Dr Paul Shepley

Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Sir Frederick Mappin Building
Mappin Street, Sheffield, S1 3JD

Telephone: +44 (0) 114 222 5751
Fax: +44 (0) 114 222 5700

Email: p.shepley@sheffield.ac.uk
Room: F132




More efficient designs are possible by better understanding the mechanisms of construction.

Dr Paul Shepley


Paul’s research focuses on construction process modelling, predominantly via physical modelling. The aim of this work is to account for changes induced in the soil during construction to either increase efficiency on site or improve the final structural properties, but preferably both.

He is currently leading a project investigating the use of water jetting to aid the installation of open-ended tubular structures in non-cohesive offshore soils, such as those in the North Sea. Small laboratory models are being used to visualise the governing mechanisms and predict the technique’s performance to save time and costs during construction.

Other recent projects have included:

  • the long-term performance of pile foundation heat exchangers and the effect of temperature cycles on clay strength for improving their long-term performance
  • thermal flows through soils around heated pipes
  • the failure mechanisms of sinkholes in clayey ground conditions
  • the resilience of clay core earth dams in New Zealand (in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Canterbury Quake Centre)

His interests also include the effects of clay plasticity on modelling structural performance, the micromechanical behavior of geotechnical materials, and fluid flows through porous granular media.

Paul graduated from Cambridge University with a PhD which studied the mechanisms of water jetting of close-ended piles. Small-scale centrifuge modelling was used to represent the effects of jetting and determine the critical parameters. He joined the Department 2013.

His teaching reaches all year groups in Sheffield, with him leading project-based learning of geotechnical design through the Integrated Design Project (IDP) and a Master’s level module in constitutive modelling. He led the creation of the MSc in Civil Engineering program in 2015 and now acts as the Year 4 Course Coordinator in the Department. He has previously taught ‘first pro’ soil mechanics at the University of Canterbury and delivered an external half-day course on soil mechanics.

Paul is currently on the Editorial Panel for the International Journal of Physical Modelling in Geotechnics and is the Academic Liaison Officer for the Yorkshire Geotechnical Group of the ICE. He has been an external PhD examiner for the University of Western Australia and the University of Nottingham.

Selected Publications

Journal articles

  • Shepley P & Bolton M (2013) Water supply to a geotechnical centrifuge. International Journal of Physical Modelling in Geotechnics, 13(3), 99-110. RIS download Bibtex download