Research

A particular focus of my research has been in the area of soil-structure interaction (SSI) covering development of normal and frictional contact stresses exerted by soil onto structures, soil strength mobilization displacements, pore water pressures and their time dependence. My research has included the use of numerical modelling, laboratory testing at model scale, and field testing/monitoring. There are three main strands to this research:

Onshore infrastructure construction

Onshore infrastructure construction represents a new line of research within civil engineering at Oxford University. The research is in collaboration with Ward and Burke Construction. The primary objective is to develop intelligent, automated methods for instrumenting, measuring and monitoring soil-structure interaction during construction processes. Real-time feedback from these systems will be used to inform site engineers and to develop current design methods to optimise both the efficiency and safety of infrastructure construction. This has also included simulation of construction processes through numerical modelling and experimental testing (at model scale).

Buried pipelines

This research involves experimental testing, at small-scale and full-scale, applied to buried pipelines transporting hot pressurised fluids for the oil industry. Quantifying the interaction between pipelines and the soil backfill is essential when designing a buried pipeline for various limit states (serviceability, ultimate, fatigue) as well as for buckling prevention and economy. This has included the design and development of a full-scale experimental testing rig to measure pipe-soil interaction during cyclic axial displacement. 

Pile-soil-pile interaction

Pile foundations have been used for centuries as a means of transmitting structural loads to competent strata at depth in the ground. Piles installed in groups have the potential to carry large loads and are often the only viable solution when structures to be supported are heavy, or when the ground conditions are challenging. Traditionally, the emphasis in pile design was on predicting ultimate pile capacity, with a large factor of safety ensuring that settlements were small, formal estimates of which could often be avoided. More recently, this focus has shifted towards more economical serviceability limit‒state design. My research has focused on refining predictions of pile foundation settlement through improved numerical, analytical, and empirical models of pile-soil-pile interaction.