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General research interests:

My research focuses on the geomechanics of granular materials, with a special interest in geophysical phenomena occurring in nature and engineering problems in industry. Granular materials span a range of scales, from the micro-scale in grain phenomena to the macro-scale in large systems such as avalanches and dunes. Despite their importance, granular materials remain poorly understood; due to the lack of a comprehensive physical description, mathematical tools and techniques are insufficient to fully predict behavior of granular materials in industrial and natural applications at this time.

In my research program I aim to gain a deeper understanding of the physics of granular materials across all different scales and flow regimes. My interests can be classified into the following areas:

  • wave propagation in a particulate material,
  • failure mechanisms and avalanching of a granular material and
  • near-surface geophysical techniques to characterize soil, sand and geophysical mass flows.

Although I am first and foremost an experimentalist, I also employ numerical simulations to develop analytical models and to form a comprehensive picture of open research questions.

Dumont dune expanse, California, USA

Copyright: Nathalie Vriend

Vallee de la Sionne, Wallis, Switzerland

Used with permission: WSL-Institut fuer Schnee- und Lawinenforschung SLF

Please visit the Projects page to look at previous and current research projects I am conducting. On the People page, I am introducing the granular research team at the GK Batchelor Laboratory within the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) at the University of Cambridge. Please refer to Publications for an overview of my publications, including scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and popular media coverage. In Multimedia you will find some videos related to the different research projects.

Dr. Nathalie Maria Vriend
Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow in DAMTP at the University of Cambridge
PhD (2010) in Mechanical Engineering and Geophysics at the California Institute of Technology
Granular research group, Email me...