Dr Robert M Dorrell

Research Fellow

Faculty of Science and Engineering


01482 463159

Rob’s research covers multiphase, turbulent and stratified flows and is applied to offshore wind, via the Aura partnership project.

He has a PhD in mathematics from the University of Bristol, and has worked at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, held two PDRAs at Southampton and Leeds and, since 2017, held a University Fellowship at Hull.

Rob leads international collaboration with Japan, hosting six visitors at Hull in 2018-19. He has contributed to >1.4m of research grants as primary- and co-investigator, published 24 peer-reviewed papers (H-index = 11) and was the recipient of a Gerhard Jirka Award, IAHR.


Research Interests

  • Fluid dynamics

  • Environmental and industrial flows

  • Sediment transport

  • Multiphase flows

  • Gravity currents

  • Stratification

  • Turbulence

Research groups

  • Co-investigator: Rutherford Strategic Partnership Award, UKRI - £42k, PI Prof D R Parsons with Dr Tomoyuki Sato (Geological Survey Japan), Dr Naofumi Yamaguchi (Ibaraki University) and Dr Naohisa Nishida (Tokyo Gakugei University)

  • Primary Investigator: Aura Visiting Appointment, Aura - £5k, with Associate Professor Hajime Naruse (Kyoto University)

  • Host: Overseas Challenge Programme for Young Researchers, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, with Koji Ohata (Kyoto University)

  • Primary Investigator: Local Sea State for Stop-Go Operations, Greenport Hull - £300k, Co-I Prof D R Parsons, Dr R Forster

  • Co-investigator: Array Cable through life monitoring, Carbon Trust - £134k, PI JDR Cables Ltd, Co-I Dr D Flynn, ORE Catapult, Xero Energy

  • Co-investigator: Turbidites Research Group Phase 8, AkerBP, BP, ConocoPhillips, Equinor, ENI, Hess, Murphy, OMV and Shell - £973k, PI Prof W D McCaffrey, Co-I Dr M Patacci

  • Researcher Co-investigator: New field-scale calibration of turbidity current impact modelling, NERC NE/P009190/1 - £140k, PI Dr Michal Clare (National Oceanography Centre); Co-I Prof Peter Talling and Dr Matthieu Cartigny (Durham University)


Dorrell R M, Amy L A, Peakall J and McCaffrey W D, 'Particle size distribution controls the threshold between net sediment erosion and deposition in suspended load dominated flows', Geophysical Research Letters, 45(3), pp 1443-1452 (2018)

Dorrell R M, Burns A D and McCaffrey W D, 'The inherent instability of leveed seafloor channels', Geophysical Research Letters, 42(10), pp 4023-4031 (2015)

Dorrell R M, Darby S E, Peakall J, Sumner E J, Parsons D R and Wynn R B, 'The critical role of stratification in submarine channels: Implications for channelization and long runout of flows', Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 119(4), pp 2620-2641 (2014)

Dorrell R M, Darby S E, Peakall J, Sumner E J, Parsons D R and Wynn R B, 'Superelevation and overspill control secondary flow dynamics in submarine channels', Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 118(8), pp 3895-3915 (2013)

Dorrell R M and Hogg A J, 'Sedimentation of bidisperse suspensions', International Journal of Multiphase Flow, 36(6), pp 481-490 (2010)

Full list


Research PhDs

Rob welcomes applications from students interested in all areas of environmental and industrial fluid dynamics, in particular research relating to the fundamental mechanics of sediment transport and multiphase flow.

Current areas of interest include
  • direct numerical simulation of forced turbulence in stratified sediment-laden flows

  • integrated empirical measurements of flow velocity and suspended sediment concentration

  • impact of the built environment on stratified sediment-laden flow

  • suspension and transport of low density particles, from microplastics to flocs

  • lab-scale models of suspended sediment load dominated landscapes

Completed PhDs

  • Viet Luan Ho, Multi-pulsed turbidity current dynamics and geological implications, University of Leeds, 2018 (Now PDRA at Imperial College, London)

  • Armin Arfaie, Numerical Modelling of the Influence of Lower Boundary Roughness on Turbulent Sedimentary Flows, University of Leeds, 2016 (Now at BMW)

Current PhD supervisions

  • Sojiro Fukado, Palaeo-Environment Reconstruction from Seafloor Landscapes, University of Hull (starting 2019)

  • Marjike de Vet, Turbulent-Laminar transitions in flows laden with cohesive sediment, University of Hull

  • Xiokaiti Nilufan, Latitudinal Forcing on Deep-Ocean – Continental-Shelf Seawater Mixing, University of Hull

  • Damiola Adekanye, Massively Parallelised Models of Fluid-Solid Multiphase Flow, University of Leeds

  • Adriana Crisostomo Figueroa, Predicting stratigraphic trap integrity in deepwater settings, University of Leeds

  • Daniel Ward, University of Leeds

  • Caroline Marshall, University of Leeds

  • Paul Allen, Transitional multiphase flow: the enigmatic behaviour of seafloor landslides, University of Leeds

  • Rory Hetherington, University of Leeds

  • Charlie Lloyd, University of Leeds

  • Isabel de Cala, Dune cross-stratification in turbidite systems, University of Leeds

  • Bonita Barrett-Crosdil, University of Leeds

  • Rob Kelly, Seafloor gravity currents: flow dynamics in overspilling and sinuous channels, University of Leeds

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • PhD Mathematics, University of Bristol (2010)

  • MSc Mathematics (Ist, Hons), University of Bristol (2006)

External roles

Awards and accolades

  • Gerhard Jirka Award for Young Researchers, International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research, 2018

Professional highlights

  • Scientific Advisor, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, 2010