Research Facilities

The Geotechnical Centre is located in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering in the Markin/CNRL Natural Resources Engineering Facility (NREF). With over 300,000 square feet of floor area, NREF houses 78 research laboratories, 26 specialized instructional laboratories, and many high-tech lecture rooms.

Our commitment to research excellence has led to the establishment of several specialized facilities, which are well tailored for the innovative research programs led by the Geotechnical Centre. In addition to our research groups, the following are our unique research laboratories:

The CFI/I2P2-funded Geotechnical & Geoenvironmental Engineering Cold Regions Research Facility

  • ideal for conducting research related to cold regions engineering

  • consists of six cold rooms that can provide temperature environments down to -40°C

  • researchers can reproduce extreme conditions and research the effect of cold weather on infrastructure

The CFI/AET-funded Applied Environmental Geochemistry Research Facility

  • is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies to conduct sample testing for the prevention, assessment and remediation of soil, groundwater and surface water contamination

  • researchers can quantify organic compounds, pesticides, ions and trace metals in soil and groundwater in the parts per billion and for certain compounds in the parts per trillion

  • is dedicated to cross-disciplinary oil sands tailings research

  • enables fundamental exploration of new concepts which then can be tested at the pilot scale ultimately providing the parameters to assist with the design of a field scale pilot and/or field demonstration

  • unique, integrated, multidisciplinary university research laboratory environments that enable breakthroughs in our understanding of constitutive material behaviour and our ability to simulate their complex reservoir geomechanical behavior during recovery of unconventional hydrocarbons at multiple scales

  • facilitates reservoir geomechanical research in reservoir simulation, reservoir surveillance design and implementation, and field services including core preservation and transport, instrumentation design, and experimental programs

  • includes GeoREF, GeoCERF, GeoPrint and GeoRMT

  • is equipped with two abrasion testing apparatuses to evaluate the abrasion resistance and toughness of aggregate materials used for railways and pavement

  • researchers also use a variety of advanced field sensors and monitoring technologies, including 3D ground penetrating radar, LiDAR (produces 3D models from scanned images), a geographic information system facility to manage field data and an instrumented rail car to measure track deflection

The Mine Waste Laboratory

  • offers an extensive facility for classical geotechnical testing in mine waste materials as well as advanced capacity in unsaturated soil mechanics and slurry characterization

  • Our unique equipment include a large slurry consolidometer and Eddy Covariance devices courtesy of a CFI/EDTT award.

Our computing facilities and software are of the quality expected at a top-notch university. A strategic collaborative agreement has been established with Itasca Consulting Group Inc. for access to their commercial software and the training of researchers. Itasca develops highly specialized software that is uniquely suitable for structure interaction problems under dynamic loading conditions.