Geotechnical Engineering Group

Department of Civil & Structural Engineering

High speed granular debris flows: new paradigms and interactions in geomechanics


Fast landslides, such as debris flows that involve high speed downslope motion of rocks, soil and water, are one of the most frequently occurring of natural hazards in areas of high relief and rainfall. Advances made in solid mechanics and optical physics research can be applied to dramatically improve our understanding of granular flows and ways in which related hazards can be mitigated.

This research reintroduces two novel experimental techniques – photoelasticity and Planar laser induced Fluorescence – to geotechnical research, to enable far greater insight to be obtained to the physical processes behind granular flow (addressing fundamental behaviour) and how these flows interact with structures and other features (addressing complex interactions and engineering solutions).

Two series of experiments using the above techniques will be conducted: the first is carried out using 2D flume and photoelastic disks to enable stresses within a granular flows to be measured ; the second will exploit a 3D flume designed to enable plane laser induced fluorescence (PLIF) and digital image correlation (DIC), having an obstacle in the flow path to examine how this influences the flow and the resultant stresses on the obstacle.



Research area(s)

Project dates

Start date: 
May 2015


(2017). Performance of PIV and PTV for granular flow measurements. Granular Matter, 19 (01-Feb), (Full Text).