National Soil-Foundation-Structure Interaction Laboratory

National Soil-Foundation-Structure Interaction Laboratory

The National Soil-Foundation-Structure Interaction Laboratory (SoFSI), located at the University of Bristol, integrates structural and geotechnical engineering for soil structure testing.

The facility fills key gaps in the understanding which cannot be resolved using conventional, smaller scale, laboratory tests or prototype observations. Those using the SoFSI laboratory can conduct experiments on large to full-scale examples of bridge piers and abutments, building foundations, retaining walls, embankments, and similar problems where earth interacts with structures, allowing a wide range of static, vibration and earthquake-like loads to be applied. The facility enables important industry problems to be answered that cannot be resolved by conventional, smaller sized experiments. 

The way structures interact with their foundations and the surrounding soil are inadequately understood, resulting in conservatisms in design, construction and operation, that drive up costs and inhibit innovation. Using the evidence base generated by the SoFSI laboratory will enable de-risking of investments in innovation and development, for example in life-extension techniques for existing infrastructure or the application of new materials and devices. 

Who can use the facility Functions/facilities available

Industry research and consultancy

All equipment

Academic researchers All equipment
Fellowships and PhD Studentships All equipment

Facility Highlights

  • £12m investment
  • A 6mx4m (50t) bi-axial shaking table
  • An 6mx5mx4m deep soil pit with actuators
  • A 1mx1m high performance (10g) shaking table
  • A state-of-the-art soil box on the shaking table
  • Strong floors and reaction walls

Find out more

Visit site

Contact Professor Anastasios Sextos,

Watch the National Soil-Foundation Structure  Interaction Laboratory presentation or download the slides as a PDF.