Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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.



Karmpadakis I, Swan C, Christou M, 2019, Laboratory investigation of crest height statistics in intermediate water depths, Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Vol:475, ISSN:1364-5021, Pages:1-24

Latheef M, Swan C, Spinneken J, 2017, A laboratory study of nonlinear changes in the directionality of extreme seas, Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Vol:473, ISSN:1364-5021

Rodriguez M, Spinneken J, Swan C, 2016, Nonlinear loading of a two-dimensional heaving box, Journal of Fluids and Structures, Vol:60, ISSN:1095-8622, Pages:80-96

Peric M, Swan C, 2015, An experimental study of the wave excitation in the gap between two closely spaced bodies, with implications for LNG offloading, Applied Ocean Research, Vol:51, ISSN:0141-1187, Pages:320-330

Swan C, Sheikh R, 2015, The interaction between steep waves and a surface-piercing column, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Vol:373, ISSN:1364-503X

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