My research aims to advance the understanding of how soils are moved and shaped through interaction with man-made objects and machinery. An overarching goal is to develop rigorous, mechanics-based models for predicting soil deformation and the corresponding force requirements or reactions.
From a theoretical perspective, problems involving soil-machine interaction pose a tremendous challenge due to the confluence of unsteady plastic flow, potentially three-dimensional deformation, contact interaction, material instabilities, and rate effects from inertial forces and hydromechanical coupling (for saturated or partially saturated soils). I endeavor to find new modelling paradigms to help establish accurate, robust, and efficient computational methods.
From a practical viewpoint, the scale of operations involving soil-machine interaction across the face of the Earth is difficult to fathom. For housing excavations, mineral production, and road building alone, each individual moves several tons of earth each year when distributed evenly across the world’s population. Breakthroughs in understanding will therefore have profound long-term effects with respect to reducing costs and production times, as well as mitigating consumption and pollution.
Specific areas of interest include
I thoroughly enjoy teaching introductory and advanced courses in geomechanics, solid mechanics, and numerical methods, including