Obituary for Professor Stavros Bandis (1951 – 2016)

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Published 01 December 2016
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Obituary for Professor Stavros Bandis (1951 – 2016)

On 11 January 2016 the international engineering community lost Professor Stavros Bandis, a recognised expert in Rock Mechanics. Stavros passed away while at work, in his office at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, from a sudden heart failure.

Stavros Bandis completed his Ph.D. at the University of Leeds in 1980 with Professor Dearman. His thesis ‘Experimental studies of scale effects on shear strength, and Deformation of Rock Joints’, was awarded the 5th Rocha Medal by the ISRM in 1983, a highly deserved award for those in rock mechanics who valued an alternative to Mohr-Coulomb for describing rock joints, as Dr. Nick Barton notes. Through this work, Stavros Bandis set the scene for the development of the Barton-Bandis joint behaviour criterion.

Stavros Bandis continued his post-doctoral research in the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) between the years 1981 and 1985. For his post –doctorate research he received a scholarship by the Royal Norwegian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (NTNF). His work at NGI included co-developing with Dr Nick Barton constitutive laws for modelling the engineering behaviour of rock discontinuities, known as the Barton-Bandis model, which has been adopted internationally. The recommended scale-effects for JRC and JCS, which are block-size dependent, were derived from his and Nick Barton’s physical model and jointed rock experiments. Bandis alone was responsible for the hyperbolic normal closure and stiffness behaviour.

Since then, he was recognised as a world leader on the characterisation of discontinuities, discontinuous rock masses and in the field of Numerical Modelling of Discrete Materials in Geotechnical Engineering. The “Barton – Bandis model of engineering properties of joints” is widely used in international software for modelling rock mass discontinuous behaviour (UDEC-BB and FLAC by Itasca Inc, Swedge, UNWEDGE etc. by RocScience Inc. etc.).

Stavros had a long academic career as a Professor in the Department of Engineering Geology of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He started his academic career as a Lecturer in 1986 and was promoted to Professor in 1996 in the same department. His contribution in the University included the reorganisation and continuous development of the laboratory of Engineering Geology and the introduction and establishment of Engineering and Environmental Geology and Rock Mechanics courses for Civil Engineers. His contribution in the development of the Postgraduate Program of Protection, Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Monuments in Greece is recognised by the Aristotle University. He also served as Head of the Department of Geotechnical Engineering in the same University.

His friend and colleague John Sharp has written for him: “Stavros Bandis had an uncanny wish to achieve reality when characterizing and then modelling rock mass and rock excavation behaviour with UDEC-BB or 3DEC. His modelling work was outstanding and has probably not been matched due to his constant attention to detail. His loss as a world leader in his field with such an enormous insight and depth of knowledge is unaccountable. He spoke to everyone as an equal, with interest and humour, always making a substantial and yet understated impression. A selection of his many contributions will be included in our joint book-project, which has been progressing for the last four years, during chapter-by-chapter sessions, mostly undertaken in a deserted village high in the Greek mountains, cut off from the internet.”

Stavros was an internationally recognised expert in his field, and was often a panelist and keynote lecturer at international conferences and a member of several scientific advisory boards. He combined in an exceptional way the roles of academic researcher and geotechnical engineer of practice, providing his expertise and advice in a number of civil engineering projects internationally.

Above all, Stavros was a great Professor, Teacher and an inspiration for many students. Sadly Stavros is no longer with us but his legacy will remain among the scientific community, his team, students, colleagues, friends and family.

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ISSN 0111-6851