Ryan Hurley

Assistant Professor

Research Interests

Mechanical behavior and failure mechanisms of granular materials, concrete, and ceramics; In-situ x-ray imaging and diffraction; Dynamic failure mechanism; Wave propagation


Ryan Hurley is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, a fellow of the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Civil and Systems Engineering. He received his PhD from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 2015, where he studied the behavior of granular materials using computational modeling and small-scale experiments. Hurley performed his postdoctoral research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) from 2015 – 2017, where he first developed computational methods for wave propagation through rocks for which he received a 2017 Department of Energy Secretary’s Appreciation Award for contributions to the Source Physics Experiment.  During his time at LLNL, Hurley also independently led a Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project to study the mechanical compaction of granular materials using X-ray imaging and diffraction.
Hurley joined the Whiting School of Engineering faculty in 2018.  His research group develops and uses novel experiments and numerical models to study the mechanical behavior and failure mechanisms of granular materials, rocks, concrete, and ceramics.  His group is a frequent user of synchrotron X-ray facilities around the world, at which they seek to see and understand deformation mechanisms in materials at the smallest length and time scales.  Their work has been featured in journals such as The Journal of the Physics and Mechanics of Solids and The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Hurley is an active member of professional societies including the Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI), where he is a member of the Computational Mechanics and Granular Materials committees, the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE), where he is a corresponding TC105 member, the Society of Engineering Science (SES), and the American Physical Society (APS).  He serves as co-editor of the open-source journal Open Geomechanics, and has served as a reviewer for numerous journals such as The Journal of Geophysical Research and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and funding agencies such as the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Army Research Office (ARO), and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  Beginning in 2020, Hurley serves as the co-chair of the Mach Conference held annually in Annapolis, Maryland.
Hurley received a Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) award in 2018 from the U.S. Army Research Office (ARO), and a 2020 CAREER award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). 


  • Ph.D. Applied Mechanics 2015, California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • M.S. Applied Mechanics 2012, California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • B.S. Civil Engineering 2011, University of Maryland College Park
  • 2015 - 2017:  Postdoctoral Fellow in Computational Geosciences, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • 2012 - 2015:  Research Assistant, California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
Research Areas
  • Composites
  • Dynamic behavior of materials
  • Experimental mechanics
  • FRACTURE mechanics
  • GRANULAR materials
  • Geologic materials
  • Mechanics of materials
Journal Articles
  • Hurley RC, Lind, J, Pagan, DC, Akin, MC, Herbold, EB (2018).  In situ grain fracture mechanics during uniaxial compaction of granular solids.  Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids.  112.  273-290.
  • Zhai, C, Herbold, EB, Hall, SA, Hurley RC (2018).  Particle rotations and energy dissipation during mechanical compaction of granular materials.  Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids.
  • Marshall JP, Hurley RC, Arthur D, Vlahinic I, Senatore C, Iagnemma K, Trease B, Andrade JE (2018).  Failures in sand in reduced gravity environments.  Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids.  113.  1-12.
  • Vorobiev O, Ezzedine S, Hurley RC (2018).  Near-field non-radial motion generation from underground chemical explosions in jointed granite.  Geophysical Journal International.  212(1).  25-41.
  • Hall, SA, Hurley RC, Zhai, C, Herbold, EB, Majkut, M, Wright, J, Engqvist, J (2018).  Granular stress and strain evolution in triaxial compression.  Geotechnique Letters.
  • Hurley RC, Herbold EB, Pagan DC (2018).  Characterization of the crystal structure, kinematics, stresses and rotations in angular granular quartz during compaction.  Journal of Applied Crystallography.  51(4).  1021-1034.
  • Hurley RC, Pagan DC (2018).  An in-situ study of stress evolution and fracture growth during compression of concrete.  International Journal of Solids and Structures.
  • Hurley RC, Hall SA, Wright J (2017).  Multi-scale mechanics of granular solids from grain-resolved x-ray measurements.  Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Scien.  473(2207).  0491.
  • Hurley RC, Vorobiev OY, Ezzedine SM (2017).  An algorithm for continuum modeling of rocks with multiple embedded nonlinearly-compliant joints.  Computational Mechanics.  60(2).  235-252.
  • Hurley RC, Lind J, Pagan DC, Akin MC, Herbold EB (2017).  Linking initial microstructure and local response during quasi-static granular compaction.  Physical Review E.  96(1).  012905.
  • Hurley RC, Hall SA, Andrade JE, Wright J (2017).  Force measurements in stiff, 3D opaque granular materials.  EPJ Web of Conference.  140(02006).  1-4.
  • Hurley RC, Andrade JE (2017).  Continuum modeling of rate-dependent granular flows in SPH.  Computational Particle Mechanics.  4(1).  119-130.
  • Hurley RC, Hall SA, Andrade JE, Wright J (2016).  Quantifying interparticle forces and heterogeneity in 3D granular materials.  Physical Review Letters.  117.  098005.
  • Hurley RC, Lim KW, Ravichandran G, Andrade JE (2016).  Dynamic inter-particle force inference in granular materials: Method and application.  Experimental Mechanics.  56(2).  217-229.
  • Hurley RC, Andrade JE (2015).  Strength of granular materials in transient and steady state rapid shear.  Procedia Engineering.  103.  237-245.
  • Booth AM, Hurley RC, Lamb MP, Andrade JE (2014).  Force chains as the link between particle and bulk friction angles in granular material.  Geophysical Research Letters.  41.  8862-8869.
  • Zhao X, Hurley RC, Sutton M, Fourney W, Leiste U, Deng X (2014).  Small scale models subjected to buried blast loading part II: frame accelerations with hulls and additional mitigation methods.  Experimental Mechanics.  54(5).  857-869.
  • Zhao Xing, Shultis G, Hurley RC, Sutton M, Fourney W, Leiste U, Deng X (2014).  Small scale models subjected to buried blast loading part I: floorboard acceleration and related passenger injury metrics with protective hulls.  Experimental Mechanics.  54(4).  539-555.
  • Hurley RC, Marteau E, Ravichandran G, Andrade JE (2014).  Extracting inter-particle forces in opaque granular materials: beyond photoelasticity.  Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids.  63.  154-166.
Book Chapters
  • Hurley RC, Lim KW, Andrade JE (2015).  Grain-Scale Measurements During Low Velocity Impact in Granular Media.  Rapid Penetration into Granular Media: Visualizing the Fundamental Physics of Rapid Earth Penetration.  Elsevier.  291-317.
  • Brodrick T, Hurley RC, Fourney WL (2014).  Mitigation of loading on personnel in light-armored vehicles using small model testing.  Blast Mitigation.  Springer, New York, NY.  249-277.
  • "Combining In-Situ X-ray Tomography and Diffraction to Study the Micromechanics of Granular Media and Concrete", Multi-Scale Materials Under the Nanoscope.  District of Columbia Washington, D.C., United States of America (the).  December 4, 2018
  • "X-ray Tomography and Diffraction for Granular Micromechanics", Hong Kong University Department Seminar.  Hong Kong, Hong Kong.  November 21, 2018
  • "Grain-Resolved Structure, Stress, and Force Measurements in Frictional 3D Granular Materials", Granular Matter Gordon Research Conference.  North Eastn Massachusetts, United States of America (the).  July 26, 2018
  • "Combining In-situ X-ray Imaging and Diffraction to Understand the Micromechanics and Failure Processes of Granular Materials", Indian Head Brown Bag Seminar.  Indian Head Maryland, United States of America (the).  January 1, 2018
  • "Studies of Micromechanics and Failure in Granular Materials Using X-ray CT and Diffraction", GM3: Geo-Mechanics: from Micro to Macro.  London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the).  December 18, 2017
  • "Investigating in situ failure in granular materials", Society of Engineering Science 2017 Meeting.  Boston Massachusetts, United States of America (the).  July 26, 2017
  • "Inter-particle force measurements in 3D, frictional, opaque granular materials", Powders & Grains.  Montpellier, France.  July 6, 2017
  • "Microstructure and Failure Analysis During Granular Compaction Using XRCT and 3DXRD", International Conference on Tomography in Materials and Structure.  Lund, Sweden.  June 30, 2017
  • "Understanding mechanics and stress transmission in granular solids by combining 3DXRD and XRCT.", CHESS Users' Meeting.  Ithaca New York, United States of America (the).  June 7, 2017
  • "Stress, Structure, and Force Measurements in 3D Granular Solids", APS March Meeting 2017.  New Orleans Louisiana, United States of America (the).  March 16, 2017
  • "Inter-particle force measurements in 3D, frictional, opaque granular materials", Gordon Research Conference on Granular Matter.  Easton Massachusetts, United States of America (the).  July 28, 2016
  • "Modeling wave propagation in jointed rock masses at various spatial resolutions", SEG/AGU Conference on Upper Crustal Rock Physics.  Hilo Hawaii, United States of America (the).  July 6, 2016
  • "Inter-particle force inference in opaque granular materials imaged using XRCT and 3DXRD", SIAM Conference on Mathematical Aspects of Materials Science.  Philadelphia Pennsylvania, United States of America (the).  May 5, 2016
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