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Dr Sergio Maldonado PhD, MRes, BEng

Lecturer in Hydraulics

Dr Sergio Maldonado's photo

Dr Sergio Maldonado-Villanueva is a Lecturer in Civil Engineering Hydraulics in Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Sergio Maldonado joined the University of Southampton after completing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Stanford University, where he worked on the development of models aimed at quantifying the protective service provided by coastal ecosystems, as well as communicating results from such models to non-experts. Prior to that, Sergio Maldonado was awarded a PhD in Environmental Fluid Mechanics by the University of Edinburgh. His doctoral thesis explored the development of mathematical models to study sediment transport and morphological evolution in open channels. Sergio Maldonado also holds a MRes in Hydraulic-Coastal Engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM, Mexico), where he specialised on modelling of nearshore hydrodynamics and water quality in coastal areas, and a BEng in Mechanical Engineering from Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM, Mexico).

Research interests

Sergio Maldonado’s research interests include fundamental aspects of sediment transport and morphodynamics of rivers and coasts, coastal protection provided by vegetation, marine energy and development of measurement techniques applied to hydraulics. He is also interested in bridging fundamental scientific findings and final engineering applications in environmental fluid mechanics.

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Theoretical estimate of initiation of motion

Fundamental aspects of sediment transport

Understanding the dislodgement and transport of sediment in open channels is a long-standing scientific challenge of great importance in engineering due to its connection with e.g. dam siltation, river bank stability, beach erosion, etc. This research aims at achieving a better understanding of the fundamental aspects behind the motion of sediment particles caused by a water flow, which is a precondition to produce accurate engineering tools such as predictive numerical models and erosion/deposition-control strategies.



Coastal protection provided by marshes in Chesapeake Bay

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Coastal protection provided by marshes in Chesapeake Bay

Characterising the morphology of coastal vegetation and parameterising accurately its effect in hydrodynamic numerical models used by the practitioner community is a difficult challenge. Many simplifications are usually adopted; e.g. constant drag coefficient, uniform morphology of the meadow, high-resolution bathymetric features (e.g. channels) ignored, etc. This research tries to quantify the uncertainty associated to such simplifications by means of numerical modelling and extensive field campaigns in Chesapeake Bay, USA. The overarching goal is to identify the main parameters required for an accurate estimation of the protective service provided by a marsh. This project is part of collaboration with Stanford University and George Mason University.


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Revisiting modelling of sediment transport and morphodynamics

Revisiting modelling of sediment transport and morphodynamics

Due to its complexity, modelling of sediment transport has historically been very dependent on empirical relations, which, given their abundance, usually translate into uncertainty in results from morphodynamic models. In the context of beach response to sea level rise and evolution of mega-nourishments, it becomes very important to revisit the conventional modelling of sediment transport in order to obtain more universal insights derived from the fundamental physics of the problem. This research aims at doing so by exploring alternative mathematical tools and basic, highly-controlled experiments.

Research group

Water and Environmental Engineering Group

Affiliate research groups

Simulation of Geophysical Multi-phase Flows (Stanford University), Flood Hazards Research Lab (George Mason University)

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  • Maldonado-Villanueva, S., Creed, M., & Borthwick, A. (2017). Bed-slope-related diffusion of an erodible hump. In S. Wieprecht, S. Haun, K. Weber, M. Noack, & K. Terheiden (Eds.), River Sedimentation: Proceedings of the 13th International Symposium on River Sedimentation (Stuttgart, Germany, 19-22 September, 2016) London, UK: CRC Press.


CENV3063 – Applied Hydraulics

CEN6127/8 – Understanding Civil Engineering/Hydraulics

CENV6164 -  River Engineering

CENV2008 - Hydraulics

Dr Sergio Maldonado
Engineering, University of Southampton, Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus, Burgess Road, Southampton, SO16 7QF

Room Number: 178/5015

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