Dr Adnan Sufian


School of Civil Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
+61 7 334 61352


Dr Adnan Sufian completed his PhD at UNSW Sydney, spending one year as a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to joining the University of Queensland, he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Imperial College London and has also worked as a geotechnical engineer with SMEC Australia. Dr Sufian's field of research is in the area of multi-scale and multi-phase mechanics of granular materials. His research aims to develop tools and guidelines so that geotechnical engineers can better handle, manipulate and construct with granular materials, and this can lead to innovative solutions to geotechnical issues surrounding the development of urban infrastructure. He is also interested in understanding natural phenomena associated with granular geomaterials such as landscapes affected by erosion, mass movement of materials in landslides, and mitigating the spread of contaminants in subsurface flows. Dr Sufian has strong expertise in the development of novel, efficient and rigorous multi-scale computational modelling techniques, including the Discrete Element Method, Computational Fluid Dynamics and Network Models, with a core focus on the interaction of water with soil particles. His research is naturally multidisciplinary and he currently collaborates with physicists, mathematicians and engineers to uncover emergent phenomena from the collective behaviour of granular particles.

Research Interests

  • Computational Modelling of Fluid-Particle Systems
    Development of computational tools including CFD-DEM (Computational Fluid Dynamics and Discrete Element Method) and PNM-DEM (Pore Network Model and Discrete Element Method).
  • Dual-Network Characterisation of Granular Materials
    Characterising the interplay between the network of contacts and the network of voids/pores in granular materials under complex stress states.
  • Internal Erosion in Embankment Dams and Flood Levees
    Application of computational and experimental techniques to uncover the fundamental mechanisms leading to the initiation and progression of internal erosion.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of New South Wales


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  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

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Featured Publications

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Sufian, Adnan, Knight, Christopher, O'Sullivan, Catherine, van Wachem, Berend and Dini, Daniele (2020). Capturing Local Fluid Field Characteristics in Porous Media using Pore Network Models. 22nd Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference AFMC2020, Brisbane, QLD Australia, 7-10 December 2020. Brisbane, QLD Australia: The University of Queensland. doi: 10.14264/54548eb

  • Artigaut, Marion, Sufian, Adnan, Ding, Xiaoxiao, Shire, Tom and O’Sullivan, Catherine (2019). Influence of stress anisotropy on stress distributions in gap-graded soils. 7th International Symposium on Deformation Characteristics of Geomaterials, Glasgow, United Kingdom, 26-28 June 2019. EDP Sciences. doi: 10.1051/e3sconf/20199214007

  • Sufian, Adnan, Russell, Adrian R. and Whittle, Andrew J. (2017). Micro-scale anisotropy of contacts and pores in granular media. Powders and Grains 2017 – 8th International Conference on Micromechanics on Granular Media, Montpellier, France, 3-7 July 2017. Les Ulis, France: EDP Sciences. doi: 10.1051/epjconf/201714015003

  • Sufian, A. and Russell, A. R. (2015). Microstructural pore changes in Gosford sandstone during compressive loading. Geomechanics from Micro to Macro - ProceedingsISSMGE International Symposium on Geomechanics from Micro to Macro, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 1-3 September 2014. Leiden, The Netherlands: Taylor and Francis - Balkema. doi: 10.1201/b17395-220

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision