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Professor Paul H. Taylor

Shell-Pocock Fellow in Civil Engineering

And Director of Studies for Engineering Science


Hello and welcome to engineering at Keble. As the Director of Studies, I organise the college teaching in cooperation with the other teaching Fellows in Engineering Science, Dr. Stephen Payne and Prof. Richard Darton.

We teach engineering as a unified course - hence the name of our course - Engineering Science.  Our students are only required to choose their area of specialization at the start of their 3rd year of our 4-year course. This can be a great advantage over courses elsewhere which require this decision much earlier - as many students either don't know what area they are interested in when they arrive or change their minds halfway through!

Oxford graduates in Engineering Science have a good grounding across all the main engineering disciplines as well as a more specialized knowledge in one area (civil, mechanical, chemical, information, biomedical etc.). As a College with a large intake in Engineering Science, we have a corresponding breadth of expertise across the Fellows in the subject in Keble, which we hope is a considerable benefit to our students.

I teach structural engineering and mechanics in college to our 1st and 2nd years. In the Department of Engineering Science, I currently give lecture courses on introductory structures and fluid mechanics, and more specialised courses on plate and shell structures and fluid-structure interactions, as well as jointly running a large research group working on offshore and coastal engineering.

Research Interests

As can be seen from the list of some of my recent publications, my research covers offshore and coastal engineering. I'm studying the nonlinear physical processes that occur in extreme waves on the open sea via a combination of numerical simulations and analytical modelling. I'm also interested in the long-term statistics of storms: how bad is the 1 in 100-year storm, or the 1 in 10,000-year storm (which might arrive tomorrow!). Once the storm and extreme wave field are defined, the interaction of steep waves with structures is still an important design issue and is also an active area of our research.  Offshore engineering draws together elements of meteorology, oceanography and mathematical physics as well as the areas of fluid and structural mechanics and reliability theory more familiar to most engineers.

I'm also interested in the history of structural engineering, which I work on while supervising a series of final year undergraduate projects. So far we have modelled the Wallis roof - a 17th century interlocking beam design, the dome of Florence cathedral and several bridge projects: Stephenson's Britannia railway bridge over the Menai Straits as an early example of a box girder structure, and also the early 20th century transporter bridges at Newport and Middlesborough. We have also examined the structural performance of the Mulberry harbours in summer storms in the Channel. These were deployed to support the D-Day landings in 1944. One was wrecked by a severe storm, the other less badly damaged and rapidly repaired. We think we have identified why the two harbours behaved differently.  Modern engineers can learn a great deal from analysing the great structures created by earlier generations of engineers.

Recent Publications

  • Bai, W., Santo, H., Taylor, P.H. and Choo, Y.S., 'Current blockage in a numerical wave tank: three-dimensional simulations of regular waves and current through a porous tower' in Computers and Fluids, 115 (2015), 256-69
  • Wolgamot, H., Eatock Taylor, R., and Taylor, P.H., 'Radiation, trapping and near-trapping in arrays of floating truncated cylinders' in Engineering Mathematics, 91 (2015), 17-35
  • Van den Bremer, T., and Taylor, P.H., 'Estimates of Lagrangian transport by surface gravity wave groups: the effect of finite depth and directionality' in Journal of Geophysical Research (Oceans), 120 (2015), 2701-2722
  • Orszaghova, J., Taylor, P.H., Borthwick, A.G.L. and Raby, A.C, 'Importance of second-order generation of focused wave group run-up and overtopping' in Coastal Engineering, 94 (2014), 63-79
  • Grice, J.R., Taylor, P.H., and Eatock Taylor, R., 'Second order statistics and 'designer' waves for violent free-surface motion around multi-column structures' in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 373 (21040133) (2014)
  • P.H. Taylor with H. Santo and Y.S. Choo, 'Current blockage: reduced forces on space frame structures with high hydrodynamic area, and in regular waves and current' in Ocean Engineering, 57 (2013), 11-24
  • P H Taylor with J R Grice, R Eatock Taylor, 'Near-trapping effects for multi-column structures in deterministic and random waves' in Ocean Engineering, 58 (2013), 60-77
  • P H Taylor with H Santo, R Eatock Taylor and Y S Choo, 'Average properties of the largest waves in Hurricane Camille' in Journal of Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering, 135(1) 011602 (2013)
  • P H Taylor with J Orszaghova and A G L Borthwick, 'From the paddle to the beach - a Boussinesq shallow water numerical wave tank based on Madsen and Sorensen's equations' in Journal of Computational Physics, 231(2) (2012), 328-44
  • P H Taylor with W-K Lee, A G L Borthwick and S Chuenkham, ''Vortex-induced chaotic mixing in wavy channels'' in Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 654 (2010), 501-538
  • P H Taylor with L Sun and R Eatock Taylor, ''First- and second-order analysis of resonant waves between adjacent barges'' in Journal of Fluids and Structures, 26 (2010), 954-978
  • Stallard T, Taylor PH, Williamson CHK and Borthwick AGL, 'Cylinder loading in transient motion representing flow under a wave group' in Proc. Roy. Soc. A, 465 (2009), 1467-88
  • P H Taylor with T A A Adcock, 'Focusing of unidirectional wave groups on deep water: an approximate nonlinear Schrodinger equation-based model' in Proc. Roy. Soc. A, 465 (2009), 3083-3102
  • P H Taylor with T A A Adcock, 'Estimating ocean wave directional spreading from an Euler surface elevation time history' in Proc. Roy. Soc. A, 465 (2009), 3361-3381
  • Walker DAG, Eatock Taylor R, Taylor PH and Zang J, 'Wave diffraction and near-trapping by a multi-column gravity-based structure' in Ocean Engineering, 35 (2008), 201-229
  • Ning DZ, Zang J, Liang Q, Taylor PH and Borthwick AGL, 'Boussinesq cut-cell model for non-linear wave interaction with coastal structures' in Int. J. Num. Methods in Fluids, 57 (2008), 1459-83
  • Liang Q, Taylor PH and Borthwick AGL, 'Particle mixing and reactive front motion in unsteady open shallow flow - modelling using singular value decomposition' in Computers & Fluids, 36 (2) (2007), pp. 248-258
  • Gibbs RH and Taylor PH, 'Formation of walls of water in fully nonlinear simulations' in Applied Ocean Research, 27 (2005), 142-157

Academic Biography

  • Fellow of Keble and University Lecturer in Engineering Science (1997 - present)

College Contact Details

Professor Paul H. Taylor
Keble College
Telephone: 01865 272727
Fax: 01865 272705

Faculty/Dept. Information

Department of Engineering Science
Parks Road