University of California, Santa Barbara

Faculty Profile

Stephen McLean


Mechanical Engineering
Marine Science

Stephen McLean


Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106

tel: (805) 893-4573
fax: (805) 893-8651

Personal web site

Research Description

Thermal/Fluid Sciences and Environmental, Ocean, and Risk and Safety Engineering: sediment transport, bedform stability, boundary layer fluid mechanics, coastal processes.


Professor McLean's research interests lie primarily in the mechanics of transport of non-cohesive sediments such as sand in both fluvial and coastal contexts. His goal is to better predict the response of an erodable bed to natural (and sometimes man-made) forcing. His work is primarily process-oriented mostly at relatively small scales, sometimes looking at the dynamics of individual particles. One recent project has investigated how the turbulent fluctuations associated with flow separation over bed forms such as ripples and dunes affect sediment entrainment and movement and thereby affect the stabilty and evolution of the bottom features themselves. Another project has focused on the nature of transport in the sheet flow layer under high energy waves in the nearshore zone. Professor McLean received his PhD in Physical Oceanography from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1976 and came to UCSB in 1980 after working as a research scientist at the University of Kiel in Germany. He currently serves as the Vice-chairman and Graduate Advisor for the department. He is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Society of Civil Engineers and serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Hydralic Engineering, ASCE.
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