Richard Simons’ main research interests lie in the field of Coastal Engineering, with particular emphasis on hydrodynamics, the study of wave-current interaction and fluid effects on sediment, structures and seabed scour. Experiments have covered a wide range of conditions and the results have given an insight into fundamental fluid processes and related interactions with marine structures and the seabed. Facilities at UCL include three wave-current flumes: these are being used in an EPSRC/Supergen-funded investigation which commenced in the autumn of 2012 into the impacts of extreme wave-current events on marine tidal and wave energy structures. And a PhD project started in 2013 is looking at the interaction of waves with turbulence and turbulent currents.
Richard has a particular interest in marine aggregate dredging: a recently completed project developed and applied a cellular automata model to predict the long-term impact on and recovery of the seabed and its associated biological systems of offshore dredging activities. In the broader field of coastal morphology, another project has applied novel statistical methods to characterize and predict long-term morphological development of the seabed. In the field of fluid-structure interaction, ANN methods are being used to model flow over and around low-crested breakwaters, using new experimental data from various scales of experiment in three flumes for training and validation of the model; experiments have been conducted using 3-d flow velocimetry (3V3) to assess the stability of scour protection at various levels of rock misalignment; one EngD project with HR Wallingford is investigating scour in mixed and layered sediments and around complex foundations, while a second EngD project is focusing on scour evolution and protection measures around gravity base structures, both projects with relevance to the marine renewables industry; and an investigation is being conducted into the effects of groundwater levels on wave run-up and overtopping on barrier beaches subject to severe storm impacts.
During the 1990s Richard oversaw commissioning and management of the UK National Coastal Research Facility at Wallingford and was influential in DEFRA’s introduction of the UK coastal wave monitoring programme WaveNet. He serves on the UK Coastal Monitoring and Forecasting Service (UKCMF) advisory group and on the Advisory Panel for the ICE Journal of Maritime Engineering.