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Personal profile

Personal Statement

I joined Strathclyde in 2019 as a Chancellor’s Fellow in Energy, and hold a joint appointment as a lecturer in both Civil & Environmental Engineering and Chemical and process Engineering.  I am a geologist by background, but my research routinely bridges disciplines. Having spent time in Geoscience, Materials Science and Engineering departments, I regularly bring methods across traditional subject and area boundaries, especially at the interfaces between geology, materials science, environmental science and engineering.  

My main research interests lie in understanding the behaviour and evolution of both natural and man-made materials. More specifically it is questions about how the microstructure of a material evolves through time, and therefore changes the properties and behaviour of the larger system that underpins most of my work. To do this, I use x-ray computed tomography to see inside materials and objects and quantify their internal structures, and a range of experimental and analytical methods to observe the physical, chemical and biological changes within the sample overtime.

After a BSc (Hons) in Earth Sciences & Physics at Durham University in 2001, I volunteered at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory before completing my PhD in Geology at the University of Glasgow (2007). I then stayed at Glasgow for a postdoctoral position, before moving to Materials Science at the University of Manchester in 2011. This position was based at the Research Complex at Harwell to work extensively at the Diamond Light Source synchrotron facility and develop new opportunities fir geological and engineering applications of x-ray tomography. In 2014 I moved to Ludwig Maximillians Universität, Munich for a Postdoctoral Fellowship applying in situ x-ray and synchrotron imaging to challenges in volcanology, and then in 2016 I was awarded a NERC Independent Research Fellowship to study multiphase flows and the rheology of complex fluids (in this case magmas) using the latest x-ray imaging methods, first at Durham University, and now at Strathclyde. 

Personal Statement

I apply x-ray tomography to investigate the textures within natural and man-made materials. The method is non destructive, and can be applied to a wide range of samples and sample sizes, and can be used on samples as they are heated, cooled, compressed, stretched, twisted, stirred or inundated by a range of different fluids.


My work focusses on the latest state-of-the-art 3D and real time 4D imaging techniques. In 4D studies, the ability to inside the sample as it undergoes a change allows us to collect a "movie", where each frame is a full 3D x-ray tomography image. In my own core research, the individual 3D images of the movie are each collected in under a second. For other studies it is enough to image every few seconds, few hours, or even every few months depending on the rate and magnitude of change you wish to observe. This allows me to track the location and interactions between particles or between bubbles, to quantify fracture propagation, to capture dissolution or precipitation as it occurs, to observe fluids passing through pore throats, or corrosion, or sintering, or root growth. The opportunities are almost endless.


Current research projects include:

  • Multi-phase flows and rheology in complex and concentrated fluids (NERC-IRF)
  • Understanding pore scale controls on slope stability to improve embankment and cutting resilience to climate change (ACHILLES)
  • Diffusion and bubble growth in silicate melts
  • In situ deformation of composite materials
  • Damage zone development
  • Sintering and densification processes
  • Permeability evolution in the subsurface
  • Subsurface fluid flow and fluid-rock interactions
  • Pore scale processes
  • Soil mechanics
  • The physical-chemical-biological interactions that control soil fertility  


Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy

Bachelor of Science


  • Energy
  • Materials science
  • In situ Imaging
  • X-ray tomography
  • Geology
  • Sub surface Engineering
  • Multiphase flows
  • Permeability

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Kate Dobson is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Tomography Engineering & Materials Science
tomography Earth & Environmental Sciences
thermochronology Earth & Environmental Sciences
X rays Engineering & Materials Science
porosity Physics & Astronomy
zircon Earth & Environmental Sciences
apatite Earth & Environmental Sciences
Zircon Engineering & Materials Science

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Projects 2016 2022

Magmatic Soup: experimental and microstructural investigation of slurry flow and magmatic sedimentation

Dobson, K., Wadsworth, F. B. & Talling, P.


Project: Research - StudentshipResearch Studentship

Research Output 2006 2019

  • 31 Article
  • 1 Chapter
  • 1 Conference contribution book

A general model for welding of ash particles in volcanic systems validated using in situ X-ray tomography

Wadsworth, F. B., Vasseur, J., Schauroth, J., Llewellin, E. W., Dobson, K. J., Havard, T., Scheu, B., von Aulock, F. W., Gardner, J. E., Dingwell, D. B., Hess, K. U., Colombier, M., Marone, F., Tuffen, H. & Heap, M. J., 1 Nov 2019, In : Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 525, 9 p., 115726.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Assessment of the mineral resource potential of atlantic ferromanganese crusts based on their growth history, microstructure, and texture

Yeo, I. A., Dobson, K., Josso, P., Pearce, R. B., Howarth, S. A., Lusty, P. A. J., Le Bas, T. P. & Murton, B. J., 30 Jul 2018, In : Minerals. 8, 8, 19 p., 327.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Mineral resources
mineral resource