Dr Thomas Shire
- Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering (Infrastructure & Environment)
Dr Tom Shire is a Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Glasgow and a Chartered Civil Engineer. Tom joined the University as Lecturer in April 2017. From August 2016 to March 2017 he was a Research Associate in the Geotechnics section at Imperial College London, focusing on laboratory testing of unsaturated soils and from January 2015 to August 2016 he was a Teaching Fellow in Civil Engineering, also at Imperial.
Tom carried out his PhD research at Imperial College London from 2010-2013, focusing on discrete element modelling (DEM) of granular filters for embankment dams using the open source code LAMMPS. The work was awarded the Unwin Prize for the best PhD in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
- 2010-2013: PhD in Geotechnical Engineering, Imperial College London
- 2009-2010: MSc in Soil Mechanics (Distinction), Imperial College London
- 2001-2005: MEng in Civil Engineering, University of Nottingham
- 2017-date: Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering, University of Glasgow
- 2015-2017: Senior Teaching Fellow / Research Associate, Imperial College London
- 2013-2014: Geotechnical Engineer, Atkins, Epsom
- 2005-2009: Assistant Geotechnical Engineer, Scott Wilson Ltd. (now AECOM), Manchester
Tom's research interests are in geotechnical engineering including embankment dams and unsaturated soils, and granular materials in general. He is interested in both numerical and experimental research.
Tom has experience using discrete element modelling (DEM) with high performance computing (HPC) and coupled DEM-computational fluid dynamics (DEM-CFD). He has applied these tools to topics including the internal erosion of dams and levees. He is a member of the Glasgow Computational Engineering Centre.
Tom is also interested in unsaturated soils including laboratory testing with applications in earthworks, pavement/highway engineering and slope stability/landslides.
If you are interested in carrying out research in Geotechnical Engineering at Glasgow please contact Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Matlab code for calculating the constriction size distributions of DEM samples using the weighted Delaunay method is now freely available at github.com/tomshire/Weighted-Delaunay-Constrictions
I am currently improving the open-source DEM code Granular LAMMPS for polydisperse/widely graded granular materials. More details will follow upon completion of the project.
Implementation of multi-level contact detection in Granular LAMMPS to enable efficient polydisperse DEM simulations (eCSE 12-9). PI. Funder: ARCHER
Please contact me if you are interested in geotechnical research at Glasgow. Informal enquiries can be made to email@example.com
Examples of possible projects are below, but I am always open to other ideas.
Experimental testing of anisotropic unsaturated soils
Unsaturated soils give rise to major hazards including a loss of ground strength during rainfall leading to catastrophic landslides or collapse of infrastructure, hazards which will be exacerbated by climate change. Unsaturated soils are encountered throughout tropical regions of the world as well as in all compacted fill materials in temperate climates.
This work will build on previous research at the University of Glasgow that has studied the small and large strain deformation characteristics of unsaturated soils. The project will use advanced geotechnical element testing to study the effect of stress-induced anisotropy on unsaturated soils under a range of conditions which are relevant for engineering practice.
Liquefaction causes the ground to undergo dramatic reductions in strength and stiffness and commonly occurs in sandy soils subject to shaking by earthquakes. An example of the hazard posed by liquefaction is the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, which caused 185 deaths and lead to damage totalling an estimated $40 billion.
The aim of this project is to study the liquefaction of sands with fines using discrete element modelling, a numerical technique in which each element represents one soil grain and allows the fundamental mechanics of granular systems to be studied in detail.
Students with backgrounds in Physics, Chemical Engineering, Process Engineering, etc. are welcomed in addition to Civil and Geotechnical Engineers.
Backward erosion: a coupled DEM-LBM analysis
Internal erosion, also known as piping, is one of the main causes of dam and levee embankment breach during floods, both in the UK and worldwide. It occurs when soil particles are washed out of an embankment by water seepage, eroding material from within until the embankment collapses.
Backward erosion is one of the main forms of internal erosion, but the physical processes which underlie it are still poorly understood.
This project will use a numerical technique (coupled DEM-LBM) to improve our understanding of the processes which cause backward erosion at the micro-scale by modelling individual sand grains and their interactions with fluid seeping through/under a levee.
It will build on previous experimental findings and recent improvements in the DEM-LBM code, in particular improvements allowing simulations to be carried out using supercomputers.
- Chartered Engineer and Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (CEng MICE)
- British Dam Society
- British Geotechnical Association
- International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, ISSMGE
- ISSMGE Technical Committee 306, Geo-Education
- Committee member, ICE Scottish Geotechnical Group
- Committee member, ICE Glasgow and West of Scotland
- Editorial Board Member, Canadian Geotechnical Journal
- Peer reviewer: Geotechnique, ASCE JGGE, Canadian Geotechnical Journal, Computers and Geotechnics, Soils and Foundations, Geotechnique Letters, QJEGH, ICE Proceedings, Applied Physics A, Applied Mathematical Modelling