Associate Professor, Structural Engineering
Hydro-thermo-mechanical coupled processes in rocks; dense fluid-particulate systems micromechanics and rheology; rock mechanics; hydraulic fracturing and proppant flow and transport in geothermal reservoirs; induced seismicity and CO2 sequestration.
Tomac’s research focuses on exploring and building civil engineering infrastructure to support renewable and sustainable energy resources. She uses micromechanics, micro-scale imaging videography, fundamental theories, and numerical simulations involving coupling between the Discrete Element Method and Computational Fluid Dynamics (DEM-CFD) to better understand coupled processes in geomechanics at the relevant constituent scale. Her research interests revolve around soil and rock mechanics, hydraulic fracturing, geo-reservoirs and carbon dioxide sequestration. Prior to entering academia, Tomac worked for 10 years in geotechnical practice designing and overseeing the construction of deep excavations in urban areas.
Tomac joined UC San Diego after earning a Ph.D. in civil engineering at the Colorado School of Mines in 2014. She earned her master's in geotechnical engineering and her engineering Diploma degree in structural engineering at the University of Zagreb in 2007 and 2000, respectively. She is serving as a Vice Chair of the ASCE-GeoInstitute committee on Rock Mechanics, is ARMA Future Leader and is active on the ISSMGE committees TC105 From Micro to Macro and TC308 Energy Geotechnics and ASTM committee on Soils and Rocks (D.18.12). She is an Associate Editor for ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering (JGGE) and is on the editorial boards of ASTM Geotechnical Testing Journal (GTJ) and ASTM Journal of Testing and Evaluation (JTE). Tomac teaches an undergraduate/graduate course on Foundation Engineering (SE182/242), as well as graduate courses on Rock Mechanics (SE249), Stability of Earth Slopes and Retaining Walls (SE250) and Advanced Soil Mechanics (SE241).