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The University of Southampton

Dr Max Barton BSc MSc PhD DIC CGeol Csci

Visiting Teaching Fellow

Dr Max Barton's photo

Dr Max Barton is Visiting Teaching Fellow within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Max Barton is an Engineering Geologist with wide experience in Geotechnical and Coastal . Engineering. He has authored, and part authored, over 70 technical papers. He graduated in Geology at King's College London (1953-56) and undertook research in Quaternary Studies (MSc 1957) and Igneous Petrology (PhD 1960) at Birmingham University. He then entered the Site Investigation industry (1960-1963), becoming one of the only three geologists employed in this field in the UK at that time. He then studied Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering at Imperial College (DIC, 1963-64).

He joined the Civil Engineering Department Southampton University in 1964, becoming a Senior Lecturer in 1988. Although he officially retired in 1999, he has continued his active involvement in teaching and research within the Faculty of Engineering and The Environment. Along with his colleague David Rycroft, he ran an MRes course in Coastal Engineering for Sea Level Rise in 2001-2006. He continues to supervise PhD and MSc project students.

He maintained his links with industry by acting as a Private Consultant in Engineering Geology and in the course of this work he prepared over 80 consulting reports. His professional qualifications include Chartered Geologist (C.Geol) and Chartered Scientist (C.Sci). His learned society memberships include Geological Society of London (Senior Fellow status), becoming a committee member of the Engineering Group in 1985-1988 & 1997-2000, Quaternary Research Association, Geologist's Association and the British Geotechnical Association.

Max Barton continues his active research with the principal focus on British geology and the application of geological studies to engineering design and construction. Aspects of the geology which tend to be overlooked unless the site investigation stage is thoroughly researched, include both large scale structural variations and the influence of the microfabric on engineering soil performance. The relation between engineers and geologists is a two-way exchange. Geological research can be fed into a site investigation to ensure a safe and efficient engineering project but in return a thoroughly researched site investigation can provide the kind of geological information on which future developments depend.

Research interests

Max Barton's current research has focused on three aspects of Engineering Geology as follows.

1. The first of these is the stability of slopes and coastal cliffs in Sedimentary Rocks (in geotechnical parlance these include Engineering Soils and Soil/Rock borderline materials). This work includes both marine sediments where slide prone horizons are prevalent and fluvial sediments where the problems are associated with the rapidly changing lithology. This research has involved pioneering studies on the microfabric and mineralogy of slide prone horizons.

2. The second aspect is study of the geotechnical properties of locked and weakly cemented sands and their transition towards becoming hard sandstones. Progress in this area required the development of techniques for the sampling of weak materials in an undisturbed state to permit the investigation of their microfabric and shear strength characteristics. As well as relevance to the in-situ characteristic of these types of sediments, this work has relevance to the compaction of granular materials in general.

3. More recently, Max Barton's research has involved study of beach/cliff systems and their response to coastal erosion with especial study of the phenomenon of downdrift erosion consequent of coastal defence works acting as a barrier to littoral drift. This research includes study of the morphological evolution of coastal cliffs in response to the variety of natural processes being activated by marine erosion, the work having relevance to the different kinds of stabilisation measures which may be employed in coastal defence works.

Research group

Infrastructure Group

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Code Title Role
Dr Max Barton
Engineering, University of Southampton, Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus, Burgess Road, Southampton, SO16 7QF
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