Researcher biography


Christopher Leonardi is an Associate Professor within the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering and an Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellow (Mid-Career). Dr Leonardi completed his PhD in computational mechanics at The University of Wales, Swansea, and his BE(Hons) in mechanical engineering at James Cook University, where he graduated with First Class Honours and a University Medal. Christopher's PhD thesis resulted in the development of a computational approach to modelling complex fluid-particle suspensions and demonstrated its application in the context of underground mining. Prior to joining UQ, Christopher spent three years as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he worked on computational modelling of fluid-solid interaction problems in the context of oil and gas production.

Dr Leonardi has published more than 40 scientific papers in international journals, 30 conference papers (most in collaboration with industry partners), and one book chapter. He has graduated four PhD students as principal advisor and a further three as associate advisor. In addition to his academic pursuits, Christopher spent five years working as an engineering consultant with Rockfield Technologies Australia, where he applied advanced computational analysis tools to problems in bulk materials handling, structural design, and geomechanics.


Associate Professor Leonardi's research is focused on the development and application of computational models of complex fluid-solid interactions, including suspension transport, porous media flow, multiphase flows, and poromechanics. The outputs of his work are applied to provide insight into the complex characteristics of subsurface fluid and solid mechanics in gas production from unconventional reservoirs (e.g. coal seams) and mineral extraction from challenging orebodies. Current and recent projects include studies on hydraulic fracturing and proppant transport in coal seam gas (CSG) reservoirs, surface movement within and adjacent to CSG tenements, counter-current two-phase flow in CSG wells, in situ recovery of minerals from low-permeability rocks, and bubble-particle interaction in hydrogen formation via methane pyrolysis.

Christopher and his group of postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate students possess expertise in a range of computational techniques, including the lattice Boltzmann, discrete element, finite element, and finite difference methods. His team collaborates closely with national computing facilities, such as Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, to development, implement, and apply these techniques to large-scale engineering problems.

Teaching and Learning:

Associate Professor Leonardi is Director of Teaching and Learning in the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering where he coordinates and lectures the course, MECH3780 Computational Mechanics, and lectures the first-year course, ENGG1001 Programming for Engineers. Christopher was awarded a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education from UQ in 2015 and received Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning from the Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT) in 2019 and UQ in 2018.