Prof. O'Sullivan has been a professor in the Geotechnics Section of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College since September 2017. She joined the Dept. in 2004 as a lecturer, following a two-year period at University College Dublin. She completed her PhD studies at the University of California, Berkeley in 2002.
Catherine's main research interest is in particulate soil mechanics. Her research uses discrete element modelling (DEM) as well as experimental techniques including micro-computed tomography (μCT). Catherine has been applying these techniques to look at fundamental sand behaviour, behaviour of reservoir sandstones, internal erosion and interpretation of laboratory tests. Recognition for her research includes the 2015 Geotechnique lecture and the 2016 Shamsher Prakash Research Award.
Catherine is very happy to support prospective students who are interested in applying for scholarships for PhD research in the area of particulate soil behaviour. A list of scholarships for studying at Imperial College is here. If you are interested please contact Catherine who can support you through the application process. Catherine is also happy to discuss post-doctoral fellowship opportunities with interested researchers.
Most of Catherine's students have had a background in civil engineering, but her group has included physicists, mathematicians and mechanical engineers.On two occasions her PhD students have nominated her for an Imperial College London Student Choice Supervision Award. The 2014 nomination video is here . In 2021 Catherine was presented with an Imperial College London President’s Awards for Teaching Innovation.
Details of Catherine's book on Particulate Discrete Element Modelling can be found at: Particulate DEM: A geomechanics perspective. A Japanese language edition of Catherine's book on Particulate Discrete Element Modelling has been translated by Kiichi Suzuki.
Catherine's publication list on Google Scholar can be found here.
Areas of Expertise:
Discrete element modelling, laboratory validation of discrete element models, development of discrete element analysis tools, micromechanics of granular material response, micro-computed tomography, characterisation of granular materials.
- October 2022: Funding for a PhD student interested in resilience of flood protection infrastructure is available. Details on how to apply.
- Catherine is participating in the Horizon 2020 funded ITN MATHEGRAM.
- Catherine is participating in the joint NSF - UKRI project BRISS. This is a collaboration with Georgia Institute of Technology.
- Catherine was a co-chair of the 2022 meeting of the ICOLD EWGIE that was held in Sheffield in July 2022.
- The source code used for void partioning in recent DEM research has been made available on github by Dr. Thomas Shire. Refer to this link:https://github.com/tomshire/Weighted-Delaunay-Constrictions. Relevant papers are Shire and O'Sullivan (2016) and Taylor et al. (2018).
- Catherine's presentation from the 2022 EMI Poromechanics seminar is available here.
- Catherine's presentation from the NGI - Workshop on Virtual Laboratory Testing and Micromechanics held in September 2022 is available here.
- Catherine's presentation from the Image is Everything Lorentz workshop in September 2022 is available here.
- Catherine presented at the June 2022 Gordon Research Conference on Particulate Systems Across Scales: From Colloidal Science to Geophysics . Her presentation slides are here.
- Catherine's presentation at the April 2022 EMMC18 conference is available here.
- Catherine's presentation at the March 2022 IRN Geomechanics workshop on modelling and measurement are available here.
- Catherine presented some work on radiography and tomography in MATHEGRAM ATC2 in April 2021. Slides are available here.
- Catherine's Granular Matter seminar in delivered in March 2021 can be viewed here. Slides are available here.
- Catherine gave a presentation on wave propagation in granular materials at Georgia Institute of Technology on Feb 25 2020. Slides are available here.
- Catherine participated in a MATHEGRAM training event in Nov. 2019 at TU Graz. Slides are available here.
- Catherine delivered a key note entitled Particle Scale Modelling in Soil Mechanics: Stiffness, strength, and seepage at the Particles 2019 conference. Slides are available here.
- Catherine delivered a keynote entitled DEM, dams and dikes at the DEM8 conference in July 2019. Slides are available here.
- Catherine delivered her inaugural lecture on 20th of February 2019. Slides from this lecture are available here. You can watch the lecture via YouTube here.
Diversity and Equality
- Catherine gave a talk on diversity to the Center for Bio-mediated & Bio-inspired Geotechnics on Feb 24 2020. Slides are available here. An on-line video of the talk is here.
- Catherine is the chair of the Equality, Diversity and Departmental Culture Committee in the Dept. of Civil Engineering.
Liu D, O'Sullivan C, Carraro JAH, 2023, The influence of particle size distribution on the stress distribution in granular materials, Geotechnique, Vol:73, ISSN:0016-8505, Pages:250-264
et al., 2022, Using geophysical data to quantify stress-transmission in gap-graded granular materials, Geotechnique, Vol:72, ISSN:0016-8505, Pages:565-582
et al., 2021, Coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations of clay compression, Computers and Geotechnics, Vol:138, ISSN:0266-352X, Pages:1-18
et al., 2021, A novel CFD-DEM coarse-graining method based on the Voronoi tessellation, Powder Technology, Vol:384, ISSN:0032-5910, Pages:479-493
et al., 2021, Influence of Fabric on Stress Distribution in Gap-Graded Soil, Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Vol:147, ISSN:1090-0241
Liu D, O'Sullivan C, Harb Carraro JA, 2021, Influence of particle size distribution on the proportion of stress-transmitting particles and implications for measures of soil state, Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Vol:147, ISSN:0733-9410, Pages:04020182-1-04020182-14