Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Senior Lecturer



+44 (0)20 7594 6020aikaterini.tsiampousi05




Ms Sue Feller +44 (0)20 7594 6077




440ASkempton BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Dr Katerina Tsiampousi conducts numerical and experimental research in the area of unsaturated soils, with applications on Energy Geotechnics and on Environmental Geotechnics.

Her interest on Energy Geotechnics incudes geological disposal of nuclear waste and ground source heating/cooling (GSHC) systems. In particular, she is interested in the thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) behaviour of compacted bentonite (proposed to be used as engineered barrier in deep geological repositories) and of London clay (a soil relevant to GSHC systems in London). In addition to sophisticated numerical tools, Dr Tsiampousi is developing state-of-the-art experimental facilities with colleagues at the Geotechnics Laboratory, purposefully designed to control temperature in the range of 5 to 85oC and suction in the range of 30 to 300MPa. Her research on Energy Geotechnics is kindly supported by RWM Ltd, AMEC-Foster-Wheeler and Over Arup & Partners.

Her interest on Environmental Geotechnics focuses on the effect of climate on natural and man-made slopes (e.g. highway, railway and flood embankments, and cut slopes), and on Soil-Plant-Atmosphere Interaction (SPAI). Dr Tsiampousi participated, in collaboration with the University of Bari, in the modelling of landslides in the Southern Apennines, Italy, demonstrating that SPAI and the associated pore pressure variation is the triggering mechanism for first-time slope failures in the region. Further research in slopes cut in London clay highlighted the need for a long-term vegetation management, in order to achieve a balance between serviceability and ultimate limit states


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October 2014 – present

Experimental investigation of the thermo-hydro-mechanical behaviour of bentonite buffers for nuclear waste disposal

Funded by a Skempton Scholarship and RWM Ltd


October 2015 – present

Numerical study of bentonite buffer homogenisation upon re-saturation

Funded by RWM Ltd & AMEC-Foster-Wheeler


October 2016 – present

Temperature controlled oedometer testing        

Funded by EPSRC DTG


October 2016 – present

Reuse and Sustainability of flood defences

Funded by EPSRC CDT in Sustainable Engineering and GCG


October 2017 – present

Numerical modelling of tunnelling near existing grey cast iron tunnels     

Funded by EPSRC DTG

Selected recent presentations

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main reserach findings: Modelling of unsaturated soils and numerical applications in boundary value problems

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  •  Tsiampousi et al. (2017a) proposed an alternative approach to deriving the Governing Equations for coupled consolidation in unsaturated soils. The respective finite element equations are developed and used in the numerical analysis of boundary value problems in Tsiampousi et al. (2017b).
  • Ghiadistri et al. (2018) developed a new constitutive model for expansive clays accounting for their double structure.
  • Tsiampousi et al. (2013a) developed a 3-dimentional hysteretic soil-water retention curve (SWRC) and discussed its implementation in a finite element code in detail. The SWRC model can be used in conjunction with a non-linear Hvorlsev surface (Tsiampousi et al., 2013b) to improve modelling of unsaturated soils.
  • Tsiampousi et al. (2013c) showed that the Factor of Safety against failure of slopes excavated in unsaturated soils does not generally reduce with time, an in saturated soils, but may increase, depending on the soil permeability.

main research findings: soil-atmosphere interaction in saturated and unsaturated soils

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main research findings: novel exprimental apparatus and technique

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  • Mantikos et al. (2018) presented an original design for a suction-controlled oedometer, for suctions varying in the range from 30 to 300 MPa.
  • A new temperature-controlled oedometer was developed by Kirkham et al. (2018), for temperatures ranging from 5 to 85o C.
  • A novel method of controlling RH, based on the divided-flow method, and thus soil suction in the range from 30 to 300 MPa was developed by Mantikos et al. (2016).

Main research findings: grey cast iron tunnel linnings

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The behaviour of bolted cast iron tunnelling segments and of their joints was studied by Tsiampousi et al. (2017), as part of a large research project on investigating the effects of tunnelling on existing tunnel. An overview of the project can be found in Standing et al. (2015).


J A KnappettA G Bengough, University of Dundee, 2018

V SivakumarS Donohue, Queen's University of Belfast, 2018

D G TollP N HughesK Johnson, Durham University, 2018

R A StirlingC T DavieS Glendinning, Newcastle University, 2018

S TripathyS W Rees, Cardiff University

Prof. F. Cottechia, University of Bari

Guest Lectures

Soil-atmosphere interaction in unsaturated soils: stability and serviceability of engineered slopes and barriers, Workshop on the Geotechnical challenges posed by high plasticity clays, University of Cyprus, Nocosia, Cyprus, 2022

Numerical modelling of vegetation-mediated ground atmosphere interaction, 12TH ALERT OLEK ZIENKIEWICZ SCHOOL 2021, University of Strathclyde (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering), 2022

Soil water characteristic curve and its importance, Hellenic Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (HSSMGE), Athens, Greece, 2019

On the modelling of soil-atmosphere interaction in cut and natural slopes; UNSAT 2018 keynote lecture, 7th International Conference on Unsaturated Soils; The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, 2018

Two-segment testing and analysis, Effects of tunnelling on existing tunnels, Imperial College London, London, UK, 2018

Quantifying geotechnical risk in unsaturated cut slopes, British Geotechnical Association, Institute of Civil Engineers, Imperial College London, 2013

Research Student Supervision

Ghiadistri,G, Numerical study of bentonite buffer homogenisation upon re-saturation

Guo,B, Extending the life of existing flood embankments

Kirkham,AD, Thermal characterisation of bentonite buffers for deep geological disposal of nuclear waste

Mantikos,V, Experimental investigation of the thermo-hydro-mechanical behaviour of bentonite buffers for nuclear waste disposal