Project title: Development of a fibre-optic approach for offshore site investigation
Researcher: Andrew Trafford
Sub-surface ground conditions pose one of the greatest risks to the development of offshore infrastructure projects. The collection of quality geotechnical information is both costly and time-consuming and typically only represents a ‘pin prick’ view of the sediment properties. This project is relevant to the INFOMAR project in that the methodology developed will prove a valuable link between the available data and the geotechnical classification that is required for the successful completion of an offshore site investigation. The offshore testing element of the project relied on the use of available INFOMAR data for the selection of a suitable offshore test site, with the results acting as rapid, non-destructive ground truth of the sub bottom profile data. The results obtained from the offshore trial in Dundalk Bay provide significant geotechnical information which can be used to better understand the layering identified from the SBP. The delivery of a robust methodology enabling the rapid collection of high-level geotechnical information aligns itself with the GSI’s approach of mapping priority areas in response to the specific needs of customers in strategic sectors such as the offshore renewables industry. The proving of the offshore methodology with the scaling benefits over traditional seismic investigations has the potential for capturing detailed geotechnical data at a level not previously achievable.