Research and expertise
I am a civil engineer with over 35 years of experience in geotechnical engineering research and practice. I conduct research and have published over 190 refereed publications and supervised 33 PhD students in the areas of slope failure mechanisms, in situ measurement of soil/waste properties, slope stability assessment, instrumentation development, slope process modelling, geosynthetics applications, landfill barrier design guidance and impacts of climate change studies.
I have development the acoustic emission landslide monitoring method using Slope ALARMS sensors working with my colleague Dr Alister Smith. Our approach and sensors are being used in multiple countries including applications to help protect a railway in Canada, a flood embankment in the UK and a road tunnel in Italy. In addition, we have developed a Community Slope SAFE early warning system, which is being trialled with partners and community groups in Malaysia and Myanmar. Our research has been commercialised with RST Instruments limited who manufacture and market Geo Acoustic Aware (GAA) sensors for use in applications world-wide.
I also lead Loughborough University’s participation in the multi-partner EPSRC programme grant Assessment, Costing and enHancement of long lIfe, Long Linear assEtS(ACHILLES) investigating impacts of climate change on earthworks. I have received multiple awards for my publications and impact activities.
Current research activity
- UKCRIC PLEXUS: Priming Laboratory Experiments on Infrastructure and Urban Systems (EPSRC) https://www.ukcric.com/
- ACHILLES: Assessment, costing and enhancement of long life, long linear assets (EPSRC Programme Grant) www.achilles-grant.org.uk
- iSMART: Infrastructure Slopes: Sustainable Management and Resilience Assessment (EPSRC) http://www.ismartproject.org/
- Community Slope SAFE in Myanmar (Family Health International - FHI 360) https://www.lboro.ac.uk/enterprise/talking-infrastructure/case-studies/hakha/
Recently completed research projects
- FUTURENET: Future Resilient Transport Networks, part of the ARCC Adaption and Resilience to a Changing Climate programme (EPSRC)
- Slope ALARMS ‘Lite’: Protecting Vulnerable Global Communities (EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account)
- Slope ALARMS – Sensor Design Review and Extended Field Trials (EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account)
- CLIFFS: Network on Climate Change Forecasting For Slopes (EPSRC)
See here to learn more about our work on slopes and infrastructure.
- Smith, A. and Dixon, N. (2020) Listening for deterioration and failure: Towards smart geotechnical infrastructure. Proceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers, Journal Smart Infrastructure and Construction.
- Parente, L., Chandler, J.H. and Dixon, N. (2019) Optimising the quality of an SfM‐MVS slope monitoring system using fixed cameras. The Photogrammetric Record.
- Smith, A., Moore, I.D. and Dixon, N. (2019) Acoustic Emission Sensing of Pipe-Soil Interaction: Full-scale Pipelines Crossing a Normal Fault. ASCE Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering.
- Smith, A. and Dixon, N. (2019) Acoustic emission generated by glass beads in compression and shearing. Granular Matter.
- Smith, A., Heather-Smith, H.J., Dixon, N., Flint, J.A. and Pennie, D. (2019) Acoustic emission generated by granular soil-steel structure interaction. Geotechnique Letters, 10, pp. 1–9.
- Smith, A. and Dixon, N. (2019) Acoustic emission behaviour of dense sands. Géotechnique.
- Dixon, N., Crosby, C.J., Stirling, R., Hughes, P.N., Smethurst, J., Briggs, K., Hughes, D., Gunn, D., Hobbs, P., Loveridge, F., Glendinning, S., Dijkstra, T. and Hudson, A. (2019) Measurement of near surface saturated hydraulic conductivity in engineered clay slopes. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, 52, pp. 123–135.
- Postill, H., Dixon, N., Fowmes, G., El-Hamalawi, A. and Take, A. (2018) Modelling Seasonal Ratcheting and Progressive Failure in Clay Slopes: A Validation. Canadian Geotechnical Journal.
- Dixon, N., Smith, A., Flint, J.A., Khanna, R., Clark, B. and Andjelkovic, M. (2018) An acoustic emission landslide early warning system for communities in low and middle income countries. Landslides, pp. 14.
- Berg, B., Smith, S., Russell, S., Dixon, N., Proudfoot, D. and Take, W.A. (2017) Correlation of acoustic emissions with patterns of movement in an extremely slow moving landslide at Peace River, Alberta, Canada. Canadian Geotechnical Journal.
- Smith, A., Dixon, N. and Fowmes, G. (2017) Monitoring buried pipe deformation using acoustic emission: quantification of attenuation. International Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, 11(4), pp. 418-430.
- Smith, A., Dixon, N. and Fowmes, G. (2017) Early detection of first-time slope failures using acoustic emission measurements: large-scale physical modelling. Géotechnique, 67(2), pp. 138-152.
- Codeglia, D., Dixon, N., Fowmes, G.J. and Marcato, G. (2017) Analysis of Acoustic Emission patterns for monitoring of rock slope deformation mechanisms. Engineering Geology: Special issue on Monitoring, Physical and Numerical Modeling of Landslides and Debris Flows, 219, pp. 21-31.
- Postance B., Hillier, J.K., Dijkstra, T. and Dixon, N. (2017) Extending natural hazard impacts: an assessment of landslide disruptions on a national road transportation network. Environmental Research Letters, 12(1), 14010.
- Dixon, N., Fowmes, G. and Frost, M. (2017). Global challenges, geosynthetic solutions and counting carbon. Geosynthetics International, 24(5), pp. 451-464.
- Postance, B., Hillier, J., Dijkstra, T.A. and Dixon, N. (2017) Comparing Threshold Definition Techniques for Rainfall Induced Landslides: A National Assessment Using Radar Rainfall. Earth Surface Exchanges In ‘Earth Surface Processes and Landforms’. DOI: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/esp.4202.
- Fowmes, G., Dixon, N., Fu, L. and Zaharescu, C.A. (2017) Rapid Prototyping of Geosynthetic Interfaces: Investigation of Peak Strength Using Direct Shear Tests. Geotextiles and Geomembranes, 45 (6), pp. 674-687.
- Scotland, I., Dixon, N., Frost, M.W., Fowmes, G. and Horgan, G. (2016) Modelling deformation during the construction of wrapped geogrid-reinforced structures. Geosynthetics International, 23(3), pp. 219-232.
- Dixon, N., Spriggs, M.P., Smith, A., Meldrum P. and Haslam, E. (2015) Quantification of reactivated landslide behaviour using acoustic emission monitoring. Landslides, 12(3), pp 549-560.
- Dixon, N., Smith, A., Spriggs, M., Ridley, A., Meldrum, P. and Haslam, E. (2015) Stability monitoring of a rail slope using acoustic emission. Proceedings of the ICE Geotechnical Engineering, 168(5), pp. 373–384.
- Raja, J., Dixon, N., Fowmes, G., Frost, M.W. and Assinder, P. (2015) Obtaining reliable embodied carbon values for geosynthetics. Geosynthetics International, 22(5), pp. 393–401.
- Dixon, N., Spriggs, M.P., Smith, A., Meldrum P. and Haslam, E. (2015) Quantification of reactivated landslide behaviour using acoustic emission monitoring. Landslides, 12(3), pp. 549-560.
- Zamara, K.A., Dixon, N., Fowmes, G., Jones, D.R.V. and Zhang, B. (2014) Landfill side slope lining system performance: A comparison of field measurements and numerical modelling analyses. Geotextiles and Geomembranes, 42, pp. 224-235.
- Dijkstra, T.A., Dixon, N., Crosby, C.J., Frost, M.W., Gunn, D.A., Fleming, P.R., and Wilks, J.H. (2014). Forecasting infrastructure resilience for climate change. Proceedings Institution of Civil Engineers Transport, 167(5), pp. 269-280,
- Raja, J., Dixon, N., Fowmes, G., Frost, M.W. and Assinder, P. (2014). Comparison of carbon dioxide emissions for two landfill capping. Proceedings of the ICE - Engineering Sustainability, 167(5), pp. 197–207.
- Smith, A. and Dixon, N. (2014) Quantification of landslide velocity from active waveguide generated acoustic emission. Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 52(4), pp. 413-425.
- Smith, A., Dixon, N., Meldrum P. and Haslam, E. (2014) Inclinometer casings retrofitted with acoustic real-time monitoring systems. Ground Engineering Magazine, pp. 24-29.
- Smith, A., Dixon, N., Meldrum P., Haslam, E. E. and Chambers J. (2014) Acoustic emission monitoring of a soil slope: Comparisons with continuous deformation measurements. Géotechnique Letters, 4(4), pp. 255-261.
I graduated from Hatfield Polytechnic in 1982 with a degree in Civil Engineering. I then carried out research in Soil Mechanics at Kingston Polytechnic, and was awarded a PhD in 1987 for an investigation of 'The Mechanics of Coastal Landslides in London Clay at Warden Point, Isle of Sheppey'.
This was followed by a three-year period working for Travers Morgan Consulting Engineers. This included two years as a Senior Assistant Resident Engineer on the A55 Immersed Tube Conwy Crossing, with responsibility for assessing slope stability and interpretation of extensive geotechnical instrumentation, and a period as a Geotechnical Engineer responsible for all aspects of ground investigations, and design of power station foundations. Consultancy activities have been continued to the present day, and include landfill engineering issues, slope stability assessment, specialist laboratory testing, and providing expert witness evidence.
Following my period in industry, I joined Nottingham Trent University in 1989 as a Senior Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering and subsequently held the positions of Principal Lecturer and then Reader in Geotechnical Engineering. Over a period of ten years, research interests were extended from the initial area of slope stability, to include geotechnical engineering of landfills and waste mechanics. In October 1999 I joined the Department of Civil and Building Engineering at Loughborough University as a Senior Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering and leader of the Geotechnics Group. I became a Professor of Geotechnical Engineering in June 2007 and held the roles of Associate Dean Enterprise for the School from 2011-2014, University Research Challenge Leader for Changing Environments and Infrastructure from 2014-2017, and Division lead for Civil Engineering since 2018.