Brian McFall

PhD Student, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

Background and research interests

Brian obtained a BS and MS in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University-Kingsville in 2005 and 2008, respectively. He worked for five years as a project manager and commercial diver for an engineering firm in Corpus Christi, Texas. While working in Corpus Christi, Brian had the opportunity to design several subdivisions, storm drainage systems and multiple lift station upgrades. In addition to infrastructure design, Brian performed structural inspections of more than a hundred waterfront structures such as bridges, bulkheads, cargo docks, bulk material docks and oil docks.

Brian began the PhD program at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2010. His research pertains to the physical modeling of subaerial landslide-generated tsunamis in various topographic scenarios that are based on real-world events. His physical models use a novel landslide tsunami generator (LTG) that consists of a sliding box filled with up to 1,350 kg of naturally rounded river gravel which is accelerated by means of four pneumatic pistons down the 2H:1V slope, launching the granular landslide towards the water at velocities of up to 5 m/s. Water surface elevations are measured using an array of resistance wave gauges. The granulate landslide width, thickness and front velocity are measured using above-water and underwater cameras. Three-dimensional landslide surface reconstruction and surface velocity are measured using a stereo particle image velocimetry (PIV) setup. The speckled pattern on the surface of the granular landslide allows for cross-correlation-based PIV analysis. Wave runup is redundantly measured as time-series with resistance wave gauges along the slope and spatially with video image processing. The measured landslide and tsunami data serve to validate and advance 3-dimensional numerical landslide tsunami and prediction models. Brian is interested in becoming more proficient with coastal hazard modeling.

Other interests

Most of Brian’s hobbies involve the outdoors. In his spare time he likes to run, camp, hunt and fish. Europe and Central America are his favorite places to vacation.