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Dr Benjamin Cerfontaine PhD

Lecturer in geotechnical engineering

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Benjamin Cerfontaine is lecturer in geotechnical engineering at the University of Southampton within Engineering and Physical Sciences.

Understanding the fundamental behaviour of geomaterials at the micro- and macro-scales is essential to predict the performance of geo-structures. Combining physical and numerical modelling of both scales will lead to a new generation of more reliable and accurate design methods.

I am a geotechnical engineer, specialised in environmental geotechnics and the development of ground-related solutions to foster renewable energy development. I have mainly worked on foundations for offshore wind or wave renewable energy devices, but also on geotechnical aspects of shallow geothermal energy or pumped-storage hydroelectricity.

My main goal is to foster innovative geotechnical solutions (foundation, design methods, probing…) based on an improved understanding of the fundamental behaviour of geomaterials. I am particularly interested in complex loading of soils, for instance induced by the cyclic loading of foundations or rotary installation of piles. My background is a mix of advanced numerical modelling (FEM, DEM) and physical modelling (centrifuge) whose combination enables an insightful understanding of geomaterial and foundation behaviour.

I particularly enjoy transdisciplinary collaborations, for instance combining anchor geotechnical aspects, fluid dynamics and structural dynamics to simulate an entire floating wind turbine system. I have worked with several companies to develop new anchors for floating devices, embedded in rock or sand.

I obtained my PhD at the University of Liège (Belgium) in 2014 and stayed there for a post-doc. I was awarded an EU-funded MSCA individual fellowship and moved to Dundee (UK) in 2017. I joined the University of Southampton in 2020.

Research interests

  • Offshore engineering
  • Anchoring solutions for floating devices
  • Innovative foundations
  • Geotechnical centrifuge modelling
  • Discrete Element Modelling
  • Finite Element Modelling
  • Multiphysical and multiscale processes in geomaterials
  • Constitutive modelling

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Book Chapters


Lecturing Geology for Engineers in module CENV1027

Dr Benjamin Cerfontaine
Engineering, University of Southampton, Bolderwood campus, Southampton. SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number: 178/3017

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