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portrait of Professor Sarah Stallebrass

Professor Sarah Stallebrass

Professor of Soil Mechanics

School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering, Civil Engineering

Contact Information


Visit Sarah Stallebrass

CG09, Tait Building

Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom



Professor Stallebrass is currently the Head of the Department of Civil Engineering. She became a lecturer at City University in 1992 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1999 and to a Chair in Soil Mechanics in 2010.

After graduating from Cambridge University in 1985 Dr Stallebrass worked for Peter Fraenkel International for two years as a graduate engineer. She then joined the Geotechnical Engineering Research Centre at City University as a research student and obtained her PhD in 1990. In the same year, Dr Stallebrass was awarded an SERC Post-doctoral Fellowship to develop and evaluate her work on constitutive modelling of overconsolidated soils, by comparing finite element analyses of geotechnical events with well-controlled centrifuge model tests. The paper resulting from this work in collaboration with Professor R N Taylor was awarded the 1997 British Geotechnical Society Prize.

Dr Stallebrass was a member of the British Geotechnical Association Committee from 2004 becoming Chairman from 2009 until 2011. She remains a member of the ISSMGE Board Level committee on Innovation & Development.


PhD Civil Engineering, City University London, 1990
MA (Hons) Engineering, Univesity of Cambridge, 1987


2010 - to date City University London, Professor of Soil Mechanics
1999 - 2010 City University London, Senior Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering
1992 - 1999 City University London, Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering
1990 - 1992 City University London, SERC Postdoctoral Research Fellow
1985 - 1987 Peter Fraenkel International, Graduate Engineer

Other appointments

2001 - to date University of London, Visiting Lecturer at Kings College
2012 - to date External Examiner for Civil Engineering Undergraduate programmes at the University of Glasgow

Membership of professional bodies

2010 Institution of Civil Engineers, Fellow


Research interests

Developing constitutive models for stiff overconsolidated clays, sands and structured stiff clays.

Investigating the changes to clays during different construction processes such as pile excavation and installation and slurry tunnelling.

Implementing constitutive models for soil in finite element analysis programs and use of these models in complex numerical analyses to improve predictions of ground movements around construction and excavation in stiff soils.

Evaluating the finite element computations undertaken using the advanced constitutive models against centrifuge model tests.

Characterising and simulating the behaviour of natural soils with depositional fabric.

Collaborating with colleagues undertaking centrifuge model tests of complex construction processes. Particularly, using analytical methods or numerical analysis to provide insight into results obtained and to evaluate analysis methods.

Current and Recent Projects

Disaggregation of soils in slurries during tunnelling and pipe jacking
This project, which us currently in progress, is sponsored by the Pipe Jacking Association. The project is examining the process by which soil arisings from tunnel boring machines disaggregate whilst being pumped in a slurry to the surface separation plant. The aim is to be able to predict how much of the soil will become fines of a size which require the use of a centrifuge to separate them from the slurry fluid. An accurate prediction will enable contractors to estimate costs of separation plant more accurately. The project is also examining the fundamental physics of the disaggregation process and the effect of slurry fluid chemistry.

Remoulding of the Mercia Mudstone Group around Continuous Flight Auger Piles
A project sponsored by Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering in which four CFA pikes were installed in Ibstock Brick Pit in Leicestershire using different methods. The piles were subsequently exhumed with surrounding soil and the disturbance at the soil pile interface was logged and examined using a variety of mechanical and observational techniques.


Books (2)

  1. McNamara, A.M., Divall, S., Goodey, R.J., Taylor, R.N., Stallebrass, S.E. and Panchal, J.P. (Eds.), (2018). Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Physical Modelling in Geotechnics (ICPMG 2018). London, UK: CRC Press/Balkema. ISBN 978-1-138-55975-2.
  2. et al., (1998). Pre-Failure Deformation Behaviour of Geomaterials. Jardine R J, , Davies M C R, , Hight, D W, , Smith A K C, and Stallebrass, S E, (Eds.), LONDON: Thomas Telford.


  1. Nash, D. and Stallebrass, S. (2011). Session 2: Laboratory and in situ techniques and their interpretation. In May, R. (Ed.), Stiff Sedimentary Clays: Genesis and engineering behaviour (pp. 161–163). ICE Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7277-4108-0.

Conference papers and proceedings (34)

  1. Divall, S., Taylor, R.N., Stallebrass, S.E. and Goodey, R.J. (2018). Predictions of changes in pore-water pressure around tunnels in clay.
  2. Panchal, J.P., Stallebrass, S.E. and McNamara, A.M. (2018). Effects of wall embedment on base heave failure arising from deep excavations in soft soils.
  3. Divall, S., Stallebrass, S.E., Goodey, R.J., Taylor, R.N. and McNamara, A.M. (2018). Geotechnical centrifuge facility for teaching at City, University of London.
  4. Divall, S., Stallebrass, S.E., Goodey, R.J. and Ritchie, E.P. (2018). Development of layered models for geotechnical centrifuge tests.
  5. Panchal, J.P., McNamara, A.M. and Stallebrass, S.E. (2018). A new approach to modelling excavations in soft soils. ICPMG 2018 London.
  6. Panchal, J.P., McNamara, A.M. and Stallebrass, S.E. (2017). Minimising base heave from deep excavations in soft soil conditions using underwater construction methods.
  7. Panchal, J., McNamara, A.M. and Stallebrass, S. (2016). Peak extraction forces when removing temporary steel casings used in rotary bored piling. Eurofuge 2016 Nantes.
  8. Phillips, N.S., Stallebrass, S.E., Goodey, R.J. and Jefferis, S.A. (2015). Mechanisms for the disaggregation of soil cuttings in slurries.
  9. Phillips, N.S., Stallebrass, S.E., Goodey, R.J. and Jefferis, S.A. (2014). Test development for the investigation of soil disaggregation during slurry tunnelling.
  10. McNamara, A.M., Divall, S., Goodey, R.J., Gorasia, R.J., Halai, H., Rose, A.V. … Xu, M. (2012). The London Geotechnical Centrifuge Centre at City University London. 2nd European Conference on Physical Modelling in Geotechnics 23-24 April, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands.
  11. McNamara, A.M., Halai, H. and Stallebrass, S. (2012). Centrifuge modelling of plate bearing tests. Eurofuge 2012 Delft.
  12. Stallebrass, S. and Seward, L.J. (2011). The Effect of Mechanical Remoulding on the compression and strength characteristics of a Mercia Mudstone. 15th European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering Athens.
  13. Stallebrass, S., McNamara, A.M, , Taylor, R.N., and Goodey, R.J., (2007). Modelling geotechnical construction processes for urban developments. 14th European Conf. on Soil Mech. & Geo. Eng. Madrid.
  14. Stallebrass, S., Taylor, R.N., and McNamara, A.M., (2007). Proactive design of buried mass concrete thrust blocks: model studies – Panel contribution. Madrid.
  15. Stallebrass, S., Masin, D, and Atkinson, J.H., (2003). Laboratory modelling of natural structured clays. Netherlands.
  16. Stallebrass, S., McNamara, A.M, and Taylor R N, (2003). Evalation of numerical analyses used to model the influence of heave reducing piles on excavation induced ground movements. Prague.
  17. Stallebrass, S. and Baudet, B, (2003). Modelling effects of fabric and bonding in natural clays. The Netherlands.
  18. Stallebrass, S., Viggiani, G.M.B, and Rampello, S, (2003). Modelling installation effects for the prediction of ground movements around diaphragm walls in stiff clay. Dublin.
  19. McNamara, A.M., Taylor, R.N., Stallebrass, S.E. and Romano, M.C. (2003). Influence of tunnelling on the behaviour of existing piled foundations.
  20. Stallebrass, S. and Baudet, B.A., (2001). Modelling the destructuration of soft natural clays. Tucson, Arizona.
  21. Ingram, P.J., Stallebrass, S.E., ICSMGE, X.V. and ICSMGE, X.V. (2001). The effect of modelling volumetric creep on ground movements.
  22. Rampello, S., Stallebrass, S.E. and Viggiani, G.M.B. (2000). Panel report: Ground movements associated with excavations in stiff clays - Current prediction capability.
  23. Grant, R.J., Stallebrass, S.E. and Taylor, R.N. (1999). Modelling soil deformation at a tunnel heading using physical and numerical techniques. Amsterdam.
  24. Stallebrass, S. and Baharom, B., (1998). A constitutive model combining the microscopic and macroscopic behaviour of sands in shear and volumetric deformation. Udine (Italy).
  25. Grant, R.J., Stallebrass, S.E. and Taylor, R.N. (1997). Prediction of pre-failure ground movements: Physical and numerical techniques. Hamburg.
  26. Stallebrass, S.E., Grant, R.J. and Taylor, R.N. (1996). A finite element study of ground movements measured in centrifuge model tests of tunnels. London, England.
  27. Stallebrass, S., Jovicic, V., and Atkinson, J.H., (1995). Influence of geological history on foundation behaviour. Copenhagen.
  29. Stallebrass, S., Jovicic, V., and Taylor, R.N., (1994). Short term and long term settlements around a tunnel in stiff clay. Manchester,UK.
  32. Atkinson, J.H. and Stallebrass, S.E. (1991). A model for recent history and non-linearity in the stress-strain behaviour of overconsolidated soil.
  33. Stallebrass, S., Atkinson, J.H., , Coop, M.R, and Viggiani, G., (1991). Measurement of stiffness of soils and weak rocks in laboratory tests.
  34. Stallebrass, S. and Atkinson, J.H., (1991). A model for recent stress history and non-linearity in the stress-strain behaviour of overconsolidated soil.

Journal articles (15)

  1. Zhang, T., Taylor, R.N., Divall, S., Zheng, G., Sun, J., Stallebrass, S.E. … Goodey, R.J. (2019). Explanation for twin tunnelling-induced surface settlements by changes in soil stiffness on account of stress history. Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology, 85, pp. 160–169. doi:10.1016/j.tust.2018.12.015.
  2. Panchal, J.P., McNamara, A.M. and Stallebrass, S.E. (2018). Physical modelling of lime stabilisation in soft soils around deep excavations. DFI Journal, 11(2-3), pp. 137–147. doi:10.1080/19375247.2018.1436254.
  3. Divall, S., Goodey, R.J. and Stallebrass, S.E. (2017). Twin-tunnelling-induced changes to clay stiffness. Géotechnique pp. 1–8. doi:10.1680/jgeot.sip17.p.151.
  4. Seward, L.J., Stallebrass, S.E. and Skipper, J. (2013). Remoulding of the Mercia Mudstone Group around CFA pile shafts. QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING GEOLOGY AND HYDROGEOLOGY, 46(1), pp. 41–51. doi:10.1144/qjegh2011-053.
  5. McNamara, A.M., Suckling, T.P., McKinley, B. and Stallebrass, S.E. (2013). A field trial of a reusable, hollow, cast-in-situ pile. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Geotechnical Engineering. doi:10.1680/geng.12.00102.
  6. Bilotta, E. and Stallebrass, S.E. (2009). Prediction of stresses and strains around model tunnels with adjacent embedded walls in overconsolidated clay. Computers and Geotechnics, 36(6), pp. 1049–1057. doi:10.1016/j.compgeo.2009.03.015.
  7. Stallebrass, S.E., Atkinson, J.H. and Mašín, D. (2007). Manufacture of samples of overconsolidated clay by laboratory sedimentation. Geotechnique, 57(2), pp. 249–253. doi:10.1680/geot.2007.57.2.249.
  8. May, R., Coop, M., Cotecchia, F., De Bruyn, D., De Freitas, M., De Moor, E. … Stallebrass, S. (2007). Stiff sedimentary clays - Genesis and engineering behaviour. Geotechnique, 57(1), pp. 1–2. doi:10.1680/geot.2007.57.1.1.
  9. Baudet, B. and Stallebrass, S. (2004). A constitutive model for structured clays. Geotechnique, 54(4), pp. 269–278. doi:10.1680/geot.2004.54.4.269.
  10. Stallebrass, S., Powrie, W, and Pantelidou, H., (2001). Authors’ reply to discussion by CRI Clayton and G Heyman on Soil stiffness in stress paths relevant to diaphragm walls in clay. Geotechnique, 48(4), pp. 483–494.
  11. Stallebrass, S., Powrie, W., and Pantelidou, H., (2001). Authors’ reply to discussion by CRI Clayton and G Heyman on Soil stiffness in stress paths relevant to diaphragm walls in clay. Geotechnique, 51(2), pp. 177–178.
  12. Powrie, W., Pantelidou, H. and Stallebrass, S.E. (1998). Soil stiffness in stress paths relevant to diaphragm walls in clay. Geotechnique, 48(4), pp. 483–494. doi:10.1680/geot.1998.48.4.483.
  13. Stallebrass, S.E. and Taylor, R.N. (1997). The development and evaluation of a constitutive model for the prediction of ground movements in overconsolidated clay. GEOTECHNIQUE, 47(2), pp. 235–253. doi:10.1680/geot.1997.47.2.235.
  14. Atkinson, J.H., Richardson, D. and Stallebrass, S.E. (1990). Effect of recent stress history on the stiffness of overconsolidated soil. Geotechnique, 40(4), pp. 531–540. doi:10.1680/geot.1990.40.4.531.
  15. Stallebrass, S. (1990). Modelling small strains for analysis in geotechnical engineering. Ground Engineering, 22, pp. 26–29.