A University of Newcastle researcher is investigating new ways to predict the stability of underground structures such as road tunnels, railway tunnels, waste repositories and mine tunnels.
Professor Scott Sloan, the Director of the University's Priority Research Centre for Geotechnical and Materials Modelling, will receive more than $500,000 over three years from the Australian Research Council (ARC) for his research project.
"The sheer size of the investment by the ARC and the University into this research indicates how critically important it is for the construction and mining industries," Professor Sloan said.
"The consequences of underground structures collapsing can be catastrophic.
"Underground space will feature prominently in the future of civil infrastructure - cities in Australia curently have underground transport projects worth more than $4 billion in progress, with more being planned. Similarly, new underground mining projects are being developed at a rapid rate as a result of the resources boom.
"This project will develop new solutions for predicting the stability of a wide variety of underground openings in soil and rock, leading to safer and more cost-effective designs of underground infrastructure."
The University of Newcastle will be closed for the Christmas break from 5pm, Tuesday 18 December 2007 and reopen Monday 7 January 2008.
During this time, urgent media inquiries can be directed to the following staff:
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Best wishes from the University of Newcastle Media and Public Relations team for a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.