Geotechnical and Materials Engineering Research

Geotechnical and materials engineers are interrelated with other civil engineering disciplines such as structural engineering, construction engineering, and architectural engineering to plan, design, build, and maintain critical infrastructure systems such as bridges, buildings, roadways, rails, dams, foundations, retaining walls, slopes, and tunnels. Geotechnical engineering investigates various geomaterials (e.g., soils and rocks) and determines the most effective way to support the desired structure. Geotechnical engineers plan and design foundation systems and other structures such as dams, levees, tunnels, and landfills. Moreover, they mitigate the influences of naturally occurring phenomena such as floods, landslides, and earthquakes; and develop safe and environmentally sustainable sources of energy and minerals. Materials engineering involves the design and development of construction materials to meet specific properties and performance criteria. In addition to mechanical properties, durability, sustainability, and economical efficiency of materials are of importance and must be optimized.

Materials engineers select and design construction materials and mixtures such as cementitious materials and concrete mixes, asphaltic materials and mixtures, soils-aggregates with stabilization, fiber-reinforced composites, metals, woods, and polymeric materials (plastics). They also characterize properties of materials, monitor the quality of materials used for construction, develop materials specifications for better design, repair, and maintenance of key civil infrastructure systems.

The Geotechnical and Materials faculty in the UNL Department of Civil Engineering conduct research on both fundamental and applied aspects, and cover a wide variety of technical topics of research. Specific research areas of interests include:

  • Advanced/smart/multifunctional/engineered materials
  • Characterization of material properties and behavior
  • Constitutive modeling of damage-induced behavior and durability
  • Dynamics/Earthquake engineering
  • Earth retaining geotechnical system
  • Energy geotechnology
  • Foundations
  • Geoenvironmental engineering
  • Grouting and soil improvement
  • Highway and airfield pavement engineering
  • Mechanics and modeling of construction materials and geotechnical systems
  • Multi-physics and multi-scale mechanics and modeling
  • Nondestructive testing and evaluation
  • Rehabilitation/renewal of geotechnical and geoenvironmental systems
  • Sensors and field instrumentation/measurement
  • Slope, levee, dam analysis
  • Sustainable/resilient infrastructure