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Dr Wangcheng Zhang

Assistant Professor

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Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering235 


Dr. Wangcheng Zhang is an Assistant Professor in Offshore Geotechnics within the Department of Engineering at Durham University. He obtained his MEng in 2013 from Tongji University and PhD in 2018 from the University of Western Australia (UWA). Before joining Durham University, he worked for ETH Zurich as a postdoctoral Research Scientist. 

Dr Zhang has been independently working, or collaborating with industry partners and academic colleagues on offshore and onshore projects, leveraging findings from modelling to practice. He has used a combination of analytical and numerical methods to develop criteria for offshore landslide initiation and evolution. His research work has also helped the determination of spatial variability of marine sediments and its implications on soil characterisation using small-scale penetrometers and large-scale foundations. He is an expert user and developer of a variety of geotechnical numerical tools, from small strain to large deformation, and from macro-scale continuum medium to micro-scale particulate system. His research outcomes have been applied into industry projects and produced over 30 publications with one sharing the IACMAG Excellent Paper Awards for Junior Researchers in 2017. 

Dr Zhang's career objective is to carry out fundamental research at an internationally recognized standard of excellence in the areas of the offshore geotechnical engineering and marine engineering geology, to use expertise to safeguard lives and offshore renewables from marine geohazard and geotechnical risks, and to educate the next generation of specialists by profession. 

Research interests

  • Offshore geotechnical engineering: marine geohazard; soil characterization (penetrometer tests); offshore foundations (pile, suction caisson, etc.); soil-structure-water interaction
  • Geo-risk: Landslides and their impacts; progressive failure of soils
  • Multi-scale geotechnical numerical modelling: Large-deformation Finite Element Method; Discrete Element Method; Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics; Random Finite Element Modelling


Journal Article

  • Jiang, Mingjing, Niu, Maoyi & Zhang, Wangcheng (2022). DEM analysis of passive failure in structured sand ground behind a retaining wall. Granular Matter 24(2): 61.
  • Zhang, Wangcheng, Pan, Yutao & Bransby, Fraser (2022). Scale effects during cone penetration in spatially variable clays. Géotechnique 72(1): 78.
  • Zhang, Wangcheng & Puzrin, Alexander M. (2021). Depth integrated modelling of submarine landslide evolution. Landslides 18(9): 3063.
  • Fan, Ning, Zhang, Wangcheng, Sahdi, Fauzan & Nian, Tingkai (2021). Evaluation of horizontal submarine slide impact force on pipeline via a modified hybrid geotechnical-fluid dynamics framework. Canadian Geotechnical Journal
  • Fan, Ning, Sahdi, Fauzan, Zhang, Wangcheng, Nian, Tingkai & Randolph, Mark F. (2021). Effect of pipeline-seabed gaps on the vertical forces of a pipeline induced by submarine slide impact. Ocean Engineering 221: 108506.
  • Dong, Xiaoyu, Shiri, Hodjat, Zhang, Wangcheng & Randolph, Mark F. (2021). The influence of pipeline-backfill-trench interaction on the lateral soil resistance: A numerical investigation. Computers and Geotechnics 137: 104307.
  • Zhang, Wangcheng, Klein, Boaz, Randolph, Mark F. & Puzrin, Alexander M. (2021). Upslope Failure Mechanisms and Criteria in Submarine Landslides: Shear Band Propagation, Slab Failure and Retrogression. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 126(9).
  • Dong, Xiaoyu, Zhang, Wangcheng, Shiri, Hodjat & Randolph, Mark F. (2021). Large deformation coupled analysis of embedded pipeline – Soil lateral interaction. Marine Structures 78: 102971.
  • Zhu, Fangyuan & Zhang, Wangcheng (2021). Scale effect on bearing capacity of shallow foundations on strain-softening clays. Computers and Geotechnics 135: 104182.
  • Shan, Zhigang, Zhang, Wangcheng, Wang, Dong & Wang, Lizhong (2021). Numerical investigations of retrogressive failure in sensitive clays: revisiting 1994 Sainte-Monique slide, Quebec. Landslides 18(4): 1327.
  • Zhang, Wangcheng & Randolph, Mark F. (2020). A smoothed particle hydrodynamics modelling of soil–water mixing and resulting changes in average strength. International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics 44(11): 1548.
  • Zhang, Wangcheng & Wang, Dong (2020). Stability analysis of cut slope with shear band propagation along a weak layer. Computers and Geotechnics 125: 103676.
  • Zhang, Wangcheng, Randolph, Mark F., Puzrin, Alexander M. & Wang, Dong (2020). Criteria for planar shear band propagation in submarine landslides along weak layers. Landslides 17(4): 855.
  • Zhang, Wangcheng, Randolph, Mark F., Puzrin, Alexander M. & Wang, Dong (2019). Transition from shear band propagation to global slab failure in submarine landslides. Canadian Geotechnical Journal 56(4): 554.
  • Jiang, Mingjing, Shen, Zhifu, Zhou, Wei, Arroyo, Marcos & Zhang, Wangcheng (2018). Coupled CFD–DEM method for undrained biaxial shear test of methane hydrate bearing sediments. Granular Matter 20(4).
  • Zhang, W., Wang, D., Randolph, M. F. & Puzrin, A. M. (2017). From progressive to catastrophic failure in submarine landslides with curvilinear slope geometries. Géotechnique 1.
  • Zhang, Wangcheng, Wang, Dong, Randolph, Mark F. & Puzrin, Alexander M. (2016). Dynamic propagation criteria for catastrophic failure in planar landslides. International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics 40(17): 2312.
  • Jiang, Mingjing & Zhang, Wangcheng (2015). DEM analyses of shear band in granular materials. Engineering Computations 32(4): 985.
  • Jiang, Mingjing, Sun, Chao, Crosta, Giovanni B. & Zhang, Wangcheng (2015). A study of submarine steep slope failures triggered by thermal dissociation of methane hydrates using a coupled CFD-DEM approach. Engineering Geology 190: 1.
  • ZHANG, W., WANG, D., RANDOLPH, M. F. & PUZRIN, A. M. (2015). Catastrophic failure in planar landslides with a fully softened weak zone. Géotechnique 65(9): 755.
  • Jiang, Mingjing, Zhang, Wangcheng, Wang, Jianfeng & Zhu, Hehua (2015). DEM Analyses of an Uplift Failure Mechanism with Pipe Buried in Cemented Granular Ground. International Journal of Geomechanics 15(5): 04014083.
  • Jiang, Mingjing, He, Jie, Wang, Jianfeng, Liu, Fang & Zhang, Wangcheng (2014). Distinct simulation of earth pressure against a rigid retaining wall considering inter-particle rolling resistance in sandy backfill. Granular Matter 16(5): 797.
  • Jiang, Mingjing & Zhang, Wangcheng (2013). Distinct element method investigation on mechanical behavior within shear bands in granulates under the Earth and the Moon conditions. Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Letters 3(2): 021005.
  • Jiang, Mingjing, Zhang, Wangcheng, Sun, Yugang & Utili, Stefano (2013). An investigation on loose cemented granular materials via DEM analyses. Granular Matter 15(1): 65.

Supervision students