Research Focus: Geotechnical Engineering

GeotechnicalSubsurface Monitoring and Characterization
This research investigates the role of advanced sensors, wireless sensor networks (WSN) and Brillouin Optical Time Domain Reflectometry (BOTDR) technologies in understanding geo-media, underground structures, foundations, and their interactions. Use of WSN and BOTDR to detect and quantify spatial and temporal distribution of subsurface strains and liquid contents in geo-media is a particular focus of this area.

Geo-environmental Engineering
Electrochemical detoxification of contaminated clay soils using direct electric current to enhance beneficial redox reactions and mass transport is the emphasis of this research area.

Advanced Geo-materials and Methods for Ground Improvement
Work in this field of study focuses on the development of advanced ground improvement techniques for subsurface hazard mitigation (such as polymer-enhanced surface reactive soils as liquid barriers) to gain a greater understanding of their behaviors and interactions with surrounding soil. Also under way are studies that investigate the use, benefits, and applications of sustainability of recycled civil engineering materials.

Soil-Structure Interaction and Probability-Based Design
Current research in this area employs large-scale and full-scale testing and numerical simulation to characterize the behavior of deep foundations, retaining structures, and underground structures. Additional study focuses on developing and using Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) for geotechnical applications.

Civil engineering applications of geothermal energy and electrically enhanced oil extraction from tight geological formations are the research targets of this field of study.

Faculty Engaged in Geotechnical Research


Sibel Pamukcu, Ph.D., Louisiana State University, 1986, Professor. Research interests include soil mechanics and foundation engineering; geo-environmental engineering; electrochemical technologies for soil decontamination; value-added use of waste materials in earthen construction; and development and application of wireless and fiber-optic based-sensors for subsurface measurements.


Arup K. SenGupta, Ph.D., University of Houston, 1984, P. C. Rossin Senior Professor. Research interests include ion exchange; adsorption and membrane processes; environmental separation; toxic metal sensing; efficient desalination and water reuse; and sustainable arsenic and fluoride technology in developing countries.


Muhannad Suleiman, Ph.D., Iowa State University, 2002, Assistant Professor. Research interests include soil-structure interaction; foundation engineering; underground structures; ground improvement; advanced sensors and instrumentation; pervious concrete; and sustainable geotechnical and foundation systems.

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