Debris Flows and Baffle Systems

Modelling non-Newtonian Debris Flows and Baffle Protective Structures

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Debris flows are a form of catastrophic landslide, predominantly occurring in mountainous terrain.  Debris flows consist of a fluidised mixture of soil sediments, fragmented rock, boulders, and water which flow in the down-hill direction at high velocity.  A range of debris flow protective structures are suitable for impeding flow, including check dams, screens, and flexible barriers.  One such defensive measure to minimise the effects of debris flow damage is the use of baffle structures which can drastically reduce debris flow velocity.

In this study, computational methods are used to consider non-Newtonian debris flows and the fluid-structure interactions with debris flow baffles.  The objective of this project is to assess the impact forces on these structures and their suitability in reducing flow velocity for the purpose of reducing landslide hazard risk.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Gholamreza Kefayati


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • The project is open to domestic (Australia and New Zealand) and international applicant
  • Applicants must be commencing a new course of study with the University of Tasmania in the 2023 academic year
  • Applicants from the following disciplines are encouraged to apply:
    • Civil Engineering
    • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Strong academic background in engineering and capability to work independently
  • Solid knowledge of numerical modelling techniques
  • Knowledge of a programming language

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Solid knowledge of the Lattice Boltzmann Method (LBM)

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Gholamreza Kefayati to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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