"Safe, efficient and secure transport infrastructure is a fundamental requirement to facilitate and encourage the movement of goods and people throughout not only the EU, but the whole world. The performance of these networks is critically dependent on the function of cutting and embankment slopes. Many of these transport earthworks in Europe were constructed over 100 years ago and are not designed for today’s vehicle speed, frequency and weather conditions. The long-term intensive dynamic loads generated from the moving vehicles combined with the severe wet-dry weather conditions induced by climate change, increase the likelihood of transport infrastructure earthwork failures. Subsequently, leading to costly disruption of road and rail journeys, with risk to life and property. The EU’s leading position in achieving the 2030 goal for sustainable development emphasises the urgency to develop a low-carbon, and sustainable engineering solution that not only can increase resilience and protect vital transport earthworks, but also to reduce the impact on ecosystems and restore soil organic carbon loss caused by human activities. The conventional engineering orientated solution alone is insufficient to solve the problem. Therefore, this fellowship leverages traditional soil mechanics with soil science through new insightful numerical modelling, UQ analysis, laboratory and field tests to advance slope bioengineering methods (SBMs) by utilising biopolymer and vegetation together for the reinforcement. This technique is an aesthetically-pleasing, environmentally and ecologically-friendly alternative to traditional ""hard"" engineering methods, providing the additional environmental and societal benefits of carbon fixation, enhanced biodiversity and ecosystem restoration within the built environment. The knowledge and tools from this project can potentially be utilized in other areas, e.g. river bank, sand dunes, flood embankments management and agricultural and amenity systems."
Fields of science
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