Skip to main content

Ted O'Hare

Research Postgraduate - Computational Mechanics Node

MEng (Hons) AFHEA

Research Postgraduate - Computational Mechanics Node in the Department of Engineering


Ted (he/they) is a PhD student in computational mechanics in the Department of Engineering. He graduated with an MEng degree in Civil Engineering from Durham in 2021 before continuing his studies into a PhD with a departmental/EPSRC studentship. His undergraduate final year project, completed under the supervision of Professor Charles Augarde, focused on developing an engineer's guide to the Virtual Element Method, a recently developed numerical technique for polytopal meshes.

Research Project

Classical continuum mechanics formulations are unable to capture localised material failure. This is because they do not include any information about the length scale (such as information on the crystalline structure or grain size) of a material. Therefore when modelling problems involving localised failure (such as concentrated shear failure which is typical in failure of geotechnical structures, such as landslide events) using numerical analysis techniques, such as the finite element method, the failure zone does not converge to a finite size with mesh refinement. This means that the failure load is pathologically dependent on the mesh size and alignment and it will not converge towards a steady value. To overcome this problem, higher-order or non-local continuum theories such as micropolar (or Cosserat) theory may be used, which utilise information about the material length scale.

Ted's research project, which is supervised by Professor Will Coombs, Professor Augarde and Dr Panos Gourgiotis, therefore seeks to implement existing numerical techniques for micropolar continua. By extending Durham-developed Material Point Method (MPM) theory and code, which is ideally suited to problems involving large deformations, Ted hopes to realistically model challenging localisation problems in geotechnics. This is a new and exciting area of research that will open the door to the MPM being used to understand the true nature of failure in geotechnical structures.

Research interests

  • Computational solid mechanics
  • Continuum mechanics