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University of Cambridge

University of Cambridge
Department of Engineering

Geotechnical and Environmental Research Group  

The Department of Engineering is the largest department in the University of Cambridge and one of the leading centres of engineering in the world. Renowned for both its teaching and research, the Department's aim is to address the world's most pressing challenges with science and technology. To achieve this aim the Department collaborates with other disciplines, institutions, companies and entrepreneurs. Cross-linking themes are fostering new connections. A major development programme within the Department's strategy will create new academic posts, studentships and a complete regeneration of the central site. This last project will bring the site to a standard commensurate with the Department's international standing, make its teaching and research transparent to all, and embody its latest ideas in design, materials and sustainability. The Department's teaching, research and infrastructure will together demonstrate the value of engineering excellence by translating intellectual achievement into practical progressive action of benefit to all.

The Department of Engineering seeks to benefit society by creating world-leading engineering knowledge that fosters sustainability, prosperity and resilience. It shares this knowledge and transfer it to industry through publication, teaching, collaboration, licensing and entrepreneurship. By integrating engineering disciplines in one department, it can address major challenges and develop complete solutions, serving as an international hub for engineering excellence.

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Dr Dongfang Liang


Dongfang Liang graduated in hydraulic engineering from Tsinghua University in China (BEng in 1998 and PhD in 2003). His PhD project involved the developed of large-scale PIV (Particle Image Velocimetry) and PLIF (Planar Laser Induced Fluorescence) techniques for shallow flow measurements. When working in the University of Western Australia and Cardiff University as research associates, he widened his research by concentrating on numerical modelling of local scour phenomena and flash floods in urban environments. He became a University Lecturer in Civil Engineering Fluid Mechanics at Cambridge since 2006. He is also a Fellow and Director of Studies of Churchill College.
Dongfang Liang’s current research topics include the scour and liquefaction around offshore structures, tsunami wave propagation, run-up and impact on coastal structures, flood risk modelling, turbulent mixing and water quality modelling.

Dr Krishna Kumar

Associated Researcher

Krishna Kumar joined the Geotechnical Research Group at Cambridge University Engineering Department in October 2010 as a PhD student. Krishna completed his PhD in January 2015 on multi-scale multiphase modelling of granular flows. He was supervised by Professor Kenichi Soga. Krishna was funded by the Cambridge International Scholarship. He is affiliated to the King’s College, Cambridge.
Krishna's work involves developing massively parallel micro-/macro-scale numerical methods: Finite Element Method, Material Point Method, Lattice Boltzmann - Discrete Element coupling and Lattice Element method. You can view my PhD thesis here.
Krishna also works on large-scale big data frameworks for infrastructure monitoring. The big data framework will be able to provide real-time information and alerts (in case of a potential failure) on the behaviour of various structural elements in an infrastructure project.
Krishna completed his PhD research at the University of Cambridge on multi-scale multiphase modelling of granular flows. His research was a part of a joint project with University of Montpellier II, France. Krishna is interested in understanding the mechanism of granular flow is of particular importance in predicting the run-out distances of debris flows and submarine landslides. A multi-scale approach is adopted to understand the fundamental microscopic parameters that control the complex macroscopic granular flow dynamics. A 2D/3D Material Point Method (MPM) code is extended to simulate granular flows as a continuum. A coupled GP-GPU compatible Discrete Element (DEM) – Lattice-Boltzmann Method (LBM) code with Large-scale Eddy Simulation (LES) technique is developed to study the underlying micro-mechanics of granular flows in fluid. Numerical simulations of granular flows under dry and submerged conditions were performed to understand the rheology of granular flows and the limitations continuum models have in simulating large deformation problems by investigating the mechanism of energy dissipation and flow kinematics.

Shyamini Kularathna

PhD Student

Hansini Mallikarachchi

PhD Student