The Technical Research Institute

The Technical Research Institute undertakes R&D to support
our three businesses: Civil Engineering,
Ground Improvement and Blocks & Environment.

Our laboratory was established in 1969. In Japan, around that time, concrete blocks began to be used. The initial focus of our research was to ensure effective use of Tetrapod on site. Over the years, many positive results relating to the concrete blocks and the formations they create along coasts and around harbors have been reported, indicating that they have greatly benefited society.

In 2018 the Technical Research Institute made a fresh start in a wider role: R&D related to all three of our core businesses, civil engineering, ground improvement and blocks & environment. Fudo Tetra has helped in many ways to build Japan’s social infrastructure, and has a portfolio of civil engineering technologies on land—for highways, railways and energy facilities among others—and offshore—for ports and airports and man-made islands.
Our success in 1956 in developing the world’s first sand compaction method was followed by continuing research and development, and out of this expertise in ground improvement we have compiled a wealth of design and construction technologies as well as a strong record of actual site applications.
The Technical Research Institute will continue to expand the breadth and depth of our technologies and skills, and from our own technical innovations we trust we can make more contributions in the future in fulfilling society’s and our customers’ requirements.

Research Groups

Fudo Tetra’s R&D activities are centered on our company businesses, for which we have our own technologies and knowhow. In civil engineering this means land and sea civil engineering construction and environmental restoration technologies, in ground improvement we focus on ground improvement technologies related to sand piles and solidification processes, and in the blocks & environment business, in wave-dissipating and armor blocks for coastal and harbor formations.

Maritime and Coastal Hydraulics Group

Research Groups

This Group undertakes research into the hydraulic stability and hydraulic performance of wave-dissipating concrete blocks exposed to wave action and currents in the ocean and in rivers. We make full use of our four wave flumes to better understand hydraulic phenomena, and use numerical analysis to investigate their mechanisms for practical and meaningful research. In coastal developments, the local environment and its ecology must be taken into account. For concrete block development we use forms that are environment-friendly, and after installation, we monitor over the long term to check their environmental symbiotic effect: whether seaweeds and corals have become established, for example. We are also researching measures to rectify the loss in recent years of seaweed beds in all parts of Japan related to the rise in seawater temperature.

  • Hydraulic model experiment of wave-dissipating concrete block stability

  • Numerical analysis (velocity field around breakwater)

  • Seaweed established on Permex

  • Coral growing on Tetrapod

Environmental Restoration Group

Research Groups

In this Group, we are developing new technologies related to environmental restoration projects.
In recent years we have concentrated efforts on soil decontamination work, largely working on the development of chemical agents and decontamination methods. We have use of the Materials Chemistry Laboratory for indoor tests on the development of new chemical agents, analytical tests, recording results and so on, and for decontamination testing using large scale implementation equipment we use No. 3 Laboratory Building.

  • Diagrammatic soil decontamination

  • Advection diffusion analysis

Ground Improvement Group

Research Groups

The Ground Improvement Group undertakes R&D for new technologies related to ground improvement projects.
Fudo Tetra has more than 50 different types of ground improvement methods, and deals with the challenges of every type of ground. For development of new technologies, indoor tests on ground materials are carried out in the Materials Chemistry Laboratory. The Laboratory Building is used for small-scale soil tests and to check the action of implementation equipment, and we also use the Multi-purpose Outdoor Test Space for full-scale tests replicating site conditions using actual installation rigs.

Structural Mechanics Group

Research Groups

This Group studies the structural strength of environmental blocks. Wave-dissipating blocks need to have sufficient strength to preclude damage from wave action, but the structural performance of these blocks is still not entirely clear. For greater understanding we use full-sized blocks in static loading tests and dropping tests, as well as structural analysis.

  • Tetrapod dropping test

  • Static loading test on Tetrapod

To implement in wave-dissipating work the policy initiative of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to make full use of ICT, we are collaborating with the technology department for our civil engineering business to study greater use of CIM, and the use of ICT in maintenance management for wave-dissipating projects.

Fundamental Technologies Group

Research Groups

This Group is studying general-purpose technologies to be used over the medium to long term.
Our work covers research into the effective use of marine resources, measures to prevent the loss of sand beaches brought about by sea level rise due to global warming or by stronger wave action, and technical developments leading to higher productivity or labor saving to combat the fall in Japan’s working-age population due to the low birth rate and aging society.

Intellectual Property Group

Research Groups

We undertake the administrative work related to industrial property rights such as patents, design rights, and trademarks.
While the positive outcomes of research and development into civil engineering, groundwork and environmental blocks must be properly protected, we aim to open up further business opportunities through their effective use.

Main Facilities

When it opened in 1969 this Research Institute possessed 1 wave basin and 1 wave flume for our initial research. The scope of our research has subsequently been considerably diversified, and we have increased the number of wave flumes. At an early stage we installed irregular wave-making and multidirectional irregular wave-making technology to meet more sophisticated and more exacting methods of block formation design. Currently we use 4 wave flumes set up in our No. 1 and No. 2 Buildings for research in fields of maritime and coastal structures.
In 2017 we created a multipurpose outdoor test space for ground improvement research. This has enabled us to create test grounds, changing the soil to match the required conditions for tests to check the improvement effect of new methods. Development is speeded up with more reliable validation of improvement effect through testing under set ground conditions and with fewer limitations on test procedures.
In 2018 a third laboratory building and a materials chemistry laboratory were opened for research into technologies for land-based and offshore civil engineering, environmental restoration and ground improvement, and they are now in use for various types of indoor testing.

No. 1 Laboratory Building / Hydraulic Testing Facility

This facility contains 4 wave flumes each equipped with an irregular wave-generating device. In all 4 flumes we have also installed the latest reflected wave absorbing type of wave-generating control system, which was developed at the University of Aalborg in Denmark, to enable high precision experiments of irregular wave action.

1st large wave flume:
Dimensions: 55m long x 1.2m width x 1.5m deep
Wave-generating device piston type (AC servo motor drive)
Wave type regular waves, irregular waves
Wave-generating capacity regular waves max. wave height H=50 cm
2nd large wave flume:
Dimensions: 50m long x 1.0m wide x 1.5m deep
Wave generating device piston type (AC servo motor drive)
Wave type regular waves, irregular waves
Wave-generating capacity regular waves max. wave height H=50 cm
max. significant wave height H1/3=30cm

*Equipped with tsunami generating devices (pump-type, chamber type)

No. 2 Laboratory Building

This building is equipped with 2 wave flumes and structural testing facilities. The wave flumes have the latest reflected wave absorbing type of wave-generating control system installed, to enable high precision experiments of irregular wave action. In the structural test facility, tests are carried out using actual size large blocks.

Mid-size flume:
Dimensions: 50m long x 1.0m wide x 1.3m deep
Wave generating device piston type (AC servo motor drive)
Wave type regular waves, irregular waves
Wave-generating capacity egular waves max. wave height H=40 cm
max. significant wave height H1/3=25cm
Small wave flume:
Dimensions: 29m long x 0.5m wide x 1.0m deep
Wave generating device piston type (hydraulic drive)
Wave type regular waves, irregular waves
Wave-generating capacity regular waves max. wave height H=30 cm
max. significant wave height H1/3=15cm
Structural test facility

Fitted with a loading test device, 1,000kN compression test device, and crane.

No. 3 Laboratory Building

This building is used for all sort of tests and checks of performance that require an extensive interior space.

Exterior view / Interior view
Ground Improvement Group:

Tests using small experimental soil tanks, and performance checks for single elements of machinery.

Environmental Restoration Group:

Effectiveness of decontamination methods shown in the lab may drop as their application is scaled up, therefore large-scale tests are conducted to check that the effect does not change when using implementation equipment.

Materials Chemistry Laboratory

This laboratory is used for testing chemical agents and materials used in various civil engineering methods, property tests after field experiments, and analysis of samples collected from sites. It is equipped with the necessary instruments and storage for reagents.

Exterior view
Ground Improvement Group:

Blending tests for fluidized sand used in the SAVE-SP method, blending tests for soil mixed with hardening agent and other basic tests.

  • Groundwork Group Testing Equipment

Environmental Restoration Group:

Indoor tests to develop decontaminating agents and methods, and analysis of contaminated soil samples collected from sites. The necessary reagents, and equipment required for chemical analysis and many other types of testing are available.

Multi-purpose Outdoor Test Space

In the development process for new ground improvement methods, full-scale site testing is essential to check the method’s improvement effect and implementation performance. However, it is not easy to find test sites at the required time and location with the appropriate ground conditions.
We have therefore created a multi-purpose test space at the Technical Research Institute and are able to create test grounds by switching the soil to match the test requirements. Thus, it becomes possible to see the effectiveness reliably with no restrictions on the testing procedure, and the development process can be speeded up.

  • View of testing

  • Digging out test piles for inspection

Horikawa Library

The Horikawa Library was established in April 1995 within this institute to house and preserve the collection of Dr. Kiyoshi Horikawa, Doctor of Engineering. It contains some 14,000 volumes of important books and documents from Japan and overseas that Dr. Horikawa collected throughout his professional life in the course of his wide-ranging research. Since its opening, as well as Fudo Tetra staff the library has been used by large numbers of researchers.
For further details please contact the Technical Research Institute.

Kiyoshi Horikawa

Present positions: Member, The Japan Academy; Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo; Professor Emeritus, Saitama University; Professor Emeritus, Musashi Institute of Technology
Dr Kiyoshi Horikawa is a leading research engineer in coastal engineering working not just in Japan but worldwide, and has headed research in this field over many years. He has also made major contributions in education, at the Council for University Chartering and Incorporated Educational Institutions.

Published papers

Title Authors Source of reference
マウンド天端が干出する防波堤における被覆ブロックの耐津波安定性三井 順,久保田真一,松本 朗"土木学会論文集B2 (海岸工学) Vol.74,No.2 pp.295-300"
3Dデータを活用した消波工の設計および施工の効率化・高度化検討昇 悟志,橋田雅也,萩原照通,富永柚香,山崎真史,前川裕之"土木学会論文集B3 (海洋開発) Vol.74,No.2 pp.1-6"
防波堤に設置した津波減衰柵の性能に関する実験的研究三井 順,久保田真一,松本 朗,小山裕文,古路裕子・中口彰人(日本パーツセンター),楳田真也・斎藤武久(金沢大)"土木学会論文集B3 (海洋開発) Vol.74,No.2 pp.151-156"
開口部を有する被覆ブロックの人工リーフにおける波浪安定性に及ぼす水深波長比の影響中村英輔,三井 順,久保田真一,松本 朗"土木学会論文集B3 (海洋開発) Vol.74,No.2 pp.378-383"
消波工の測量点群を用いた消波ブロックのソリッドモデリング技術橋田雅也,昇悟志,前川裕之,山崎真史,柴田あずさ,富永柚香"北陸地方建設事業推進協議会 平成30年度建設技術報告会報文集 pp.42-44"
サンゴ礁域における食物網の推定伊藤 靖(漁村総研),柴田早苗,當舎親典(漁村総研),完山 暢(水産土木建設技術センター)日本サンゴ礁学会大会講演要旨集 (第21回)
Stability Estimation Method for Armor Units for Breakwaters with Parapets against Tsunami Overflow三井 順,久保田真一,松本 朗ICCE 2018 (国際海岸工学会議 (第36回) )
New Technologies of Concrete Blocks with Tsunami Protection and Long-Period Wave Absorption久保田真一,三井 順,田中真史,松本 朗34th PIANC World Congress


Technical Research Institute
2-7 Higashi Nakanukimachi, Tsuchiura city, Ibaraki prefecture, 300-0006 Japan
  • 10 minutes by taxi from Kandatsu station on JR Joban Line.
  • 20 minutes by taxi from Tsuchiura station on JR Joban Line.