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    The Soil-Machine Interaction Laboratory with a 312 m2 of floor area was established under the “National Institute of Ocean Technology, Pallikaranai, Chennai” sponsored project “Soil-Machine interaction studies on Deep Sea-Bed Polymetallic Nodule Mining System” in the Department of Mining Engineering, College Of Engineering, Chennai.


    After China and Korea it is the only research laboratory developed in an Educational institution for development of Deep Sea Mining Technology.

    The Laboratory aims in conducting scientific investigations and various technological development in the area of “Deep Sea Mining” to excavate mineral deposits that are located mostly on or under the deep seabed to meet the overall mineral demand. It also aims at studying the ground and mining vehicle interaction by scaled model studies and numerical modelling.


The Laboratory equipped with the following facilities for research purposes.

  • A Sea bed Simulation tank of 14 (L) X 3.4 to 4.0 (W) X 4.0 (D) m with glass walls on one of the longer sides for visual examination and photo/Videography during experimentation.
  • The tank has tracks at two levels viz. 2.0 and 4.0 m from the floor level to facilitate movement of various equipment like Bentonite mixing device, Pick-up –collector assembly, field shear testing apparatus, etc…
  • The tank has a facility to videograph the entire operation with a remotely operated High Definition camera with Pan and Tilt arrangement.
  • The Bentonite mixing machine in the simulation has two mixing tools, which can rotate in both directions and moves in all three directions (X, Y & Z directions). The diameter of each tool is 300 mm. The speed of the drilling tools also can be varied from 20 to 200 r.p.m. It helps in mixing of bentonite soil and water regularly.
  • The roof of the lab is 6.5 m high in the simulation tank area to facilitate material handling with an EOT crane.
  • A soil mechanics laboratory with equipment like Tri-axial testing device, shear strength determination device, vane shear test apparatus, field test apparatus.
  • A Control room with data loggers, indicators, display units, video camera display and control unit, etc.
  • It has hydraulic Power pack of 80 lpm & 250 bar pressure capacity with proportional valves is to operate hydraulic actuators of deep sea equipments.

Two Research Scholars under the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering are presently carrying out their PhD research in this laboratory under the areas of.

  • Simulate and developing a sea bed in the simulation tank.
  • Operating Performance test for existing pickup device developed NIOT.

The Laboratory creates a platform for carrying out continuous research (basic and applied) in the field of deep sea bed mining technology and in developing human resources for deep sea bed mining incessantly.

Faculty-In-Charge / NIOT Simulation Lab: Dr. P. Balamadeswaran, Asst. Professor

Submission of Final Project Report to Dr. M.A. Atmanand, Director, NIOT, Chennai in Sep’2020 and Mr. N.R. Ramesh, Mr. Gopakumar and Dr. G.A. Ramadass, Scientists present.