Dr Colin Smith

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering

Senior Lecturer

CIV Colin Smith
c.c.smith@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 5717

Full contact details

Dr Colin Smith
Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Room E106
Sir Frederick Mappin Building (Broad Lane Building)
Mappin Street
Sheffield
S1 3JD
Profile

My research focuses on the development of optimisation-based geotechnical analysis and design tools and low-carbon construction techniques in order to make the best use of our resources and minimise environmental impact.

Dr Colin Smith


Colin Smith graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1987. He joined the Cambridge Soil Mechanics research group in the same year and completed a PhD in 1991.  Following two years as a research associate at Cambridge he joined the Department in 1992.

He is co-developer of the novel Discontinuity Layout Optimisation (DLO) numerical limit analysis method and is co-founder and director of University spin-out company LimitState Ltd, where he led the development of the DLO based ultimate limit state analysis and design software LimitState:GEO. The software rapidly analyses the safety of geotechnical constructions and is now in use by over 100 companies and ~240 Universities across the world. It is also used within several taught modules at Sheffield.

He currently teaches geotechnical design modules within the Department at Level 3 and MSc level.

His research is aimed at developing enhanced limit analysis techniques and in the application of robust optimization techniques to geotechnical design.

He is also researching novel low carbon geotechnical construction techniques.  Adopting the broad paradigm of in-situ resource utilization, this work seeks to ‘go back to the future’ combining traditional approaches (including masonry) with digital technology to achieve modern standards of engineering with minimal external material inputs. This work combines experimental studies with numerical modelling.

His research at Sheffield has been funded by EPSRC, NERC and industry.


Research Themes

Digital

Hazards

Infrastructure

Materials

Research interests

Colin's research aims to improve the design and efficiency of fundamental geotechnical structures, such as foundations, retaining walls, slopes/embankments and tunnels.

His work focuses on:

  • Limit analysis and optimisation in geotechnics: providing easy-to-use tools for engineers to identify critical collapse mechanisms and associated margins of safety.
  • Low-carbon geotechnical construction through numerical design optimisation and the application of low-impact construction techniques.  This encompasses traditional methods using soil and rock, application of unsaturated soil strength, and development of rigorous chemistry based bio-additive techniques for soil improvement.
  • Masonry arch bridge analysis, modelling and assessment.

Further information may be found in his dedicated research pages.

Publications

Books

  • Smith C, Armstrong S & Tait S (2003) LTSN engineering mini-project report: Enhancing transferable skills development in group projects through the use of training exercises. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles

Chapters

  • Gilbert M, Smith CC, Hawksbee SJ & Tyas A (2014) Use of Layout Optimization to Solve Large-Scale Limit Analysis and Design Problems, Direct Methods for Limit States in Structures and Materials (pp. 157-180). Springer Netherlands RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith CC (2013) Application of computational limit analysis in ultimate limit state design In Arnold P, Fenton GA, Hicks MA, Schweckendiek T & Simpson B (Ed.), Modern Geotechnical Design Codes of Practice (pp. 195-213). IOS Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith CC, Talbot S & Lawson N (2007) Chapter 10: 'The creature lurks within?' Restoring acid tar lagoons In Dixon T (Ed.), Sustainable Brownfield Regeneration Wiley-Blackwell RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith CC (2006) Geotechnical testing for assessment of masonry arch bridges In McKibbins LD (Ed.), Masonry Arch Bridges: Condition Appraisal and Remedial Treatment Ciria RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith CC (1995) Cold regions' engineering In Taylor RN (Ed.), Geotechnical Centrifuge Technology (pp. 264-292). Routledge RIS download Bibtex download
  • Talbot S, Lawson N & Smith C () ‘The Creature Lurks Within?’ Restoring Acid Tar Lagoons, Sustainable Brownfield Regeneration (pp. 237-262). Blackwell Publishing Ltd RIS download Bibtex download

Conference proceedings papers

  • Scarfone R, Wheeler SJ & Smith CC (2020) Numerical study of the application of capillary barrier systems for prevention of rainfall-induced slope instabilities. E3S Web of Conferences, Vol. 195. Lisboa, Portugal (online), 19 October 2020 - 21 October 2020. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Tarantino A, El Mountassir G, Wheeler S, Gallipoli D, Russo G, Augarde C, Urciuoli G, Pirone M, Stokes A, van de Kuilen JW , Gard W et al (2020) TERRE project : interplay between unsaturated soil mechanics and low-carbon geotechnical engineering. E3S Web of Conferences, Vol. 195. Lisboa, Portugal (online), 19 October 2020 - 21 October 2020. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith CC, Gilbert M, González-Castejón J & Ouakka S (2020) Application of Computational Design Optimization in Geotechnical Engineering. Geo-Congress 2020 RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith CC & Gilbert M (2020) Application of Computational Limit Analysis to LRFD Design. Geo-Congress 2020 RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gilbert M, Valentino J, Smith C & Pritchard T (2020) Limit Analysis of Masonry Arch Bridges Using Discontinuity Layout Optimization (pp 307-314) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Amodio S, Gilbert M & Smith C (2020) Modelling Masonry Arch Bridges Containing Internal Spandrel Walls (pp 315-322) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dang Q, Gilbert M & Smith CC (2020) Lower Bound Stress Fields in the Limit Analysis of Soil-Filled Masonry Arch Bridges (pp 323-330) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Charles J, Smith C & Black J (2019) Automated reconstruction of soil stress-strain response from full field displacement measurements and loading data using optimisation.. . Proceedings of the XVII European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering - ECSMGE, Vol. 1(1), 1 September 2019 - 6 September 2019. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith CC, Gilbert M, He L, González-Castejón J & Ouakka S (2019) Recent advances in the application of discontinuity layout optimization to geotechnical analysis and design problems. 17th European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, ECSMGE 2019 - Proceedings, Vol. 2019-September RIS download Bibtex download
  • Li H, Smith CC & Shepley P (2019) Discrete particle modelling of granular soils using a physics engine. 17th European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, ECSMGE 2019 - Proceedings, Vol. 2019-September RIS download Bibtex download
  • Charles JA, Smith CC & Black JA (2018) Identification of soil stress-strain response from full field displacement measurements in plane strain model tests. Physical Modelling in Geotechnics (pp 835-840). London, 17 July 2018 - 20 July 2018. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gonzalez-Castejon J & Smith C (2018) Optimal design of reinforced slopes (pp 1377-1382) View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith CC, Gonzalez-Castejon J & Charles J (2017) Enhanced interpretation of geotechnical limit analysis solutions using Discontinuity Layout Optimization. 19th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (pp 851-854), 17 September 2017 - 17 September 2017. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gilbert M, Smith CC, Melbourne C, Augusthus-Nelson L & Swift G (2016) Proposed permissible limit state assessment criteria for masonry arch bridges. Proc. 8th International Arch Bridges Conference. Wroclaw RIS download Bibtex download
  • Pytlos , Gilbert M & smith CC (2016) Use of a physics engine to model soil filled masonry arch bridges. Proc. 8th International Arch Bridges Conference. Wroclaw RIS download Bibtex download
  • Augusthus-Nelson L, Swift G, Smith CC, Gilbert M & Melbourne C (2016) Behaviour of backfilled masonry arch bridges subjected to cyclic loading. Proc. 8th International Arch Bridges Conference. Wroclaw RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gueguin M, Smith CC & Gilbert M (2015) Use of digital image correlation to directly derive soil stress-strain response from physical model test data. Geotechnical Engineering for Infrastructure and Development - Proceedings of the XVI European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, ECSMGE 2015, Vol. 7 (pp 3881-3886) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Da Silva MR, Smith CC & Jurko J (2015) Plane strain capacity of a two-layered clay: Squeezing of upper layer. Geotechnical Engineering for Infrastructure and Development - Proceedings of the XVI European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, ECSMGE 2015, Vol. 7 (pp 4043-4048) View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith CC (2015) SLS analysis of soil-structure interaction using direct methods. Geotechnical Engineering for Infrastructure and Development - Proceedings of the XVI European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, ECSMGE 2015, Vol. 7 (pp 4179-4184) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ballard J & Smith C (2015) Ultimate uplift capacity of buried pipelines in undrained clay (pp 357-362) RIS download Bibtex download
  • da Silva M, Smith C & Jurko J (2015) Squeezing bearing capacity and effects of increasing strength with depth (pp 1299-1304) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Shwan BJ & Smith CC (2015) Investigation of the shear strength of unsaturated sand using a modified direct shear apparatus. Geotechnical Engineering for Infrastructure and Development - Proceedings of the XVI European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, ECSMGE 2015, Vol. 6 (pp 3353-3357) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Pytlos M, Gilbert M & Smith C (2014) Simulation of granular soil behaviour using physics engines (pp 163-168) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Lincoln DL, Askes H, Smith CC, Cripps JC & Bennett T (2014) Coupled two-component flow in deformable fractured porous media with application to modelling geological carbon storage. Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering - Proceedings of the 8th European Conference on Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering, NUMGE 2014, Vol. 2 (pp 989-994) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith CC, Gilbert M, Hawksbee SJ & Babiker A (2014) Recent advances in the application of discontinuity layout optimization to geotechnical limit analysis problems. Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering - Proceedings of the 8th European Conference on Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering, NUMGE 2014, Vol. 1 (pp 415-420) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Shwan BJ & Smith CC (2014) Application of limit analysis in unsaturated soils: Numerical and experimental study of bearing capacity. Unsaturated Soils: Research and Applications - Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Unsaturated Soils, UNSAT 2014, Vol. 2 (pp 1757-1762) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Melbourne C, Cole G, Gilbert M, Swift GM & Smith C (2013) A road-map for the assessment of masonry arch bridges. 7th International Arch Bridges Conference (pp 605-612). Croatia RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gilbert M, Smith C, Hawksbee , Swift GM & Melbourne C (2013) Modelling soil-structure interaction in masonry arch bridges. 7th International Arch Bridges Conference (pp 613-620). Croatia RIS download Bibtex download
  • Merifield R & Smith C (2010) The Ultimate Uplift Capacity of Multi-Plate Anchors in Undrained Clay. Soil Behavior and Geo-Micromechanics RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith CC & Gilbert M (2010) Ultimate limit state design to Eurocode 7 using numerical methods. Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering - Proceedings of the 7th European Conference on Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering (pp 947-952) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith CC & Gilbert M (2010) Advances in computational limit state analysis and design. Advances in Analysis, Modeling, & Design, Proceedings of the GeoFlorida 2010 Conference. West Palm Beach RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gilbert M, Smith CC, Haslam IW & Pritchard TJ (2010) Application of discontinuity layout optimization to geotechnical limit analysis problems. Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering - Proceedings of the 7th European Conference on Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering (pp 169-174) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Clarke SD, Smith CC & Gilbert M (2010) Analysis of the stability of sheet pile walls using discontinuity layout optimization. Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering - Proceedings of the 7th European Conference on Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering (pp 163-168) View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Babiker AF, Smith CC & Gilbert M (2010) Application of discontinuity layout optimization to problems involving non-associative friction. Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering - Proceedings of the 7th European Conference on Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering (pp 45-50) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gilbert M, Smith CC, Pritchard TJ, Haslam IW & Shepherd M (2009) Systematic identification of yield-line patterns in slabs. Concrete Communication Symposioum (pp 2). Leeds RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gilbert M & Smith CC (2008) On the analogy between structural layout optimization and plastic limit analysis formulations. 8th World Congress in Computational Mechanics (pp 2-2). Venice RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith CC & Gilbert M (2008) Limit analysis of the stability of foundations on inclined ground. 2nd International Conference on Foundations, ICOF 2008 (pp 1683-1692). 2008 RIS download Bibtex download
  • Swift G, Melbourne C, Wang J, Gilbert M & Smith CC (2008) Geotechnical aspects of masonry arch bridges. Advances in Transportation Geotechnics (pp 459-466). Nottingham RIS download Bibtex download
  • Nguyen D, Gilbert M & Smith CC (2007) Application of limit analysis to soil-structure interaction problems. 10th Australia-New Zealand Conference on Geomechanics (pp 196-201). Brisbane RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gilbert M, Nguyen D & Smith CC (2007) Computational limit analysis of soil-arch interaction in masonry arch bridges. 5th International Arch Bridges Conference (pp 633-640). Madeira RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gilbert M, Smith CC, Wang J, Callaway PA & Melbourne C (2007) Small and large-scale experimental studies of soil-arch interaction in masonry bridges. 5th International Arch Bridges Conference (pp 381-388). Madeira RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gilbert M & Smith CC (2007) Discontinuity layout optimization: A new numerical procedure for upper bound limit analysis. IX International Conference on Computational Plasticity: COMPLAS IX (pp 170-173). Barcelona RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith CC & Gilbert M (2007) New upper bound solutions for layered soil bearing capacity problems using discontinuity layout optimization. 10th Australia-New Zealand Conference on Geomechanics (pp 250-255). Brisbane RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gilbert M, Smith CC, Melbourne C & Wang J (2006) An experimental study of soil-arch interaction in masonry bridges. Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Bridge Maintenance, Safety and Management (pp 8-8). Porto RIS download Bibtex download
  • Cripps JC, Czerewko MA, Smith CC & Williams GM (2006) Wolverhampton case study of the characterisation of groundwater interaction with contaminated soils. 10th Congress of the International Association of Engineering Geology and the Environment. Nottingham RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith CC, Gilbert M, Melbourne C & Wang J (2006) Full scale modelling of soil-structure interaction in masonry arch bridges. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Physical Modelling in Geotechnics, Vol. 1-2 (pp 247-252) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Haslam I, Smith CC & Crouch RS (2005) Reactive flow and mixing in uniform and tortuous flow fields. ACME 2005, Association for Computational Mechanics in Engineering Conference (pp 67-70). Sheffield RIS download Bibtex download
  • Hao X & Smith CC (2005) Physical and chemical properties of acid tars. ConSoil 2005. Bordeaux RIS download Bibtex download
  • Talbot S, Smith CC, Lawson N, Shaw S & Hao X (2004) Restoration of acid tar lagoons - an inclusive approach. SCI/RSC Conference: Contaminated Land - Achievements & Aspirations. Loughborough RIS download Bibtex download
  • Haslam I, Smith CC & Crouch RS (2004) Lattice gas simulations of reactive flow in porous media: Preliminary results. ACME 2004, Association for Computational Mechanics in Engineering Conference. Cardiff RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith CC, Gilbert M & Callaway CC (2004) Geotechnical issues in the analysis of masonry arch bridges. 4th International Arch Bridges Conference (pp 343-352). Barcelona RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith CC, Hao X & Brown MJ (2004) SUBR:IM work package H: Restoration of acid tar lagoons. CL:AIRE Annual Project Conference 2004. London RIS download Bibtex download
  • Lerner DN, Huang WE, Smith CC & Thornton SF (2002) Transverse dispersion-it’s role in natural attenuation. European Conference on Natural Attenuation (pp 39-42). Frankfurt, Germany, 15 October 2002 - 17 October 2002. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Czerewko MA, Cripps JC, Smith CC, Williams GM, Smith A, Midwood A & Suzuki K (2002) An investigation into the potential for groundwater contamination as a result of industrial dereliction. 9th Congress of the International Association of Engineering Geology and the Environment (pp 1520-1528). Cape Town RIS download Bibtex download
  • Freewood RJ, Cripps JC & Smith CC (2002) Leachate attenuation characteristics of colliery spoil. Groundwater Quality: Natural and Enhanced Restoration of Groundwater Pollution, IAHS Special Publication No. 2750144-7815 (pp 159-164). Sheffield RIS download Bibtex download
  • Huang WE, Lerner DN, Smith CC & Thornton SF (2002) A non-invasive imaging technique to investigate the solute transport in porous media. Groundwater Quality: Natural and Enhanced Restoration of Groundwater Pollution. S.F. Thornton & S.E. Oswald (eds), IAHS Publication 275 (pp 277-282). Sheffield, UK RIS download Bibtex download
  • Czerewko MA, Cripps JC, Smith CC, Williams GM, Smith A, Midwood AJ & Suzuki K (2001) Evaluation of leaching tests in contaminated land studies. 3rd BGA Conference on Geoenvironmental Engineering. Edinburgh RIS download Bibtex download
  • Freewood RJ, Smith CC & Cripps JC (2001) Comparison of leachate attenuation characteristics of colliery spoils in field, column and batch tests. 3rd BGA Conference on Geoenvironmental Engineering. Edinburgh RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smith CC & Pearce CL (2001) The influence of effective stress on the sorption characteristics of bentonite. 15th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (pp 1851-1854). Istanbul, Vol. 3 RIS download Bibtex download
  • Xiangsheng C, Schofield AN & Smith CC (1994) Centrifuge modelling of frost heave of pipelines (pp 91-96) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Chen XS, Schofield AN & Smith CC (1993) Preliminary tests of heave and settlement of soils under one cycle of freeze-thaw in closed system on a small centrifuge. Proc. 6th International Conference on Permafrost, Vol. II (pp 1070-1072). Beijing RIS download Bibtex download

Patents

  • Smith CC & Gilbert M () Data processing method and method. US 8,140,175 Appl. 01 Jan 1970. RIS download Bibtex download

Reports

  • Bayton SM, Black JA, Smith CC, Handley B & Primett C (2016) Challenging the perceptions of precast piles View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

Computational Mechanics & Design

Geotechnical Engineering Discipline

Grants

Exploiting the resilience of masonry arch bridge infrastructure

The goal of this project is to provide those responsible for the management of bridges with a powerful suite of analysis modelling tools and a robust overarching multi-level framework capable of being applied to the diverse population of masonry arch bridges in-service today (i.e. undamaged, damaged and repaired).


Practical 3D model of masonry arch bridges and tunnel linings

The decision support tools currently used by bridge owners and their consultants tend to be highly simplified, and incapable of identifying bridges which are likely to deteriorate under traffic loads, and of diagnosing the causes of a range of commonly encountered defects...

Professional activities

Co-founder and Director of the University spin-out company LimitState Ltd. The company specialises in the development of novel analysis and design software applications which make use of methods developed in the University. LimitState software is now used by >150 industry organizations in >30 countries.

Secretary of International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering  (ISSMGE) Technical Committee TC205 Safety and Serviceability in Geotechnical Design (2010-2017).

Member of Eurocode 7 evolution group EG4, working groups WG1-TG2, WG7, WG3-TG6 (reinforced soil), TGD1.6 (numerical methods) (2011 – present). 

Recipient of the ICE Baker Medal (2007) published journal papers.

Potential PhD offerings

Design Optimization in Geotechnical Engineering

This project is concerned with the development of numerical methods for the design optimization of earthworks, foundations and retaining structures combining general purpose optimization techniques developed for analysis (e.g. http://www.limitstate.com/geo) and design. An aptitude for computer programming would be essential for this project.