Granular and Geomechanical Processes

The Granular and Geomechanical Processes Group conducts fundamental research on the mechanics of dry and wet granular materials and their interaction with industrial infrastructure, with broad applications in silo design, bulk solids handling, paste rheology, fluidisation and natural hazard mitigation.

The research group has diverse research expertise and themes studying granular materials from particle to full-industrial scales, from dry to multiphase systems; and has been developing novel discrete and continuum theories and numerical methods and experimental techniques to enable such research.

Our research has had a considerable impact, ranging from significant scientific discoveries, to development of design standards, to practical industrial applications, and has generated two spin-off companies EDEM Simulations and Particle Analytics.

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Research Areas

  • Discrete Element Method simulation
  • Particle sintering and attrition
  • Modelling particles of complex shapes
  • Constitutive modelling of granular materials
  • Friction models for granular systems
  • Earthen construction
  • Soil hydrophobicity
  • Generalised continuum models
  • Particle-based simulation of pastes and gels

The group is currently coordinating the TUSAIL EU Horizon 2020 Innovative Training Network, and has coordinated in the past two EU FP7 Marie Curie Initial Training Network, PARDEM (2009-2013) and T-MAPPP (2014- 2018), to promote major advancement of discrete element and multiscale methods applying to industrial granular processes. It has also participated in another EU FP7 research project, VELaSSCo, to take advantage of the Big Data technologies for large-scale visualization of scientific simulations. We also work with other funders including EPSRC, IFPRI, P&G UK, and The Royal Society.

Academic members

The group has around 30 members including PDRAs, PhD students, and various visitors to the group. We have international partnerships with industry and Universities including Johnson Matthey, P&G UK, International Fine Particles Research Institute, Zheijiang University, and many others.


Pilot Silo Facility
Pilot Silo Facility
Granular Mechanics Group
Granular Mechanics Group
Horizontal normal stresses during a silo discharge obtained using coarse-graining of DEM simulation data
Horizontal normal stresses during a silo discharge obtained using coarse-graining of DEM simulation data