Engineers Australia

2021 Annual General Meeting and Chair’s Address

Soft-Rigid Granular Geomaterials: From Research to Commercialization

Associate Professor Mahdi Disfani

The Victoria Chapter of the Australian Geomechanics Society invites you to its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Wednesday 8th of December 2021 which will be held virtually. The AGM will be followed by a short Chair’s Address.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19-related limitations and uncertainties and covid-safe policies of our venue provides, we have decided not to proceed with our Annual Dinner this year. Our committee is looking forward to recommencing in-person events. This will involve a belated celebration of our 50-year anniversary, to happen in early 2022.

Soft-Rigid Granular Geomaterials: From Research to Commercialization

One of the biggest issues our society is facing is the growing waste crisis. A staggering 56 million used tyres are discarded annually in Australia, causing environmental and health problems. The global number is 1.5 billion tyres annually. There is an urgent need for development of new solutions to tackle this problem. An essential pillar to resolve this issue is the development of new technologies and materials with enhanced performance which can use large volumes of waste. The development of these new technologies and material requires scientific input and a deep understanding of material response and influencing factors and as importantly the ability to create research impact through commercialization.

The 2021 chair address shows how by building on the currently available knowledge on behaviour of granular material and structured sands, the available knowledge on behaviour of rigid granular material can be expanded into a new domain; a three-phase granular mix of soft and rigid particles bonded using a polymer binder. The talk will provide a summary on how this research endeavour has led into a new product (Waste Tyre Permeable Pavement) currently used in streets of Melbourne.

Mahdi’s 2021 Chair’s Address will go through some fundamentals of soft-rigid granular geomaterials and what makes them distinctively different to common granular material. Mahdi will then provide his experience and reflection on the journey from research to commercialization and wider impact of a research development.

Associate Professor Mahdi Disfani University of Melbourne

“Soft-Rigid Granular Geomaterials: From Research to Commercialization”

Mahdi Disfani is an Associate Professor in Geotechnical Engineering at The University of Melbourne leading research on experimental investigation of granular geo-materials. His work in collaboration with industry and supported by federal and state government agencies has led to impact in areas of transportation geotechnics, soil erosion and sustainable geotechnics. Mahdi is currently representing Australia on ISSMGE Technical committees TC 202 (Transportation Geotechnics) and TC 220 (Field Monitoring in Geomechanics) and is a member for Standards Australia CE-009 (Testing of Soils for Engineering Purposes) committee.

Engineers Australia members participating in AGS technical sessions can record attendance on their personal CPD logs. Members should refer to Engineers Australia CPD policy for details on CPD types, requirements and auditing guidelines.