Centre for Geotechnics

‚ÄčLed by Dr Daniel Barreto, the Centre for Geotechnics undertakes research and provides consultancy, expert witness and continuing professional development services to a range of organisations, including government agencies and civil engineering consultancies and contractors.

The Centre has expertise in the general area of geotechnical analysis and design, and specific skills in relation to:

  • non-destructive/remote survey and investigation
  • distinct element modelling
  • mass loss/degradable soils with particular application to embankment dam stability, landfill settlement, slope stability in decomposed weathered soils, and the mechanical stability of peat
  • foundation pile installation effects

Present projects include the IntelliBike project, which is developing a tool for assessing the state of our off-road cycle paths. It does this by relating vibrations measured under the saddle to the state of the path. It also measures: noise, light levels, pollution, and takes film footage as the rider pedals along.

Other projects are looking at the prediction of landfill closure behaviour, stability of eroded and dissolved soils and simulation of anisotropic stress states in the ground. DEM simulations, in parallel with experimental studies, are looking at the particulate nature of soils, to gain further insights into foundation behaviour. Many of these projects involve international cooperation with other universities and industry.

The Centre has a range of geotechnical test equipment including stress controlled triaxial test cell, unsaturated soil test equipment, mercury intrusion porosimeter, and other specialised equipment for the testing of soluble and degradable soils, as well as the dynamic behaviour of offshore foundations.

Daniel Barreto, BEng MSc PhD DIC

Head of Centre

Educated at Universidad de los Andes (Bogota, Colombia) and Imperial College London, Dr Barreto was appointed in 2009 as Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering in the School of Engineering and the Built Environment at Edinburgh Napier University. He formerly held geotechnical positions and was involved in slope stability studies and the design of various geotechnical structures.

Specialist in investigating anisotropic behaviour of soils, Dr Barreto brings to the Centre of Geotechnics a range of skills which include the use of numerical modelling techniques and expertise on advanced laboratory testing. His current research interests include the application and development of the Distinct Element Method (DEM) to model soil behaviour under a variety loading conditions.

Dr John McDougall MSc, PhD

Reader in Geotechnical Engineering

Dr McDougall gained an MSc in Geotechnical Engineering from Bolton Institute in 1993 and his PhD on the modelling of landfill hydraulics from Bolton Institute/University of Manchester in 1996. He was appointed to a Research Fellowship in the School of the Built Environment at Napier University. Subsequently he was promoted to Senior Research Fellow, to a lectureship in Geotechnical Engineering in 2004, and to a Readership in 2008. He is currently Civil Engineering Subject Group Leader in the School of Engineering and the Built Environment.

Dr McDougall has research interests in decomposing soils, the engineering analysis and modelling of landfill behaviour and unsaturated soils. His work has won research funding from UK funding councils, government agencies and other bodies. International recognition has been gained for innovative work on the engineering analysis and hydro-bio-mechanical modelling of landfill behaviour . More recently this work has been applied via consultancy services to the analysis of real landfill closure problems.