James Leak

james leak

Mr James Leak

Research Student


I grew up in the Scottish Highlands, were I developed a strong interest in the environment, learning and outdoor activities; and then moved to Edinburgh to complete my bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at Napier University. During this time, I developed a strong interest in soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering. During the final year of my bachelor’s degree I successfully gained an internship in geotechnical engineering at Napier with a senior lecturer in the subject. During this internship, I had the opportunity to work on many projects, such as: particle scale effects in geotechnical centrifuge modelling and establishing new methods of grading for PSD curves for liquifaction susceptibility. Most recently, this work is to be published and is to contribute to the 7th International Conference on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering in June 2019.

One project that took place during the internship was a study on the mechanical behaviour of granular material in high gravity, which explored issues relating to particle scaling effects in geotechnical centrifuge modelling, which was the topic for my undergraduate dissertation. I chose to study this topic because it allowed me to explore a more experimental and theoretical approach to engineering.

I am now undertaking a PhD in geotechnical engineering at Napier, studying the effects of soil liquifaction using combined Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Discrete Element Modelling (DEM). Although the project is in its infancy, the scope of the project has potential to improve implementation for increased safety factors in slope stability design and better implementation of liquifaction mitigating technology, as well as furthering the ability to simulate particle and fluid interaction, to name a few.

Whilst undertaking my PhD research, I am also involved with a number of other projects, including a study on random variability in DEM simulations, an analysis of Saharan Sand/Shale particles to improve foundation design and a (currently) individual project into the effects of specific fungi and plants on bioremediation/Phytoremediation techniques.

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Current Post Grad projects