Imperial College London

Emeritus ProfessorChrisSwan

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Emeritus Professor of Hydrodynamics



+44 (0)20 7594 5999c.swan




Miss Rebecca Naessens +44 (0)20 7594 5990




329Skempton BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Chris Swan is Professor of Hydrodynamics and Head of the Fluid Mechanics Section within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His principle research interests concern the description of surface water waves, particularly extreme wave events, and their interaction with both fixed and floating structures. Applications of this work concern both deep-water offshore and shallow-water coastal environments; with research funding provided by the offshore oil and gas industry, the maritime and shipping industries and the coastal engineering industry.


Professor Swan has been an academic staff member at Imperial College since 1989; having previously completed a BSc in Civil Engineering at Imperial College, a PhD at Cambridge University and held the Angus Memorial Research Fellowship at Sidney Sussex College Cambridge. He has published over 50 technical papers covering various aspects of wave modelling. These include: the description of extreme wave events, including their probability of occurrence; models for the underlying water particle kinematics; wind-wave and wave-current interactions; the interaction of waves with structures and vessels, both fixed and floating; the calculation of fluid loads; and aspects of environmental fluid mechanics, related to wave-induced dispersion and two-phase plumes. The emphasis of his work is both experimental and numerical modelling.


In the last 10 years, has supervised the successful completion of 11 PhD dissertations. He has also secured the funding for and overseen the reconstruction of a new Hydrodynamics Laboratory dedicated to the study of Civil Engineering Fluid Mechanics. This is the largest Laboratory of its kind in the UK University Sector and is widely regarded as providing internationally leading facilities.



Zve ES, Swan C, Hughes GO, 2023, Crest-height statistics in finite water depth. Part 1: The role of the nonlinear interactions in uni-directional seas, Ocean Engineering, Vol:289, ISSN:0029-8018

Ma L, Swan C, 2023, Wave-in-deck loads: an assessment of present design practice given recent improvements in the description of extreme waves and the nature of the applied loads, Ocean Engineering, Vol:285, ISSN:0029-8018, Pages:1-19

Ma L, Swan C, 2023, An experimental study of wave-in-deck loading and its dependence on the properties of the topside structure, Marine Structures, Vol:88, ISSN:0951-8339, Pages:1-24

Karmpadakis I, Swan C, 2022, A new crest height distribution for nonlinear and breaking waves in varying water depths, Ocean Engineering, Vol:266, ISSN:0029-8018, Pages:1-17

Ma L, Swan C, 2020, The effective prediction of wave-in-deck loads, Journal of Fluids and Structures, Vol:95, ISSN:0889-9746

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