Biography CV Research Publications

Failures of rocks and rock masses and its consequences

The mechanics of failures in rocks and rock masses still lack a comprehensive understanding of the underlying factors and are mostly described by (semi-)empirical methods.

My research focuses on a more complete mechanical understanding, starting from the initial occurrence of a fracture up to its propagation in the rock mass, its dependency of rock mechanical parameters and its interaction with discontinuities and in situ stresses up to its final failure. The field of research covers the geo(rock-)mechanics of deep geothermal reservoirs, nuclear waste repositories up to the stability of rock slopes in high alpine regions

My research is bulit on three main pillars:


The collection of field data for geomechanical purposes often requires innovative approaches that go beyond standardized methods to be suitable for use in the laboratory. Therefore, my research involves the handling and characterization of fragile rock samples and the determination of appropriate equivalents

·       Rock core mapping, preparation and preservation of the Geothermal Drilling Geretsried with depths over 5000 m

·       Rock core sampling of highly inaccessible locations in high alpine regions


Rock mechanical laboratory tests produce highly sensitive parameters that are subject to high fluctuations. Therefore, my research applies standardized tests in combination with newly developed methods

·       Determination of elastic and strength properties, including the fracture toughness

·       Developing temperature-controlled shear experiments under permafrost condition

The determined parameters serve as input parameters for numerical models.

Numerical 2D/3D Modelling

The application of modern Finite/Distinct Element (FEMDEM) Codes give new insights in the fracturing of rocks and rock masses. A more precise models of the behavior of the rock mass, with the effect of rock properties, discontinuities and in situ stresses, and the consequent deformation and strain reveal new insights for geothermal projects and also the failure of rock slopes.