Vardon, P.J.


Phil is an Associate Professor in the Section of Geo-Engineering. He leads the department theme in Geothermal Science and Engineering. His research is into complex coupled processes in the geotechnical arena. He focuses on the impacts on soils / geomaterials of various processes including heat, moisture and contaminant movement, including practical applications such as geothermal energy, slope stability and radioactive waste disposal. He teaches on the undergraduate Soil Mechanics course (CTB2310) and the postgraduate Numerical Modelling in Geo-Engineering course (CIE4366).  He is always looking for high quality PhD students or collaborators to work with him on current or new research projects.


  • Coupled numerical modelling in geomaterials: thermo-hydro-chemical-gas-mechanical
  • Uncertainty reduction in calculating geotechnical reliability
  • Scientific computer programming, including parallel computer algorithms

Phil's research interests lie in the computational modelling of complex coupled mechanistic processes in geomaterials. He has worked on a number of practical applications, geo-energy, slope stability under varying environmental conditions, radioactive waste disposal and sustainability. For example his research work includes numerical simulation of the performance of a Prototype Nuclear Waste Repository which uses a multi-level barrier system, including materials with complex behaviour, such as bentonitic clays. He is interested in the uncertainties and heterogeneity exhibited by geomaterials and how this effects behaviour and the collection/analysis of data.

Current major research projects include:

Current PhD projects:

  • Field test and constitutive modelling for energy piles.
  • Development of the Material Point Method for geotechnical analysis. 
  • Reliability analysis for 3D embankments.
  • Risk and reliability analysis of dike rings and flood defenses.

Past research projects include:

  • Impact of climate change on engineered slopes for infrastructure (EU COST Action TU1202)'.  Funded by the EU. 2013-2017.
  • Geotechnical Performance and Climatic Effects (Geo-PACE)  - € 100k Marie Curie Career Integration Grant on the subject of the stability of geotechnical structures due to the impact of changing climate.  Funded by the EU. 2013-2017.
  • Technical feasibility of a concept radioactive waste disposal facility in Boom Clay in the Netherlands - € 300k via the OPERA programme (project extended by € 175k).  Funded by COVRA. 2012-2017.
  • Programme for Education, Training and Research on Underground Storage (PETRUS III) - € 2m European Commission project on education in radioactive waste disposal. 2012-2016.
  • Testing of ores for liquefaction potential. Various funders. 2012-2016.
  • Sustainable Earth Energy (Seren) - £ 8.35m project on sustainable energy derived from the ground, including ground source heat (shallow geothermal), carbon sequestration and geoinformatics. Funded by WEFO. 2010-2012 (personally).
  • Towards a sustainable geoenvironment - £ 700k project delivering research and building networks to build a sustainable geoenvironment (UNESCO). 2010-2012 (personally).
  • Coupled thermal-hydrological-mechanical-chemical (THMC) processes for application in repository safety assessment (THERESA) - € 2m European Commission project examining numerical modelling codes and practice in radioactive waste disposal. 2008-2009 (personally).
  • Programme for Education, Training and Research on Underground Storage (PETRUS II) - € 2m European Commission project on education in radioactive waste disposal. 2009-2012.
  • Various PhD projects including large scale data analysis relating to radioactive waste disposal and investigations into gas transport behaviour through compacted clays.

Past PhD students:


Philip graduated in 2005 with a First Class (Hons) MEng degree in Civil Engineering from Cardiff University and was awarded the Lloyds Shipping Register Prize for Structural Engineering.  Phil then spent time working with contractor Costain Ltd. working on water treatment projects for Thames Water and then within the Water Group of Arup (consulting engineers).  He then returned to Cardiff University and joined the Geoenvironmental Research Centre in January 2006 to study for a PhD in Geoenvironmental Engineering which he completed in July 2009. As part of his PhD studies, Phil travelled to Mississippi State University to work in collaboration with experts in their High Performance Computing Collaboratory (HPC²). Phil then went on to become the UNESCO Research Fellow in the Geoenvironmental Research Centre continuing to work on coupled processes in geomaterials including radioactive waste disposal and geo-energy.

In January 2012 Phil moved to TU Delft to take up the position of Assistant Professor in Soil Mechanics in the Geo-Engineering section in the Department of Geoscience and Engineering in the Civil Engineering and Geosciences faculty. He was subsequently tenured in 2016 and promoted to Associate Professor in 2018. He continues to build his research portfolio in geothermal energy and numerical simulation of coupled processes, with a focus on uncertainty reduction. 

International Journal Responsibilities

Editorial board:

Reviewer (non-exhaustive list):

  • Géotechnique
  • Computers and Geotechnics
  • Applied Clay Science
  • Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
  • International Journal of Geomechanics


Visiting research scholar at Chinese Academy of Science, institute of Rock and Soil Mechanics, China - 2017/2018

Visiting lecturer at Tongji University, China - 2013

Philip Vardon

Associate Professor Geo-Engineering

  • +31 (0)15 2781456
  • Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences

    Building 23

    Stevinweg 1 / PO-Box 5048

    2628 CN Delft / 2600 GA Delft


    Building CT, StevinLab I, room 00.490