James Fern

Dr Elliot James Fern

Research associate
Office: 415 Davis Hall
Email: james.fern@berkeley.edu

James graduated from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, in 2009 with a BSc and in 2011 with an MSc. He then worked for a year as a consultant designing caverns and tunnels for hydroelectric power schemes before undertaking a PhD at the University of Cambridge. His doctoral work focused on the mechanics of unsaturated sand, its constitutive modelling and its application to large deformation simulation of granular flows. During his PhD, James was seconded to Deltares, the Netherlands, in the EU Marie Curie project MPM-Dredge. During this time, he actively worked on the MPM code Anura 3d and used it for his final dissertation. He graduated in 2016 and returned to industry, where he applied his knowledge and skills in computational geomechanics. He worked on the design of the High Luminosity Project at CERN as well as carried out a series of numerical simulations for the construction of metro tunnels.

James is currently a research associate at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is working on the numerical modelling of the 2014 Oso landslide using the MPM code Anura 3D funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. He is also working on the mechanics of weak rock masses and its influence on existing and new tunnels.

Research interests:

  • Computational geomechanics with an emphasis on constitutive modelling and large deformation
  • Resilient infrastructure and the interaction between old and new underground structures
  • Design of earth and rock-filled structures (i.e. dams, dykes, slopes)
  • Monitoring of underground structure using new sensing technologies

Main publications:

  • Fern, E. J., & Soga, K. (2017). Granular Column Collapse of Wet Sand. Procedia Engineering, 175, 14–20. DOI 10.1016/j.proeng.2017.01.005
  • Fern, E. J., de Lange, D. A., Zwanenburg, C., Teunissen, J. A. M., Rohe, A., & Soga, K. (2017). Experimental and numerical investigations of dyke failures involving soft materials. Engineering Geology, 219(January), 130–139. DOI 10.1016/j.enggeo.2016.07.006
  • Fern, E. J., Robert, D. J., & Soga, K. (2016). Modeling the Stress-Dilatancy Relationship of Unsaturated Silica Sand in Triaxial Compression Tests. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 142(11), 4016055. DOI 10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943-5606.0001546
  • Fern, E. J., & Soga, K. (2016). The role of constitutive models in MPM simulations of granular column collapses. Acta Geotechnica, 11(3), 659–678. DOI 10.1007/s11440-016-0436-x