James Herterich

Biography Research Publications
School of Mathematics and Statistics: Earth Institute
Science Centre East
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4


I am an applied mathematician in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at University College Dublin. My research is based on fluid mechanics: geophysical flows, environmental and industrial problems, and particulate-laden flows. I am also a member of the Earth Institute.

Previously, I have held a number of positions. I held a short-term JSPS fellowship at Kyoto University within the Coastal Engineering Laboratory in the Disaster Prevention Research Institute. I was a postdoctoral researcher in Frederic Dias' Wave Group at University College Dublin. My project was based on the interaction of storm waves with coastal structures, specifically the movement of very large boulders during storms. For my graduate studies, I worked with Ian Griffiths and Dominic Vella on water filtration at Oxford University. There, I was also a member of Somerville College and St Anne's College.

Upcoming Events

IUTAM-BICTAM Summer School on Violent Flows with a Free Surface Shanghai 2-8 June



2018 ‒ present Lecturer / Assistant Professor University College Dublin
August 2018 JSPS Fellow Kyoto University
2015 ‒ 2018 Postdoctoral Research Associate University College Dublin


2015 DPhil Mathematics University of Oxford
2011 MSc Mathematical Modelling and Scientific Computing University of Oxford
2010 BSc Mathematical Physics University College Dublin

Oxford‒Princeton Collaborative Workshop Initiative, 2012 The Wave Group and friends at the 5km Rás UCD, 2017
OCIAM group photo, 2015


Broadly speaking, my research interests are in the following areas:

  • Mathematical Modelling
  • Scientific Computing
  • Wave Mechanics
  • Oceanography
  • Geoscience
  • Mechanics
  • Industrial Mathematics
  • Membrane Filtration

Past Events

62nd Irish Geological Research Meeting Dublin 18 Jan
UCC Seminar Corl 1-3 Mar
DPRI Seminar Kyoto 17 Aug
International Conference on Hydrodynamics Songdo 2-6 Sept
Workshop Fondation des Treilles Treilles 22-27 Oct
MACSI Seminar Limerick 7 April
European Geosciences Union (EGU) Vienna 23-28 April
Int. Soc. Offshore & Polar Engineers (ISOPE) San Francisco 25-30 June
European Meteorological Society (EMS) Dublin 4-8 Sept
Nonlinear waves and interfacial dynamics Loughborough 25-26 Sept
Workshop Multiphase Flows Paris 16-18 Oct
IUTAM Symposium: Storm Surge Modelling and Forecasting Shanghai 17-19 Oct
British Applied Mathematics Colloquium Cambridge 30-2 Mar/Apr
66th APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Meeting Pittsburgh 24-26 Nov

Extreme Waves

Each winter, storm waves inundate the coastal shores of Ireland. Field evidence on the Aran Islands shows that large boulders (>100 tonnes) are moved during these winter storms. Previously, this type of phenomena was attributed only to tsunamis, with storm waves considered to lack the power and energy necessary to moves these boulders.

Wave basin in Portaferry, 2016 We are investigating models for extreme near-shore events, such as wave amplification across uneven bathymetries, and the resulting onshore mass transport to model these events. I work directly with Nicole Beisiegel and Frederic Dias.

This project is part of a collaboration between Frederic Dias' Wave Group at UCD, Ronadh Cox's group at Williams College, and Bjoern Elsaesser's group at Queen's University Belfast; a combination of modelling, field work, and experiments. My position is co-funded by SFI (Ireland), NSF (US), and DELNI (Northern Ireland).

Membrane Filtration

Membrane filtration is a simple concept for water purification: water containing particulate contaminants is forced through a semi-permeable membrane that rejects the particulates leaving clean water to flow out. The contaminated feed is split between many individual membrane modules (tubes/channels) that make up the membrane device. The clean water (permeate) is collected, and the left over contaminated water (retentate) may be filtered again.

We have developed mathematical models of aspects of crossflow and directflow filtration operating at constant flux. We have addressed questions related to the initial stages of concentration polarization in crossflow systems. In particular, we studied the influence of particulates on the viscosity of the filtrate, and showed how the filtration efficiency may be improved by tailoring the wall permeability to reduce the effects of osmosis.

We have also considered the development of membrane fouling and caking in directflow systems: the transmembrane pressure difference, elastic deformations during filtration, and the influence of these on the development of fouling and caking. We have shown that even small elastic effects can worsen fouling and suggested how the process can be operated to avoid this.
Membrane device

This work was with Ian Griffiths and Dominic Vella in the Maths Institute, in collaboration with Robert Field and Nick Hankins at Engineering Sciences, all at Oxford University. Furthermore, we spoke regularly with Graeme Pearce of Membrane Consultancy. My position was funded by OCCAM and Engineering Sciences.


Where it all started! My MSc dissertation concerned modelling the erosion‒corrosion process in pipe flow. This involved tracking particles around a bend in pipe flow to determine the location, speed, and incident angle at which they may collide with the pipe wall. Using Finnie's model, we determine the amount of erosion caused by an impact. For closed-looped systems (e.g., cooling systems in tokamaks), the erosion process becomes exponentially worse.

This work was with Ian Griffiths at the Maths Institute at Oxford University. My position was funded by OCCAM.

Industrial Mathematics

There are many collaborative initiatives between industry and mathematicians. One of the more popular is the Study Group with Industry. This involves a week-long collaboration where technical problems are formulated, solved, and the results are translated for technological use.

I have attended several of such workshops, contributing to problems on droplet interaction with porous media for DSTL, membrane blocking and separation problems with Pall Corporation, and analysing moving images with Aralia Systems.


In preparation


  1. Reproducing the pressure‒time signature of membrane filtration: The interplay between fouling, caking, and elasticity
    JG Herterich, IM Griffiths, D Vella
    J. Membrane Science, 577, p. 235-348, 2019
  2. How does wave impact generate large boulders? Modelling hydraulic fracture of cliffs and shore platforms
    JG Herterich, R Cox & F Dias
    Marine Geology, 399, p. 34-46, 2018
  3. Wave breaking and runup of long waves approaching a cliff over a variable bathymetry
    JG Herterich & F Dias
    Procedia IUTAM, 25, p. 18-27, 2017
  4. Optimizing the operation of a direct-flow filtration device
    JG Herterich, Q Xu, RW Field, D Vella & IM Griffiths
    J. Engineering Mathematics, 104(1), p. 195-211, 2017
  5. Tailoring wall permeabilities for enhanced filtration
    JG Herterich, D Vella, RW Field, NP Hankins & IM Griffiths
    Physics of Fluids, 27(5), 053102, 2015
  6. The effect of a concentration-dependent viscosity on particle transport in a channel flow with porous walls
    JG Herterich, IM Griffiths, RW Field & D Vella
    AIChE Journal, 60(5), p. 1891-1904, 2014

Conference Proceedings

  1. Un cas-test discriminant pour la simulation de la propagation et du run-up de trains de vagues de type tsunami
    M Benoit, F Dias, JG Herterich, Y-M Scolan
    16ème Journées de l’Hydrodynamique, 2018
  2. Dynamic cliff-top beam response to wave impact
    JG Herterich, R Cox & F Dias
    The 13th International Conference on Hydrodynamics (ICHD), 2018
  3. Incorporating wave spectrum information in real-time free-surface elevation forecasting: real-sea experiments
    APL Merigaud, JG Herterich, J Flanagan, J Ringwood, F Dias
    The 11th IFAC Conference on Control Applications in Marine Systems, Robotics, and Vehicles, IFAC-PapersOnLine 51.29, p. 232–237, 2018
  4. Wave height to depth measures during extreme runup
    JG Herterich & F Dias
    The 27th International Ocean and Polar Engineering Conference (ISOPE), vol. 3, p. 1390-1394, 2017

Technical Reports

  1. Liquid Wicking in Hierarchical Microstructures
    GCR Devarapu, L Ó’Náraigh, JG Herterich
    141st ESGI, Dublin, 2018
  2. Bananas - defects in the jet stripping process
    S Walsh, D O’Kiely, G Lavalle, R Mangan, S Mitchell, K Devine, JG Herterich, S Thomson, R Novakovic, G Hocking
    118th ESGI, Dublin, 2016
  3. Segmentation and Scene Content in Moving Images
    D Badziahin, F Brosa Planella, M Ferreira, S Gazzola, JG Herterich, A Krupp, S Lim, R Pronko, J Skinner
    107th ESGI, Manchester, 2015
  4. Liquid interactions with porous media and the fate of toxic materials
    P Hicks, A Crosby, D Hewitt, M Hennessy, JG Herterich & I Moyles
    85th ESGI, Norwich, 2012