Dr Katherine Dobson

Senior Lecturer

Civil and Environmental Engineering


Personal statement

I joined Strathclyde in 2019 as a Chancellor’s Fellow, and now hold a Senior Lectureship as a joint appointment in both Civil & Environmental Engineering and Chemical and process Engineering. I am a geologist by background, but my research routinely bridges disciplines. Having spent time in Geoscience, Materials Science and Engineering departments, I regularly bring methods across traditional subject and area boundaries, especially at the interfaces between geology, materials science, environmental science and engineering. My main research interests lie in understanding the behaviour and evolution of both natural and man-made materials. More specifically, it is questions about how the microstructure of a material evolves through time, and therefore changes the properties and behaviour of the larger system that underpin most of my work. To do this, I use x-ray computed tomography to see inside materials and objects and quantify their internal structures, and a range of experimental and analytical methods to observe the physical, chemical and biological changes within the sample overtime.

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The permeability of loose magma mush
Bretagne Eloïse, Wadsworth Fabian B, Vasseur Jérémie, Humphreys Madeleine CS, Dingwell Donald B, Dobson Katherine J, Mangler Martin F, Rooyakkers Shane M
Geology Vol 51, pp. 829-832 (2023)
The evolution of paleo-porosity in basalts : reversing pore filling mechanisms using X-ray Computed Tomography
Macente A, Dobson K J, MacDonald J, Wadsworth F B, Vasseur J
Transport in Porous Media Vol 145, pp. 697-717 (2022)
Experimental simulation of burial diagenesis and subsequent 2D-3D characterization of sandstone reservoir quality
Charlaftis Dimitrios, Dobson Katherine J, Jones Stuart J, Lakshtanov Dmitry, Crouch Jonathan, Cook Jennie
Frontiers in Earth Science Vol 10 (2022)
Damage accumulation during high temperature fatigue of Ti/SiCf metal matrix composites under different stress amplitudes
Wang Ying, Xu Xu, Zhao Wenxia, Li Nan, McDonald Samuel A, Chai Yuan, Atkinson Michael, Dobson Katherine J, Michalik Stefan, Fan Yingwei, Withers Philip J, Zhou Xiaorong, Burnett Timothy L
Acta Materialia Vol 213 (2021)
The permeability of magma mush assembled from anisotropic tabular crystals
Bretagne Eloïse, Wadsworth Fabian B, Dobson Katherine J, Vasseur Jérémie, Coumans Jason P
EGU General Assembly 2021 (2021)
A model for permeability evolution during volcanic welding
Wadsworth Fabian B, Vasseur Jérémie, Llewellin Edward W, Brown Richard J, Tuffen Hugh, Gardner James E, Kendrick Jackie E, Lavallée Yan, Dobson Katherine J, Heap Michael J, Dingwell Donald B, Hess Kai-Uwe, Schauroth Jenny, von Aulock Felix W, Kushnir Alexandra RL, Marone Federica
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research Vol 409 (2021)

More publications

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Research Interests

I apply x-ray tomography and other materials characterisation methods to investigate the textures and structures within natural and man-made materials. Similar to a medical CT but at higher resolution, the method is non-destructive, and can be applied to a wide range of samples and sample sizes. More importantly, it can be used on samples as they are heated, cooled, compressed, stretched, twisted, stirred or inundated by a range of different fluids.

My work focusses on the latest state-of-the-art 3D and real time 4D imaging techniques. In 4D studies, the ability to inside the sample as it undergoes a change allows us to collect a "movie", where each frame is a full 3D x-ray tomography image. In my own core research, the individual 3D images of the movie are each collected in under a second. For other studies it is enough to image every few seconds, few hours, or even every few months depending on the rate and magnitude of change you wish to observe. This allows me to track the location and interactions between particles or between bubbles, to quantify fracture propagation, to capture dissolution or precipitation as it occurs, to observe fluids passing through pore throats, or corrosion, or sintering, or root growth. The opportunities are almost endless.

Current interests include:

  • Multi-phase flows and rheology in complex and concentrated fluids
  • Understanding pore scale controls on slope stability to improve embankment and cutting resilience to climate change
  • Diffusion and bubble growth in silicate classes
  • In situ deformation of composite materials
  • Damage accumulation in granular and non-granular systems
  • Continuous manufacturing
  • Sustainable resource management
  • Environmental management and remediation
  • Sintering and densification processes
  • Permeability evolution in the subsurface
  • Subsurface fluid flow and fluid-rock interactions
  • Pore scale processes
  • Soil mechanics
  • The physical-chemical-biological interactions that control soil fertility


Current PhD Students

  • Rory Brittain 
    Fines migration in porous media
    University of Strathclyde, Civil & Environmental Engineering. 
  • Phil Salter
    The use of microbially and enzyme induced carbonate precipitation  for improving subsurface storage integrity
    University of Strathclyde, Civil & Environmental Engineering. 
  • Andrea Kozlowski
    Development of sustainable substitutes for Pulversized Fly Ash in cement and concrete

    University of Strathclyde, Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Rebecca Lindsey-Halls
    Effect of High temperatures on NRVB cement backfill for nuclear waste storage 
    University of Strathclyde, Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Matthew Divers
    Quantifying the mineralogical controls on precious metal enrichment in the Rum layered intrusion, NW Scotland
    University of Glasgow, Geographical & Earth Sciences

Professional Activities

3D & 4D imaging - key skills for the Earth, Environmental & Planetary Sciences
38th International Geological Congress, 2028
GeoNetZero XCT Training course
Leaching behaviour of concrete with Substitute Clinker Materials
3D & 4D imaging - key skills for the Earth, Environmental & Planetary Sciences
Optimising XCT Acquisition Speed for Image Quality and Dimensional Measurements

More professional activities


3D and 4D imaging - key skills for the Earth, Environmental & Planetary Sciences
Dobson, Kate (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2023 - 30-Jan-2024
EPSRC Summer Internship
Dobson, Kate (Principal Investigator)
22-Jan-2023 - 08-Jan-2023
XCT Analysis for Pernot-Ricard
Dobson, Kate (Principal Investigator)
EPSRC Core Equipment: Thermal characterisation for engineering and geological materials
Minto, James (Principal Investigator) Burnside, Neil (Principal Investigator) Dobson, Kate (Principal Investigator)
EPSRC Core Equipment grant for a thermal conductivity meter and gas pycnometer to allow thermal characterisation of engineering and geological materials.
£63,919 (inc. VAT)
01-Jan-2023 - 31-Jan-2023
X-ray tomogrphay project for Chivas
Dobson, Kate (Principal Investigator)
X-racy tomography of weld joins (AFRC)
Dobson, Kate (Principal Investigator)

More projects

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Dr Katherine Dobson
Senior Lecturer
Civil and Environmental Engineering

Email: katherine.dobson@strath.ac.uk
Tel: Unlisted