Burgerlijk werktuigkundig-elektrotechnisch ingenieur, doctor in de toegepaste wetenschappen, hoogleraar KU Leuven.
Engineering, hydraulica, sedimentologie, CFD (computational fluid dynamics); Europa (België, Frankrijk, Nederland, Noordzee, Baltische zee), Zuid-Amerika (Frans-Guyana, Suriname, Colombia), Afrika (Egypte, Kenia), Azië (Korea, China).

Erik Toorman obtained a MSc in Mechanical & Electrotechnical Engineering (Specialization Mechanical Engineering: Thermo-mechanics) from the Free University Brussels (VUB, 1987) and a PhD in Hydraulic Engineering from the KU Leuven in 1992 (with Flemish Science Foundation - FWO funding). With FWO postdoc funding he continued research at KULeuven in cohesive sediment mechanics and numerical modelling (CFD) of sediment transport as postdoc and has been appointed lecturer since 1998 (full-time since 2001). Currently, he is professor in theoretical and computational fluid and sediment mechanics, still at KU Leuven. He leads the Sediment Mechanics Research Group of the Hydraulics & Geotechnics Section of the Department of Civil Engineering.

In his research he aims at bridging the gap between fundamental physics of fluid-particle systems and engineering research with large-scale numerical modelling of hydro- and geomorphodynamics in estuaries and coastal areas. Since 2016 he also applies his expertise to the modelling of plastic litter dispersal in rivers and coastal areas.

His expertise in (cohesive) sediment mechanics is internationally recognized, being Steering Committee member of the International Conference on Cohesive Sediment Transport Processes ( and of the International Workshop on Two-phase Modelling for Sediment Dynamics (THESIS). In 2015 he was awarded with the J.J. Mehta Award, a career award for outstanding contributions to the physics of cohesive sediment transport.

His findings are implemented at KU Leuven in the widely used open-source CFD codes OpenFOAM and TELEMAC. His models and model improvements are applied to various estuaries and coastal areas spread around the world. Since 2005 he has been involved in capacity building in coastal engineering at the Anton de Kom University in Suriname, supported by VLIR-UOS between 2005 and 2018. He keeps advising local research on sustainable management of the unique mangrove coastline of the Guianas, o.a. as member of advisory committees of French PhD research in French Guiana.

Key publications

Arp, H. P. H., Kühnel, D., Rummel, C., MacLeod, M., Potthoff, A., Reichelt, S., Rojo-Nieto, E., Schmitt-Jansen, M., Sonnenberg, J., Toorman, E., & Jahnke, A. (2021). Weathering Plastics as a Planetary Boundary Threat : Exposure, Fate, and Hazards. Environmental Science & Technology, 55(11), 7246‑7255.

Toorman, E. A., Anthony, E., Augustinus, P. G. E. F., Gardel, A., Gratiot, N., Homenauth, O., Huybrechts, N., Monbaliu, J., Moseley, K., & Naipal, S. (2018). Interaction of Mangroves, Coastal Hydrodynamics, and Morphodynamics Along the Coastal Fringes of the Guianas. Coastal Research Library, 429‑473.

Adam, S., Monbaliu, J., & Toorman, E. (2012). Quantification of bio-physico-chemical properties of intertidal sediment at different spatial scales using remote sensing. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 33(17), 5347‑5365.

Monbaliu, J., Bi Q., Bouma T., Toorman E., van Belzen J.,  Willems P. (2015). Extreme Estuarine Water Levels and Channel Morphology, Effect on Flood Extents and Habitat Resilience: The Scheldt Estuary, Belgium and the Netherlands. Coastal Risk Management in a Changing Climate,  Ch.7.1, Elsevier, Amsterdam (NL), pp. 332-357.

Lee, B. J., Toorman, E., & Fettweis, M. (2014). Flocculation of fine-grained cohesive sediments developing multimodal particle size distributions: field investigation and mathematical modeling. Ocean Dynamics, 64(3), 429‑441.


Complete list of publications

A comprehensive list can be downloaded here