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Personal profile

Research interests

Pore-scale and grain-scale studies leading to the prediction of emergent macroscopic properties. Numerical simulation of geomechanical processes – faults, flexures, compaction. Coupling of geomechanics and flow simulation. Fractured reservoirs. Development and behaviour of seals. Design of rock mechanics testing apparatus. My research is focused on materials and processes. I have been fortunate to have established productive collaborations with others who possess complementary skills, allowing me to investigate problems that involve complex interactions and which require a broad knowledge base. I attempt to integrate observations, experiments and theoretical/simulation methods to gain as much understanding as possible, and I try to apply research outcomes to the solution of practical problems.


I grew up in west Texas, and attended Texas A&M for my undergraduate education. I earned my Master’s degree at Rice University, and then a PhD at Texas A&M. I worked in the oil industry (Cities Service Co in Oklahoma, and Amoco in Colorado) and then ran a consultancy before moving to the UK. While at Glasgow University, I focused on basin-scale hydrogeological topics, and have been able to emphasise geomechanical research since joining Heriot-Watt in 1998.

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Research Output

Sampling and preparation of c.200 mm diameter cylindrical rock samples for geomechanical experiments

Fraser-Harris, A., Lightbody, A., Edlmann, K., Elphick, S. C., Couples, G. D., Sauter, M. & McDermott, C., Apr 2020, In : International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences. 128, 104233.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Fast 4D imaging of fluid flow in rock by high‐speed neutron tomography

    Tudisco, E., Etxegarai, M., Hall, S. A., Charalampidou, E. M., Couples, G. D., Lewis, H., Tengattini, A. & Kardjilov, N., Apr 2019, In : Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. 124, 4, p. 3557-3569 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 60 Downloads (Pure)

    Flow through fractured reservoirs under geological and geomechancial uncertainty

    Steffens, B., Demyanov, V., Couples, G., Arnold, D. & Lewis, H., 3 Jun 2019, 81st EAGE Conference and Exhibition 2019. EAGE Publishing BV

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution