Geotechnical Engineering & Geomechanics

Multi-scale geomaterial behavior under coupled processes across various time scales for applications in geological storage and energy geotechnics

Dr. Cheng Zhu

Principal Investigator

Featured Project

Noninvasive 3D imaging and characterization of permafrost

The overall goal of this study is to perform the background research, development, and testing needed to achieve a noninvasive, three-dimensional, and rapid imaging and characterization system that provides permafrost soil profiles and assessment of soil properties.

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Recent Research Projects

One strategy to mitigate and reduce the impacts of seasonal freeze-thaw on pavements constructed in cold regions is the use of pavement insulation layers. Insulated pavements are pavements that include insulation layers placed with the goal of protecting frost-susceptible unbound pavement layers from the impacts of water freezing and thawing cycles. In general, an insulation pavement layer helps in controlling the heat transfer between the air surrounding the pavement (ambient temperatures) and the pavement layers underneath. This ability to reduce heat transfer results in delaying the freezing and thawing of water within the unbound pavement layers. The goal of the insulated pavements project is to identify cost-effective, light-weight, readily available, and easily installable/constructible materials for insulating pavements. This study also aims at developing an insulated pavement design methodology based on the concept of balancing the thermal and mechanical benefits of the developed insulation materials. The research team at CREATEs will custom build large pavement structures (4 ft. by 4 ft. by 2 ft. high) and monitor the impact of using different insulation layers on temperature variation within the pavement structure.

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Enriching the learning experience for students through examples is of significant importance to active learning in geotechnical engineering courses. To avoid overusing examples from textbooks and expose students to a broader range of knowledge, the proposed project created a library of novel examples for common topics in geotechnical engineering based on inspirations from engineering, science, history, global issues and art.

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