Professor White is pioneering research into the behaviour of shallow seabed sediments. He is internationally renowned for devising analysis techniques for the response of foundations and pipelines laid on soft and unstable seabed sediments, and for the development of new tools for in situ characterisation of the seabed. These advances have been rapidly adopted in practice – results from his research are being used to assess the stability of all the major pipelines currently being designed to tap Australia’s offshore gas resources. His research provides techniques that can overcome the unique challenges associated with the design of seabed pipelines and foundations in the unusual conditions faced by Australia’s offshore industry.
David’s research is underpinned by observations from sophisticated small-scale geotechnical centrifuge simulations supported by micromechanical insights into soil constitutive behaviour. Many of these observations have been obtained using novel image analysis techniques he has developed which are now utilised by researchers at some 40 other institutes worldwide.
David actively tries to raise the profile of engineering and science in the public arena including to local industry and this year presented over breakfast to the Society for Petroleum Engineers (USA) showcasing the activity in the Australian oil and gas industry, at the Offshore Technology Conference (the oil and gas industry’s largest event worldwide).