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Geotechnical

Geotechnical research covers a broad base from cutting-edge basic research to applied research focusing more on infrastructural problems, both locally and regionally. Fundamental research covers soil mechanics, analytical and physical modeling of saturated and unsaturated soil behavior, multi-phase flow in soil, mechanical behavior of granular soil, soil-structure interaction, physico-chemical soil behavior of clayey soil, soil testing techniques, dynamic soil properties, wave-based characterization of geomaterials, innovative geomaterials development, risk and reliability modeling of geotechnical performance. The research has benefited from the use of the state-of-the-art Geotechnical Centrifuge at HKUST, which is a unique facility in Hong Kong. The research results form a strong basis for developing solutions to tackle construction problems specific to infrastructure development in Hong Kong and the region. The coverage includes slope stability, retaining structures, excavations, tunnels, bridge abutments, pile foundations, reclamation and performance of these geotechnical systems during earthquakes.

FACUTLY
Prof. Charles W.W.NG: slope stability, soil-structure interaction ,unsaturated soil mechanics, centrifuge modeling, field monitoring

Prof. X.S. LI: constitutive modeling, mechanical behavior of granular soil, geotechnical earthquake engineering, soil testing techniques

Prof. L.M. ZHANG: pile foundation, quality assurance, slope stability, geotechnical hazards,reliability based design codes

Prof. Y.H. WANG: wave-based characterization of geomaterials, dynamic property, micro-sensors, physico-chemical soil behavior, attenuation mechanisms and measurements

REPRESENTATIVE RESEARCH PROJECTS
A new failure load criterion for large-diameter bored piles in weathered geomaterials was developed and is being considered for incorporation in the HK Foundation Code of Practice.
The current criterion used for the installation of driven and jack piles in Hong Kong was found to be inadequate for long piles. An improved termination criterion, based on the wave equation method, has been proposed which will enhance the safety of public housing developments and reduce the piling costs.
In a collaborative project , a new design document for the use of soil nails in loose fill slopes in Hong Kong was produced and has now been adopted in Hong Kong.
By utilizing GEO's extensive performance record of cut slopes and rainfall measurements in Hong Kong, a realistic model was developed to describe the aging effect on slope reliability resulting from deterioration in the local environment.
Development of a computer program SUMDES, which is widely used for analysis of the earthquake response of liquefiable as well as non-liquefiable sites.
In soil testing, an automated triaxial system has been developed and is now used by 70 major universities and consulting firms (mainly in the US and Asia). Advances have also been made in the analytical modeling of the mechanical behavior of granular soils.
Innovative wave-based techniques (using both mechanical and electromagnetic waves) have been developed to characterize the particulate-scale soil behavior and monitor geoprocesses in a non-destructive way. The understanding of soil responses to wave perturbations has been used to enhance the interpretations of the in-situ geophysical testing results.
Geo-hazards in natural terrains caused by fluctuations in man-made reservoir water levels and rainfall infiltration are being studied. Results will help to identify failure mechanisms of large-scale gravel soil slopes affected by reservoirs.
A new material, rubbersoil, made from finely shredded pieces of rubber cut from discarded tires mixed with concrete, has been developed as a lightweight, porous, durable, environmentally friendly and versatile construction material.