The University of Southampton
Engineering and the Environment
(023) 8059 8454

Dr Joel Smethurst BEng PhD


Dr Joel Smethurst's photo
Related links

Dr Joel Smethurst is Lecturer within Engineering and the Environment at the University of Southampton.

My main technical interest is in geotechnical transport infrastructure, including the long-term performance, deterioration/aging, and failure of geotechnical structures, and their upgrade and repair.

I have been a Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering at Southampton since 2012, and I am currently the undergraduate Admissions Tutor for Civil Engineering.





Research interests

My research on geotechnical infrastructure encompasses:

  • The effects of vegetation and climate on the performance of earthwork structures (cuttings and embankments)
  • The stabilisation of both infrastructure slopes and large landslides using discretely spaced piles
  • Short and long-term heave of clay beneath deep basement structures
  • The mechanical stabilisation of soil by plants roots
  • The use of terrestrial laser scanning in geotechnical engineering, and development of novel slope instrumentation approaches
  • The design of earth retaining structures

Much of my research is based on field measurement of the performance of real structures, often over long periods of time, with one instrumented slope site having been monitored continuously for 15 years. In many cases, field data have been used to calibrate numerical models which are used to further investigate behaviour and/or performance.

My research has been funded by EPSRC and a number of industrial partners including Cementation Skanska, Environment Agency, Highways England, London Underground, Mouchel, Mott MacDonald, Network Rail, and Rail Safety and Standards Board.

Monitoring of the effects of mature trees on the serviceability of railway earthworks
Monitoring of the effects of mature trees on the serviceability of rai
Laser scanning of ground displacements
Laser scanning of ground displacements
Monitoring the performance of pile stabilisation schemes
Monitoring the performance of pile stabilisation schemes

Research group

Infrastructure Group

Research project(s)

Infrastructure monitoring using passive remote imagery

Performance of Ground Energy Systems Installed in Foundations

Validation of a spatial-temporal soil water movement and plant water uptake model

Working with Network Rail to develop sensors to determine embankment stability

A project is currently underway to establish whether there is a connection between soil quality measurements made with low cost (screen printed) sensor arrays and the stability of railway embankments.


Book Chapters


Code Title Role
CENV3015  DESIGN PROJECT Coordinator

Dr Joel Smethurst
Engineering and the Environment University of Southampton Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number:7/5057

Telephone:(023) 8059 8454

Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Google+ Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.