Research project numgeo-ACT
Automatic calibration of advanced constitutive soil models

Research project : numgeo-ACT

Project name Automatic calibration of advanced constitutive soil models
Acronym numgeo-ACT
Project partner
Duration Since 2021, ongoing
Project content The sustainable yet economical realisation of the energy and mobility transition, as well as the secure disposal of mining by-products, are not sufficiently addressed by current design and planning methods. This presents significant challenges for geotechnical engineers in Germany and indeed globally. Examples of this include the economical planning of offshore wind energy installations (encompassing their entire lifespan, as well as their decommissioning and recycling or repowering) and ensuring the safety against the failure of tailings. These issues must be viewed sustainably and holistically, something current design and planning methods can only address to a limited extent. Advanced numerical methods hold significant potential in this regard.

The use of numerical methods in geotechnical design is on the cusp of a major shift in Europe. With the introduction of the new Eurocode 7 (DIN EN 1997), the use of the FEM is explicitly permitted and regulated. At the same time, there's a growing willingness among design engineers to utilise advanced constitutive soil models for a realistic description of soil behaviour, provided this is economically feasible and accepted by experts. However, determining the necessary model parameters requires a high level of expertise and is often very time-consuming. To address this, we have developed software for the automatic calibration of such advanced constitutive soil models. This software, based on laboratory tests and using heuristic optimisation algorithms, identifies a parameter set that's superior in robustness and predictive capability to traditional calibration. A central challenge lies in the highly nonlinear and discontinuous nature of the optimisation problem.
This project establishes the necessary framework for geotechnical design to efficiently and economically draw upon the latest scientific developments in powerful numerical methods in the future, which is essential for safe, sustainable, and resource-efficient design.