks.
Creep Test Facility
  • Sample lengths up to 600mm
  • Sample diameters up to 100mm
  • Constant load up to 50 tonnes
  • Test periods in excess of 20 days
Capability to perform full suite of 'index' test on rock sample
  • Cerchar
  • Point Load testing
  • NCB Cone indentor
  • Shore Scleroscope
  • Fracture toughness
Large Radial Core Rig
The Large Radial Core Rig is a comprehensive instrument capable of handling 4 tonne blocks, monitoring, logging and controlling 16 influencing parameters.
Rock Sample Preparation Equipment
  • 150mm Rock shear box with servo-controlled normal force
  • TS 350FD Diamond Saw
  • Large Masonary Saw
  • Small Diamond Blade Saw
  • Jones & Shipman 540 Surface Grinder for Rock Preparation
  • Constant Head Permeability Lab Equipment
  • Falling Head Permeability Lab Equipment


You can browse through the key research equipment based at the University of Nottingham using the Kit Catalogue System (Password required – UoN staff only)


The above information is available on the Nottingham Centre for Geomechanics website.


GeoEnergy Research Centre