Congratulations to Luke Gardiner on winning the esteemed ‘Best Poster Award’ at the British Geotechnical Association Conference 2023 and graduating with a first from our Civil Engineering BEng(Hons) with integrated foundation year.
We caught up with Luke and Maria Diakoumi, Principal Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering about his project and the opportunity to get involved in research.
Luke’s dissertation and the work presented in his poster received high praise and the winning vote at the conference, an annual event attended by universities and industry. The poster focused on numerical modelling, building on earlier research on Gravity Base Structures for offshore foundations carried out by civil engineering lecturers Dr Maria Diakoumi and Dr Kevin Stone.
“This recognition is particularly significant given the tough competition from prestigious institutions such as the University of Cambridge, University of Oxford and Imperial College. We all felt very proud,” said Maria.
“My dissertation focused on the 3D modelling aspect of the topic,using modelling software called Plaxis 3D. It’s not software that is taught as a core module so I spent time learning it so I could use it to model the foundations,” Luke told us.
“The topic looked into the lateral forces that offshore piles are subject to and how to increase the capacity of the foundations in order to better resist these forces. Maria and Kevin had previously done practical research into this topic, so the 3D analysis was a continuation of this. I tried to demonstrate how the foundations would react under the same loading condition as the practical testing with foundation designs that weren’t practical to test, in an effort to better understand which design would be the most suitable for real-world application.
“Dr Maria Diakoumi’s continued support throughout my dissertation has left me with a real passion for geotechnical things given her specialities.”
Students are offered opportunities to get involved in research in our lecturers areas of expertise. “We offer our students the opportunity to get involved in research investigations that are current and have industrial relevance. They also get the opportunity to use our advanced laboratory facilities as well as research and industry standard software programmes. We also encourage and support our students to present their findings at local and international conferences,” said Maria.
And a final word of advice from Luke before he takes up his graduate placement as a structural engineer at Simson Engineering: “Be prepared for the workload, have a good plan in place for all of your deadlines, I know its very tempting but don’t leave it to the last minute. The university has many ways of helping students to manage their course load and if you feel overwhelmed just ask for help, your student tutors and teachers are always there to help. If you don’t understand something, chances are you’re not the only one in the room with the same question.”