Civil & Offshore Engineering

Introduction to Civil and Offshore Engineering.

Research in Civil & Offshore Engineering addresses a wide range of practical problems concerned with the civil engineering infrastructure. We address the design of structures, both onshore and offshore, and their interactions with the environment. The group uses both numerical modelling and laboratory experimental work to study problems as diverse as earthquake engineering, offshore pipeline design, deployable structures and tidal turbines.

Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering

Oil rigThe group has a long established research record in soil mechanics. Their interests cover the breadth of the discipline, extending from applied work carried out for the oil and gas industry and the renewable energy sector, to more fundamental work on the constitutive modelling of soils. Areas of particular interest include offshore geotechnics (including offshore structures, pipelines and foundations), tunnelling, movement of buildings due to construction processes, numerical modelling of soils and structures, finite element analysis, reinforced soil and constitutive modelling of soils.

Environmental Fluid Mechanics

Ocean engineeringEnvironmental flows dominate many civil engineering problems. In Oxford we carry out fundamental research into such problems using a combination of analytic, numerical and experimental methods. The Oxford group has a particular interest in ocean engineering problems including the mechanics of ocean waves and marine renewable energy. The group also has an interest in ground water flows and carbon capture.

Marine Renewable Energy

Tidal powerWe have interests across a number of themes in marine renewable energy. A significant research effort has been focused on tidal energy, supported by a number of funding sources, including the Energy Technologies Institute. Work covers three areas: resource assessment, device and array scale behaviour and development of a specific tidal energy device. Other areas of work are focussed on support structure and foundation design, particularly for offshore wind turbines, but also for tidal energy. A feature of our work is the strong collaborative links with industry.


Structure modellingOur structural engineers are principally concerned with the response of structures to earthquake loading, and our technique of hybrid physical / computational modelling has been widely adopted at research centres worldwide. Research also addresses other aspects of structural dynamics. A separate team explore the design of deployable structures, with applications ranging from deployable tent and antenna structures through to medical devices such as stents.

Biomedical Applications

Structure modellingWork in this area focusses on the application of civil engineering techniques to biomedical problems. This includes the study of the mechanical behaviour of the human eye, concentrating principally on the mechanics of accommodation and the causes of presbyopia. Computational techniques (principally the finite element method) are used to develop models of the accommodation process. In other research, the development of expandable stent grafts enables stents to be located in problematic body locations and subsequently expanded to perform their job.