Geotechnics and Natural Phenomena

Driven by a spirit of innovation, we develop new solutions in geotechnics and special civil engineering. We support river and lake conservation and increase protection from natural hazards.

We develop processes and measures for high-performance geotechnical structures and components such as retaining structures, pre-stressed and unstressed anchors or pile and shallow foundations.

Taking account of the requirements of spatial planning, health and the energy requirements of society, we develop sustainable and environmentally sound solutions for river and lake conservation and flood control.

We also draw up principles for guidelines and new testing methods to assess protective measures and to estimate the potential danger of natural phenomena, such as rockfalls, avalanches, mudslides and landslides.

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Service portfolio

We provide tailored solutions for companies, associations and federal offices:

  • Research projects commissioned by companies and institutions
  • Technology developments tailored to the size of the company (from micro-enterprises to industrial companies)
  • Support with applying for research funding from national and international funding organisations (including Innosuisse, FOEN, ASTRA, Horizon 2020 and M-ERA.NET)
  • Consulting, property development and test engineering mandates
  • Expertise in structural and soil dynamics
  • Field and laboratory tests in the field of geotechnics (linked to geotechnics testing services)
  • Field and laboratory tests in the field of hydraulics
  • Geotechnical evidence
  • Hydrometrical measurements (flow, level and speed measurements)
  • Tracer tests

We are heavily involved in teaching and continuing education. We supervise students’ projects and theses. We also frequently engage master’s students as assistants in research projects. In this way, we contribute to training the experts of the future.

We have connections with the following academic programmes and courses of continuing education:

We aim to transfer all non-confidential research into practice. To this end, we hold events and lectures, write specialist articles, conduct tours, organise workshops, and present our results at trade fairs.

Areas of expertise

We stand out thanks to our specialist expertise and strong links to business partners, standardisation organisations, public institutions, associations and international research networks.

Our areas of expertise include:

  • Geotechnical solutions for buildings in the field of special civil engineering, such as retaining structures, pre-stressed and unstressed anchors, pile and shallow foundations and slope protection.
  • Constructional infrastructure, such as near-natural soil protection solutions for transport routes and parking spaces, innovative surfaces and the use of geosynthetics in special civil engineering
  • Protective structures against natural hazards, such as flood protection and near-natural hydraulic engineering, equipment for mudslide nets and their anchoring, slope stabilisation, avalanche and rockfall barriers

Institute for Urban Development and Infrastructure ISI

Geotechnics and natural phenomena is one of the key focus areas of the Institute for Urban Development and Infrastructure ISI. At ISI we also focus on optimal interaction between environmental, economic and social aspects in the constructed environment. Other key focus areas are:

Infrastructure

The geotechnics laboratory allows us to apply an extremely wide range of analysis methods in geotechnics and engineering geology. The following equipment is available to us:

In the field:

  • Small drilling rigs for dynamic probing and pile core samples
  • Lightweight penetrometer
  • Lightweight pneumatic penetrometer
  • Field vane and field penetrometer
  • Inclinometer and Inkrex
  • Echo sounder
  • Dynamic drop weight

Laboratory:

  • Large and small sieves
  • k-value device
  • Triaxial press
  • Wet sieve device
  • Direct shear device
  • Ring shear device
  • Oedometer that can be operated digitally and manually
  • Vacuum triaxial system
  • QUV weathering test
  • Drying ovens up to 200°C and 1000°C