Blast and Impact Dynamics

Department of Civil & Structural Engineering

Dr Sam Clarke

Senior Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering

+44 (0) 114 222 5703

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Sir Frederick Mappin Building
Mappin Street,
S1 3JD


Sam graduated from The University of Sheffield with a MEng (Hons) degree in Structural Engineering and Architecture in 2006. He then joined the Geotechnical Engineering Group and completed his PhD in 2009. During his doctoral studies Sam spent a number of periods working with Arup Geotechnics' Numerical Skills Team in London and the university spin-out company LimitState. He spent a short period as a Research Assistant before taking up the post of Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering in November 2009.

Over the past 3 years Sam has spent much time investigating the role of soil in blast events. This has led to many research collaborations with the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory. He is currently investigating the high stress, high strain-rate response of geomaterials experienced in blast loading events.

His main research interests focus on:

  • Numerical modelling of geotechnical problems
  • Development of advanced constitutive models for soils
  • Soil reinforcement and remediation techniques
  • Quantification of viscous effects
  • High strain-rate, high stress response of soils

Recent activities and achievements

  • Recipient of the IStructE prize 1st year performance in 2002-03
  • Awarded Jacobs Babtie prize for best UG dissertation in 2005-06
  • ICE Yorkshire & Humber Student Papers Competition winner, 2006-07
  • University Senate Award for Excellence in Learning & Teaching, 2011-12
  • Award for Excellence in Teaching, Faculty of Engineering, 2011-12
  • Referee for “Proceeding of the Institution of Civil Engineers – Geotechnical Engineering”
  • Member of ISSMGE technical committee for safety and serviceability in geotechnics (TC205)


PGCert, Learning and Teaching, University of Sheffield, 2012
PhD, University of Sheffield, 2009
MEng, Structural Engineering and Architecture, University of Sheffield, 2006

Research project(s)

Strain-rate effects in quartz sand

Soil-filled wire and geotextile gabions are commonly used to construct perimeter walls and other defensive infrastructure in military bases. They serve to protect personnel and key assets from the effects of blast and fragmentation. The attenuating properties of soil make it a highly effective defence against such threats, and as...


(2017). Predicting the role of geotechnical parameters on the output from shallow buried explosives. International Journal of Impact Engineering, 102 (21-22), pp. 117-128. (Full Text).
(2016). Localised variations in reflected pressure from explosives buried in uniform and well-graded soils. In Proceedings of the 24th Military Aspects of Blast and Shock (Full Text).
(2016). Reflected pressures from explosives buried in idealised cohesive soils. In Proceedings of the 24th Military Aspects of Blast and Shock (Full Text).
(2016). Experimental studies of the effect of rapid afterburn on shock development of near-field explosions. In Proceedings of the 24th Military Aspects of Blast and Shock.
(2016). Design of a split Hopkinson pressure bar with partial lateral confinement. Measurement Science and Technology, 27 (2), (Full Text).
(2016). Investigating high strain rate shear in soils using a split Hopkinson pressure bar. In 3rd UK Defence Seminar on the High Strain Rate Properties of Soils and Granular Media.
(2016). Preface to special edition on blast load characterisation. International Journal of Protective Structures, 7 (3), pp. 303-304. (Full Text).