Department of Engineering / Profiles / Dr Christelle Abadie

Department of Engineering

Dr Christelle Abadie DPhil (Oxon)


Christelle Abadie

University Lecturer in Civil Engineering

Academic Division: Civil Engineering

Telephone: +44 1223 3 30278


Research interests

Christelle is a civil and mechanical engineer, working on geotechnics for sustainable infrastructure development in the context of climate change.

Her research activities include soil-structure interaction for wind energy applications and sensing and monitoring for early-warning of climate-change induced geo-hazards. Her current research is mostly focused on two axes:

Design of Foundations for Offshore Wind Turbines:

Christelle has over a decade of expertise in the development of improved and robust guidelines for the design of monopile foundations for offshore wind applications. She has worked on a range of projects, addressing:

  • Capacity: Christelle was the leading research assistant for the PISA2 project. PISA2 is a Joint Industry Project run through the Carbon Trust and follow-up from Fleming award winning PISA project (2013 - 2016). This project enabled the development of the PISA method, a simple, and fast 1D numerical tool for the design of offshore monopile to lateral loads. PISA2 aimed at expanding the PISA design method to new soil types, including layered soil profiles.
  • Long-term quasi-static cyclic loading: offshore wind piles accumulate permanent deformations due to the repeated action of waves and winds (principally). This phenomenon is called ratcheting. Christelle's work involved the development and calibration of a constitutive model - HARM (Hyperplastic Accelerated Ratcheting Model) - that captures this behaviour in a simple, fast yet rigorous way.
  • Earthquake Design: Current deployment of offshore wind farms in Asia and North America require robust design to seismic loads. Christelle's current research involves experimental and numerical work evidencing the behaviour of offshore wind piles and transition piece to earthquakes, in particular in liquefiable soils.

Christelle's research projects are conducted in close collaboration with offshore wind industries, such as EDF, Orsted, ARUP and HR Wallingford.

Sinkhole Early Warning Detection:

Christelle's recent work involves the development of an early warning system for the detection of sinkholes formation at depth. Sinkhole failures are among the most common and disruptive shallow geohazards.

A sinkhole is a depression formed at the ground surface, caused by the formation of a cavity at depth, with progressive collapse of the ground towards the surface layer.  Ongoing climate change raises the likelihood of sinkhole formation and sinkholes are an increasingly common geohazard and financial burden for society. Sinkholes can develop over extended periods, with measurable ground deformation developing over the course of several days, weeks or even years before the eventual collapse.

Christelle leads a project aiming at using Distributed Fibre Optic Sensing and Satellite Monitoring to inform on early formation of sinkholes and thus offer opportunity for remedial action to prevent catastrophic failures.

Strategic themes

Energy, transport and urban infrastructure

Design of foundations for offshore wind applications

Early Warning System for Sinkhole Formation

Complex, resilient and intelligent systems

Use of Fibre Optic Sensing for Early Warning of Geohazards

Teaching activity

  • Offshore Geotechnical Engineering (MEng, 4th year, lecturer, course founder)
  • Foundation Design (MEng, 4th year, lecturer)
  • Mechanics of solids, Plasticity (MEng, 3rd year, lecturer)
  • Stress/Strain measurement (MEng, 3rd year, lab leader)
  • 3D FE analyses (MEng, 3rd year, lab leader)
  • Structural Design (MEng, 1st year, lecturer)
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  • Structures (MEng, 1st year, supervisor)
  • Dimensional Analysis (MEng, 1st year, supervisor)
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  • Introduction to Engineering and Origami Structures (Outreach workshop designed for grade 8 to 10 pupils)

Other positions

  • Fitzwilliam College, Engineering Fellow
  • Offshore Engineering Society, Academic Representative


Dr. Christelle Abadie is an assistant professor in civil engineering at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Fitzwilliam College. She holds an Engineering degree from the French “Grandes Ecoles” ENSTA ParisTech, and a D.Phil from the University of Oxford. Christelle is also a fellow of Fitzwilliam College in Engineering and the academic representative of the Offshore Engineering Society. She is part of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee at CUED and at Fitzwilliam College and regularly leads an outreach masterclass aimed at inspiring and helping schoolgirls to apply to Engineering.  

Department role and responsibilities

  • Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Divisional Representative
  • Library Committe