Climate change impacts on flood protection embankments

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Architecture, Building and Civil Eng


Long Linear Assets (LLAs) are fundamental to the delivery of critical services over long distances (e.g. road & railway embankments and cuttings, pipeline bedding, flood protection structures). The focus of this PhD is on the geotechnical aspects of flood protection embankments.

At present the exact reasons for and timing of failure are poorly understood. Unanticipated failures cause severe disruption with associated high costs. Current approaches to address future failure are largely based on past experience and this limits realistic extrapolation to future performance.

As the infrastructure becomes older its condition deteriorates. In addition, it is ever more intensively used and subject to increasingly extreme weather patterns. These factors combine to significantly increase the likelihood of future failures. Climate change has been identified as one of the dominant factors driving this change.

This PhD will investigate the impacts of climate change on the deterioration and performance of flood embankments. A case study flood embankment at Warden, Hexham, UK, will be instrumented to in order to obtain measurements from seasonal behaviour in a full-scale asset. These measurements will be used to calibrate/validate a numerical modelling approach. This numerical modelling approach will then be used to simulate the behaviour of a suite of flood embankments to projected climate change patterns to enhance our understanding of deterioration processes.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R513088/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2023
2295646 Studentship EP/R513088/1 01/10/2019 30/06/2023 Daniel Gibbs