I joined the University of Strathclyde in 2010 as Professor of Experimental Geomechanics to establish a research group in geomechanics and geohydraulics specialised in laboratory and field investigation of multiphase geomaterials.
The common denominator of my research is the presence of at least two fluid phases (liquid and gas) in the medium pore space. Under these conditions, different physical processes with high level of coupling (liquid flow, vapour flow, heat transfer, and solid matrix deformation) control the hydraulic and mechanical behaviour of the porous medium, which is therefore relatively complex to investigate and model.
In Civil and Environmental Engineering, multiphase (unsaturated) porous media are typically encountered in the upper portion of the soil profile, between the ground surface and the ground water table/phreatic surface. Processes occurring in this zone are therefore the focus of my research, and includes rainwater infiltration, groundwater recharge, pollutant transport, soil shrinkage and heave, surface cracking, soil subsidence, and subsurface water flow and runoff (i.e. flood formation), and shallow landslides. Most of these processes have an interaction with the atmosphere and are therefore strongly affected by climate changes.
Multiphase (unsaturated) porous media are also encountered in several geo-infrastructures, including road, railway and flood embankments, dams, and tunnels where mechanical and hydraulic response (stability, deformation, hydraulic conductivity) is controlled by the interaction of the ground with the atmosphere.