PhD student: Debris flows via EGU

University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong SAR China

Job description

This project: Debris flows, which are mixtures of soil and water, surge downslope at high velocities and often result in fatalities and damage to infrastructure. To arrest these flows, barriers are often installed to arrest debris flows. Despite the scientific and engineering value of barriers, they are currently designed empirically. Our knowledge is limited because: (i) fundamental debris flows impact mechanisms are rarely captured in the field; (ii) debris flows are scale-dependent, requiring unique facilities to model the appropriate flow dynamics; and (iii) debris flows dynamics are sensitive to their complex flow compositions.

In this proposed project, unique physical experiments will be conducted using one of the world’s largest flumes to capture the appropriate flow dynamics. The experimental data will be used to calibrate a numerical model and conduct a parametric study to interpolate any missing experimental data. A new analytical framework to design a barriers will be developed and evaluated.

Our Team: The work will be supervised by Clarence Choi. The student would join the Geohazards group consisting of 3 other PhD students and 3 postdocs, working on landslide mechanisms and mitigation of landslide hazards. More details of the research team can be found at

Student Profile: We are seeking a highly motivated individual with a background in geotechnical engineering, geophysics, or geological engineering with a strong quantitative foundation. The successful candidate will be able to work independently, and have a keen interest to do interdisciplinary work on landslide hazard mitigation. Previous experience with experimental and/or numerical (fluid dynamics and/or solid-mechanics) modelling is an advantage. For more information on this project please contact Clarence Choi ([email protected]).