Professor Genevieve Langdon

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering

Professor of Blast and Impact Engineering

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+44 114 222 5737

Full contact details

Professor Genevieve Langdon
Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Room D121
Sir Frederick Mappin Building (Broad Lane Building)
Mappin Street
S1 3JD

My research is concerned with the response and failure of structures and materials subjected to explosion loading and other extreme loading conditions.

Professor Genevieve Langdon

Genevieve Langdon is Professor of Blast and Impact Engineering. She is trained as a mechanical engineer, completing her undergraduate and doctoral studies at the University of Liverpool.

Her PhD work focused on the response of corrugated blast walls with semi-rigid connections to gas explosion loading and was sponsored by the EPSRC, HSE and industry.

She is a chartered engineer and member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. She is also a member of the British Society for Strain Measurement.

Genevieve joined the department in 2020 after spending fifteen years working in Cape Town as an academic.

She gained first-hand experience in explosion testing there and was Director of the Blast Impact and Survivability Research Unit for five years. She is currently an Honorary Professor at the University of Cape Town.

Genevieve has been funded by the National Research Foundation of South Africa, the Defence Science and Technology organisation of Australia, the EPSRC and the Royal Society on work related to the survivability of lightweight structures and materials to blast loading, blast injury, and the transient response of structures subjected to explosion loading.

Research interests

Genevieve’s research is concerned with the response and failure of structures and materials subjected to explosion loading and other extreme loading conditions.

She takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding this multi-faceted problem and is interested in every aspect of the blast event chain.

Her work uses modern instrumentation techniques in carefully controlled experiments to elucidate understanding of the material and structural behaviour.

Although primarily experimental, her work involves a mix of laboratory scale physical testing, material characterisation experiments, analytical work and computational simulations.

This involves fundamental, experimental and applied research projects. Her goal is to make the world a safer place by mitigating the harmful and devastating effects of explosions on people, equipment and infrastructure.

Research interests include:

  • Explosion and impact resistance of lightweight materials (composites, novel materials, meshes, lattices)
  • Blast effects in complex geometries.
  • Material, structural and human response due to explosions
  • Dynamic properties and failure of composites, hybrid & lightweight materials
  • Passive explosion mitigation

Genevieve has published over one hundred peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers in these areas, plus various industry reports.


Journal articles


Conference proceedings papers


  • Yuen SCK, Cloete T, Langdon G & Nurick G (2016) Editorial. International Journal of Impact Engineering, 92, 2-2. RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

Blast & Impact


View all research projects

Teaching interests

Genevieve teaches modules on mechanics and structures, as well as research and professional skills. 

Professional activities and memberships
  • Genevieve is an Honorary Professor and sometime Fellow of the University of Cape Town. She is also the Secretary of the International Society of Impact Engineering. She sits on the editorial board of the International Journal of Impact Engineering and the Journal of Thin-walled Structures. She is a member of several scientific advisory committees for international conferences in impact, strain analysis and defence subjects.
  • Genevieve was a founder member of the South African Young Academy of Sciences (2011 – 2016) and is a now a full member of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa. She has twice been a finalist for the TW Kambule-NSTF award for research (2014, 2017) and twice placed second for the South African DST Women in Science Awards (2014, 2017) in the distinguished young scientist in the natural and engineering sciences category.
  • Genevieve was the recipient of the British Association Silver Medal in 2014 from the Southern Africa Association for the Advancement of Science. This is awarded for work by a person under the age of 40 who is actively engaged in research and has, by way of international participation and publications, shown outstanding capability and achievement.
  • Genevieve also won a number of awards during her student days, including the McLaren International Award for Best Mechanical Engineering Student in the UK, Science, Engineering and Technology Awards (1999), the Women Into Science and
  • Engineering Award for the highest scoring female entrant at Science, Engineering and Technology Awards and the William Rathbone Medal and Prize for being the top graduating student in the Engineering Faculty at the University of Liverpool in 1999.
PhD opportunities

Characterising the loading and structural response from combined blast and fragmentation experiments

This project proposes to use both systems to characterise the loading and structural response of a plate when subjected to combined blast and fragmentation-impact loads. It is anticipated that the project will examine the factors influencing the nature of the combined loading and response (such as stand-off distance, fragment impact geometry, explosive charge dimensions) using state of the art experimental facilities at Buxton and commercial computational software.

Loading and transient response of structures subjected to air-blast loading using Digital Image Correlation

Past work on measuring transient response to near field blast loads has examined the behaviour of steel alloys with significant plastic capacity. Materials with enhanced yield strengths (such as RHA steels) and/or limited ductility (such as fibre reinforced polymer composites) are likely to exhibit transient behaviour that differs greatly from the permanently deformed profile evident after an explosive event. This project would have the potential to study the response modes of such structures and materials, as well as more traditional steels studied extensively in the past.

Characterising the failure and fracture of blast loaded structural materials

To support the interpretation of the fragmentation and fracture testing, the candidate will use dynamic material characterisation techniques and explicit finite element modelling to explore the modelling of material failure, fracture and its progression. It may be possible to apply these techniques to a wide range of materials, from structural steels to lightweight lattice materials to fibre reinforced polymer composites.

Development of fast running engineering models for predicting structural response and failure under blast loading

This project will use a combination of numerical/optimisation techniques (to generate large datasets) and advanced statistical/regression techniques or machine learning approaches to derive physically-valid predictive models from this data. These models will incorporate effects such as explosive configuration (mass and stand-off), as well as material parameters such as span, support conditions, thickness, material type and strength, etc.

If you're interested in one of these projects, or would like to self-propose a project, please contact Genevieve at the above email. Current PhD opportunities in the department can be viewed here.