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Dr Rod Lynch

Dr Rod Lynch

FIBE CDT Course Director

Department of Engineering
Trumpington Street

Cambridge CB2 1PZ
Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 332714


Rod Lynch's research background was in chemistry and instrumentation science before moving into environmental geotechnics. After graduation in chemistry from Birmingham University in 1965, he researched solid state structures at Mullard Research Laboratories; oil additives at Esso Research; nuclear magnetic resonance and solid state structures at Warwick University where he obtained his PhD in spectroscopy. After teaching and instrumental research at Durham University he joined Philips / Pye Unicam as a project engineer on chemical instrument research and development, and eventually became Principal Scientist. In 1995 he joined the Geotechnical Group at CUED where he was Senior Technical Officer in environmental geotechnics until retirement in September 2011. He continues to collaborate with Dr Abir Al-Tabbaa and supervise 4th year project students at CUED.

Departments and Institutes

Department of Engineering:

Research Interests

Previous environmental geotechnics  research topics:

Environmental geotechnics research topics included:

  • organic and inorganic pollutant plume tracking in kaolin using the minidrum centrifuge,
  • a fibre-optic pH sensor for groundwater monitoring,
  • electro-osmotic dewatering of clays,
  • a probe for detecting NAPL pollutants in soils,
  • remediation of contaminated land by electrokinetics,
  • the control of plumes in groundwater using airsparging,
  • preventing efflorescence in brickwork,
  • tracking of contaminants through landfill liners by  fibre-optic sensors,
  • from 1996 –2001, leader of the Sensors and Imaging Working Group of NECER, a European Union-funded network of geotechnical centrifuge users studying environmental projects.

Current Research

My research is focussed mainly on contaminated land issues, in particular the remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater:

  • in-situ groundwater clean-up using photocatalysis,
  • containment or exclusion of pollutants by an electrokinetic barrier,
  • studies of pollution plume breakthrough in soils using in-situ fibre-optic sensors,


Avalanche detection (M Eng students: Henry Jeens, Melanie Chung, James Engwall, Amy Whitaker, Angela Laycock, Robin Firth, Ben Hamilton, Rob Clarke, Peter Kirkwood and Katie Salter).

The aim is to produce a simple device which is small enough to be carried by a skier or instructor, which can give a warning of the presence underneath the snow of a weak layer capable of causing a slab avalanche. Various mechanical and electronic devices have been built and tested. The latest two devices which show promising results have been tested in Canada (April 2011).


  • Part IIB examiner (Projects).  Coordinator for civil, structural and environmental 4th year projects.
  • 4D14 Contaminated and and waste containment (chemistry)
  • 2010-11  supervised two MEng student projects, and two Erasmus exchange projects.
  • PhD Examiner: Cambridge: 8,  Cagliari, Italy:1; DTU Denmark: 1:
  • MPhil Examiner (Cambridge):1

Other Professional Activities


University of Cagliari, Italy. Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering (Prof. Aldo Muntoni)

Through the EU Erasmus student exchange scheme from 2005-11, ten  Italian students from Cagliary University have each carried out 6 month projects on groundwater clean-up, permeable reactive barriers, prevention of brickwork efflorescence  or contamination protection of groundwater.

2011:   Maria Elena Lusci, Valentina Filia2010: Daniela Spiga, Marco Laconi2009: Roberto Lo Mastro, Simone Cossedu2008: Alessandro Sidore, Mario Uda2007: Nicola Giuliani, Emmanuela Contini2006: Alice Meloni

Strathclyde University, Civil Engineering Dept. (Dr Philippe Sentenac)

Shrinkage of landfill liners by solvents

Wakayama College of Technology, Japan  (Prof. Seiichi Sasaki)

Contaminant transport of heavy metals through soils

1996 -2001 Leader of the Sensors and Imaging Working Group of an EU network, NECER, a European Union-funded network of geotechnical centrifuge users studying environmental projects.

Key Publications

See my publications list