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by Claire Walsh last modified 2006-09-20 14:51

Biological and Engineering Impacts of Climate Change on Slopes

Climate change is likely to have a serious detrimental effect on huge parts of our infrastructure. Whilst this is generally accepted by stakeholders, there is as yet no strategy to facilitate the planning required to act upon it. BIONICS will enable the effects of climate change on infrastructure slopes to be deduced by establishing a unique facility consisting of a full-scale, instrumented soil embankment, planted with a variety of flora with controlled heating and rainfall at its surface. It aims to establish a database of high-quality embankment performance data to enable future research into the interaction of climate, vegetation and engineering on the behaviour of infrastructure earthworks. It is also to extend modelling capability to examine the long-term effects of climate change on serviceability limits of embankments and develop a methodology for identifying vulnerable parts of the transport infrastructure. It will establish a database of embankment performance data and develop the necessary skills to enable future research so that engineering solutions to the effects of climate change can be devised.


The specific objectives of the project are to:

  • Build and monitor an embankment representative of UK infrastructure subjected to different climates

  • Plant and monitor representative vegetation subjected to different climates

  • Create a controlled climate (using the specification provided by the BKCC project BETWIXT)

  • Set up and run validated computer models under present and future climates to predict the embankment performance

  • Develop a methodology to identify parts of the UK infrastructure that require further investigation (working in connection with other BKCC projects, in particular CRANIUM )

  • Formulate a medium to long term research strategy, including some specific needs-based 'spin-off' projects


    Further information about the BIONICS project can be found by following the links below:

                            BIONICS summary presentation

                            BIONICS summary document


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