Professor David Richards

Professor David Richards
Professor in Ground Engineering and Associate Dean (Infrastructure)
University of Southampton

David Richards is a Professor in Ground Engineering and Associate Dean (Infrastructure) of the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment at the University of Southampton .

His main technical areas of interest are the geotechnical aspects of ageing infrastructure, large-scale field monitoring, the engineering  behaviour and characterisation (pre and post processed) of landfill wastes and the performance of large diaphragm type cofferdams.

David’s work on ageing infrastructure is currently focused on the behaviour of electricity transmission tower (shallow) footing systems and, in particular, the influence of loading rates typically seen in service. This has been undertaken through an extensive model testing programme using scaled physical modelling techniques in a geotechnical centrifuge. Large-scale field monitoring of the dynamic performance of electricity transmission towers and the assessment of footings loads/rates have enabled representative loading rates to be applied in the modelling tests. Full-scale field testing of concrete truncated pyramid and chimney and steel grillage type foundations is currently in development for National Grid.

The geotechnical performance of propped earth retaining systems and changes in soil stresses associated with deep excavations is an on-going long-term field monitoring project involving a section of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, Ashford. Other monitoring schemes include stabilised based retaining walls, Coventry N-S relief Road and braced deep excavations, Achilles Way car park and the measured performance and analysis of the St Germans pumping station cofferdam, Norfolk. David was a member of the CIRIA project steering group that extended the AGS data transfer format for use in all aspects of geotechnical monitoring and a past member of the British Geotechnical Association management committee (2006-2009).

David’s work on the engineering behaviour of landfill has focused on the long-term settlement behavior of MSW and the performance of engineered barrier systems. He is a co-investigator on a major EPSRC-funded programme of Fundamental Research, Science and Strategies for the Management of Residual Wastes, and amongst other things is currently investigating techniques for the rapid assessment of waste degradation potential as a surrogate for long-term biological methods.

David’s teaching covers all aspects of geotechnics and foundations with particular interests in the broad aspects of engineering design. He is Programme Director of the Civil Engineering with Architecture BEng/Meng courses.

In 2001 David was awarded a Gledden Senior Visiting Fellowship by the University of Western Australia, Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems. He is a co-recipient of the IMechE Thomas Hawksley Gold Medal, the 2007 John F Alcock Memorial Prize and in 2009 was a recipient of an ICE Telford Premium prize.