Philip Collins

  • Reader in Geology & Geotechnical Engineering - Brunel University London

Research interests

My research interests cross the boundaries between engineering, geology and geography. I have conducted field studies in a number of locations including the UK, Canary Islands, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Norway and Canada.

Current research covers a series of themes:

Properties of natural and artificial materials: I am interested in how natural and artificial materials such as soil, rock and pavement materials, respond to change.  This includes the behaviour of soluble rocks and soil during dissolution, change in permeability due to temperature and solute chemistry change, and the impact of freezing and thawing.  The environmental contexts for this primarily laboratory-based research include large dam structures, highways and karstic areas.

Soil deformation diagnostics: I am currently working on improving the forensic interpretation of deformation structures found in soils and sediments.  Work has included sites in the UK, Turkey and Italy, and includes active faults, possible faults and periglacial sites.

Quaternary geotechnics:  Building on a strong background of reconstructing the palaeoenvironments of Quaternary-age sites, I am exploring the application of geotechnical parameters in both enhancing understanding of environmental change, and providing better understanding of site properties for management and design. I am particularly interested the diagnostic characteristics of soil and sediment deformation structures.  Work is focusing on riverine, coastal sites and periglacial sites, and has included research on active faults, palaeoseismic sites, and ground ice.

Geodynamics, tectonics and seismicity: building on my work on active faults and palaeoseismicity, I have worked with colleagues in the UK and Greece on assessments of seismic risk, and developing a better understanding of earthquake patterns.

Resilience in river and coastal settings: I am particularly interested in the role of education in increasing engineering and community resilience to events such as floods and coastal change.