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Professor Chris Martin


Chris Martin BE (Sydney), MA DPhil (Oxon)

Professorial Research Fellow

Fellow of Mansfield College

TEL: 01865 273161


Professor Chris Martin graduated from the University of Sydney with the University Medal in Civil Engineering (1990). After working in Sydney as a site engineer for Civil & Civic (now Lendlease), he came to Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship to carry out DPhil research on the ‘spudcan’ foundations of offshore jack-up platforms (1990-94).

He then spent three years working in the Industrial Projects Group of Ove Arup & Partners (now Arup), based mainly in London (1994-97). He was a Research Fellow in the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems at the University of Western Australia (1997-2000) before returning to Oxford as a University Lecturer and Tutorial Fellow of Mansfield College (2000-2016).

Chris has been a Professorial Research Fellow since 2016.


  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Award for Best Civil Engineering Paper at the Offshore Technology Conference (2012)
  • University of Oxford Teaching Award (2006)
  • International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) Young Researcher Award (2001)

Research Interests

Chris has a long-standing interest in the development of efficient computational methods for solving plastic collapse problems in geotechnical engineering (e.g. bearing capacity of foundations; stability of excavations and slopes). He has particular expertise in finite element limit analysis (FELA), and has developed a FELA package called OxLim that leverages the power of specialist conic optimization software (MOSEK) and open-source mesh generation codes (Triangle, TetGen) to obtain accurate plastic collapse loads at a fraction of the cost of conventional incrementaliterative finite element analysis. This work has been supported by EPSRC and by industrial sponsors including Subsea 7 (offshore mudmat and suction caisson foundations under complex 3D loading) and Atkins (monopile foundations for offshore wind turbines). Through a recent collaboration with TU Wien, he has also been involved in the application of FELA to wood at various scales of observation.

He has a strong interest in pipeline geotechnics, particularly pipe/soil interaction (PSI), for both buried and surface-laid pipelines. As a consultant for the SAFEBUCK Joint Industry Project (2006-2013), Chris developed and implemented efficient new models for simulating PSI during thermally-induced lateral buckling of subsea pipelines. A current project, sponsored by EPSRC and Crondall Energy Subsea, is exploring the use of numerical tools such as large-deformation finite element analysis (with Abaqus CEL) and sequential limit analysis (with OxLim) to achieve realistic modelling of PSI during cyclic lateral buckling, incorporating the
complex 3D effects that arise from buckle initiation devices such as sleepers and buoyancy modules. He has also been involved in laboratory-based studies of buried pipeline behaviour for industrial partners including KW Limited and Technip.

His other current research interests, most of which are being pursued through the supervision of DPhil/EngD students enrolled on the REMS Centre for Doctoral Training, include:

• advanced laboratory testing of soils (stress path triaxial and dynamic triaxial testing)
• constitutive modelling and finite element analysis of soils under cyclic loading
• buckling of thin-walled foundations (suction caissons and piles) during installation
• finite element analysis of tunnelling-induced building damage

Current Projects

  • 3D computational modelling of subsea pipeline/soil interaction: A DPhil project sponsored by EPSRC and Crondall Energy Subsea
  • Implementation and development of practical constitutive models for finite element analysis of offshore foundations: An EngD project sponsored by Fugro (via REMS CDT)
  • Modelling of laterally loaded monopiles in clay: An EngD project sponsored by Atkins (via REMS CDT)
  • A laboratory investigation into the behaviour of sand at low confining stresses: A DPhil project sponsored by EPSRC (via REMS CDT).

DPhil Opportunities

Prospective DPhil or EngD students, particularly those with interests in computational plasticity, pipeline geotechnics or advanced laboratory testing of soils, are welcome to contact me by email.