• Le 01 décembre 2022
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Elisabeth Bowman  is Reader in Geomechanics at the Civil and Structural Engineering Department of the University of Sheffield (


After her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the University of Cambridge, she spent several years in consulting and then in 2002 passed her PhD dedicated to the mechanics of creep and ageing in freshly disturbed granular materials.

She then continued her studies at the University of Cambridge with a postdoctoral study focusing on the mechanics of large and catastrophic landslides via physical modelling, before joining the academic staff at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.

She has therefore valuable field experience in investigating landslide and earthquake behaviour and now, her research pursues the understanding of particulate-scale mechanisms of geomaterials under deformation, including internal erosion.

As internal and external erosions are the causes of 95% of failures and damage to embankment dams and dikes, it has directly or indirectly an important impact on our daily life. Currently, four different internal erosion processes have been identified: piping, backward erosion, contact erosion and suffusion. The last one appears to be most complex, as it is the result of coupled processes: detachment, transport and filtration of a part of the finest fraction within the porous network.

However up to today, no standard methodology exists for performing suffusion tests. Hence, the identification of intrinsic parameters to characterize soil susceptibility to suffusion is still an open question.

In the Civil and Structural Engineering Department of the University of Sheffield, and in the GeM Institute of Nantes University, several dedicated devices were developed in order to characterize the soil suffusion susceptibility. Among these devices, three of them (1 in Sheffield and two in Saint-Nazaire) are based on a triaxial cell for performing test under stress state-controlled conditions. Figures 1 and 2 show the devices developed in Sheffield and in Saint-Nazaire, respectively.

Figure 1: triaxial erodimeter developed in Sheffield, for testing specimens with the sizes d: 100mm x h: 100mm

Figure 2: triaxial erodimeters developed in Saint-Nazaire, for testing specimens with the sizes a) 300mm x 600mm and b) 100mm x 200mm

In this context, the coming of Elizabeth Bowman as an invited professor to the IUT of Saint-Nazaire was a good opportunity to define, in partnership with Didier Marot, an experimental benchmark dedicated to suffusion tests.

This experimental benchmark was proposed by Elisabeth Bowman and Didier Marot to the participants of the international conference from European Working Group, conference organized by Elisabeth Bowman in July 2022 in Sheffield.

Moreover, during a seminar in Saint-Nazaire, Elisabeth described her experimental internal erosion research and the geotechnical facilities at Sheffield.

Thank you, Elisabeth, we look forward to our ongoing collaboration and thank you warmly for your stay here and your presentation.