Dr Joel Smethurst is an Associate Professor in Geotechnical Engineering within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton. He is member of the Infrastructure Research Group and is currently the Director of Programmes for Civil Engineering.
"Geotechnical Engineering underpins the transport infrastructure that we all rely on every day – my research is about ensuring that as it ages, it continues to perform for society."
His 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.
Joel completed his PhD in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Southampton in 2004, and was previously a Research Fellow (2004-2012), and Lecturer (2012-2018) at the University.
He is a member of the Editorial Board of Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, has been a reviewer for more than 20 international scientific journals, and for research councils in the UK and abroad. Joel is also a member of the Insitution of Civil Engineers South Branch committee.
His Publons record is F-6734-2010
- The effects of vegetation and climate on the performance of earthworks (cuttings and embankments)
- The stabilisation of both infrastructure slopes and large landslides using discretely spaced piles
- The mechanical stabilisation of soil by plants roots
- The use of terrestrial laser scanning in geotechnical engineering, and development of novel slope instrumentation approaches
- Short and long-term heave of clay beneath deep basement 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 nearly 20 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.
Current reaserch projects include the major EPSRC Programme Grant ACHILLES (www.achilles-grant.org.uk) which is investigating weather driven deterioration of clay earthworks, and a Network Rail project analysing transitions between clay embankments and underbridges.