C-CORE provides research-based advice and innovative solutions for the geotechnical aspects of infrastructure projects, both onshore and offshore.  Market sectors served include oil & gas; pipeline; mining; Engineering, Procurement, Construction Management (EPCM) Contractors; and government.

C-CORE’s geotechnical expertise, founded in physical and numerical modelling, includes pipeline testing, ice–seabed interaction, soil–structure interaction and reduced scale physical modelling using our geotechnical centrifuge facility.

Key areas of application


 Geotechnical Centrifuge Modelling

C-CORE has a unique capability for modelling physical phenomena using full, medium, and laboratory-scale tests. Centrifuge modelling uses scale models subjected to increased gravity to model full-scale geotechnical phenomena, enabling reliable and cost-effective investigation of the response of equipment and facilities to real-world conditions.

C‑CORE’s geotechnical facility is equipped with soils and model preparation laboratories, as well as a 5.5m-radius, 200G payload-capacity geotechnical centrifuge with a fully computerized control system to actuate and control tests in flight. It is one of the largest in the world and the only one in North America designed to model cold region phenomena.

To advance the conceptualization and design of innovative facilities for operations in ice-prone regions, we have developed specialized tools to test and model ice interaction and loading on infrastructure and the seabed, including proprietary models for estimating optimal pipeline burial depth. Together, these give us the ability to closely replicate real-world conditions, including extreme cold, soils comparable to site conditions, and multi-directional stresses and strains (as from wave action, earthquake, etc.).

See our centrifuge in action here.

Numerical Modelling

C-CORE has considerable expertise modelling many different geotechnical problems using finite element or finite difference modelling techniques.  Numerical modelling is regularly calibrated against and used with physical modelling.  Many geotechnical modelling programs require large strain-based analysis to be completed to understand the soil–structure interaction problem. The development of advanced numerical models for ice interaction on the surface and subsea facilities is a key strength.

Physical Modelling of SCRs in the Touchdown Zone


Unprecedented centrifuge testing of a Steel Catenary Riser (SCR) interacting with a soft clay seabed investigates the fatigue stresses associated with extreme storms and vessel movements on SCRs in the touchdown zone and provides invaluable insight into the riser–soil interaction mechanism.

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Solving Challenges of Northern Pipelines


With oil spill prevention and pipeline safety top of mind in Canada and other northern regions, C-CORE’s geotechnical team undertook research to evaluate the soil response around a high-temperature pipeline being designed for northern Alberta.

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Pipeline Ice Risk Assessment and Mitigation (PIRAM)


The C-CORE-led PIRAM project significantly advanced understanding of the risks associated with gouging ice keels and developed engineering models and procedures to mitigate risk and protect pipeline infrastructure from ice keel loading.

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