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Geotechnical and Environmental Research Group



Professor Gopal Madabhushi leads a research group on geotechnical earthquake engineering. Professor Madabhushi has wide-ranging interests in this field from post earthquake field investigations to experimental and numerical investigations of liquefaction induced failure mechanisms of civil engineering structures. He served as the chairman of EEFIT (Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team) that operates under the auspices of Institution of Structural Engineers, London and continues as the member of the Missions Expert Group (MEG). He is a member of the Research and Education sub-committee of SECED. He is also a member of the Technical Committee TC2 of ISSMGE and heads the sub-committee on Teaching Resources. He is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering and serves as the Editorial Board member of Geo-mechanics Engineering (GAE) Journal. Professor Madabhushi’s research has been funded by EPSRC, EU, NSF USA, Newton Trust, Santa Clara University, USA, Mott MacDonald, UK, Shimizu Corporation, Japan.

Professor Madabhushi is currently working on developing a European network under FP7 with the project titled ‘Seismic Engineering Research Infrastructure for European Synergies – SERIES’. This is a 8.4 million Euro project with 24 partners geographically distributed around Europe and Turkey involving University facilities, specialised testing laboratories and industrial partners.

Professor Madabhushi worked on the development of the Servo-Hydraulic earthquake actuator which was partly funded by EPSRC (EP/F036140/1 of £89,478) and partly by SRIF-2 (£53,000). Also developed was a powerful 2-D servo-hydraulic earthquake actuator that can create horizontal and vertical accelerations in the soil models. An EPSRC project (EP/D079691/1) of £220,000 was also completed to help link the dynamic centrifuge facility at Cambridge to the 1-g shaking table facility at University of Bristol and sub-structure testing rig at University of Oxford.

Many boundary value problems have been studied ranging from liquefaction induced lateral flow past piles supported by Shimizu Corporation, plastic buckling of piles, liquefaction-induced settlement of rock fill dams etc. In a recent project the dynamic soil-structure interaction of foundations of heavy structures such as Nuclear Reactor Buildings that are founded on stratified soil. Professor Madabhushi has a strong interest in Finite Element analyses of liquefaction problems. The FEA have been used to investigate many boundary value problems including the sheet pile walls, dynamic SSI problems with heavy foundations etc.

The geotechnical interest in liquefaction problems also extends to the counter measures that are currently being used worldwide to mitigate damage. In this area Professor Madabhushi has researched into the in-situ densification as a liquefaction mitigation measure at bridge foundations in a £170k project supported by EPSRC and Mott MacDonald. Similarly the efficacy of field drains in dissipating the excess pore water pressures generated during liquefaction was investigated. In this strand of research, Professor Madabhushi has played a key role in the recently completed ε4.5 million EU project NEMISREF that looked at novel strategies to mitigate seismic risk of foundations of existing buildings. This project involved several European partners that include from academic institutions Ecole Centrale Polytechnic in Paris, Aristotle University in Thessalonica, UTCB, Bucharest, University of Bristol and from Industry Solatanche-Bachy in France, Stamatopoulous and Associates and IGME in Greece, LNEC in Portugal.  Following the collaboration between Cambridge and LCPC, Nantes under the exchange program funded by the British Council in France along with the French Council, Professor Madabhushi gave lectures in the French Lycee to year 12 and 13 students to promote an interest in Science and Technology using earthquake engineering and dynamic centrifuge testing as vehicles.

A new area of research that has evolved over last five years is the seismic behaviour of waste containment structures. The work in this area has been supported by Santa Clara University, California that has led to a research proposal to NSF, USA. Exciting new data on load distribution on landfill components such as geomembrane layers following earthquake loading with or without liquefaction are coming to light. A new model waste has been developed that mimics the MSW under static and dynamic loading. Similarly exciting results have been obtained on cracking of clays that provided insight into the strain level required to observe cracking of landfill liners. Collaborative plans are being developed with Loughborough University to carryout research into the mechanical behaviour of landfill liners.

Following the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 that led to wide spread destruction in several Asian countries, Professor Madabhushi along with Dr Thusyanthan started working on the effects of Tsunami wave loading on coastal buildings. This research was carried out in collaboration with Buro Happold and MIT who developed a Tsunami Safe(r) building. This design was reproduced at model scale and was testing in a large wave tank facility at the Schofield Centre. Comparisons were made between the performance of this specially designed building and a traditional Sri Lankan house construction under the action of Tsunami wave loading. Parts of this research were included in the Discovery Channel program on effects of Tsunami waves. This research is currently being funded by the Royal Society and plans are underway to recreate Tsunami waves in the mini-drum centrifuge facility. More details on this work are available at . This has led to a Royal Society Grant that helps us establish more rigorously the impact wave loading on the structures using small scale modelling.


Key publications: 

Please click here for Professor Madabhushi's publication list.

ORCID icon ORCID: 0000-0003-4031-8761

Other Professional Activities

Quite different from geotechnical earthquake engineering, Dr Madabhushi has a special interest in Biomechanics. He has researched into the biomechanics of revision Total Hip Arthoplasty (THA) looking at the mechanics of bone graft and novel materials such as bioglass used in these procedures. A special CAM shear apparatus was developed to estimate the shear strength of the bone graft. Finite element based numerical analyses were also carried out to look at the stress redistribution in the bone graft surrounding the prosthesis. An overview of this work was presented at a Biomineralisation workshop organised by CURE and new links have been developed with University of Southampton to further advance this research. This collaboration has led to the development of a vibro-compactor named ‘Vibone’ that allows for effective impaction of bone graft during the THA revision surgeries. This device won the Medical Innovations Award and a patent application has been made.  Dr Madabhushi is a member of the committee that is developing the new subject group Engineering for Life Sciences at Cambridge.

Director of Schofield Centre
Head of Geotechnical Group
Professor Gopal Santana Phani Madabhushi

Contact Details

Schofield Centre
High Cross
Madingley Road
+44 (0)1223 768053
Takes PhD students
Available for consultancy