Infrastructure geotechnics

Sustainable Geotechnical Engineering

The core value of sustainable geotechnical engineering is developing countermeasures against recent environmental hazards and threats such as greenhouse gas emission, global climate change, waste disposal, environment abuse and soil degradation, through multi-disciplinary convergences based on geotechnical engineering aspects. State-of-the-art research from laboratory scale verification to in-situ practical implementation are actively performed by Sustainable Geotechnical Engineering studies at UNSW Canberra. For fundamental research, new and advanced materials are developed to be used in sustainable geotechnical engineering practices including microbes, biopolymers, recycled materials, low carbon composites, but not restricted. Moreover, the research group is developing innovative numerical methods for predicting the long-term performance of such structures constructed on soft soils to ensure sustainability. This research includes the development of numerical models for the viscoplastic behavior of soft clays and the capturing of vacuum assisted consolidation in deep clay deposits. Another area of research is the investigation of flooding effects on road pavements and developing methods for mitigating them. The group also investigates technologies to optimize the usage of landfill site for waste disposal and after closure rehabilitation, to solve challenging engineering issues (e.g. road, tunnel and building structure) related to structures on problematic ground conditions, such as soft, and expansive soils. 

Biopolymer-clay matrix on soil strengthening (Chang and Cho 2018)

Biopolymer-clay matrix on soil strengthening
(Chang and Cho 2018)

Biopolymer-soil technology application for levee construction and erosion prevention

Biopolymer-soil technology application for levee construction and erosion prevention (Courtesy of Dr. Ilhan Chang, UNSW Canberra)

Large scale model testing to study the flooding effects on pavements

Large scale model testing to study the flooding effects on pavements

Modern landfill site for waste disposal

Modern landfill site for waste disposal


Main Research Infra

  • State-of-the-art laboratory facilities: Static and Cyclic triaxial test apparatus, Large-scale laboratory hydraulic flume, Bio-soil cultivation system, Microfluid chip simulation system, Jet-hole erosion apparatus, (Automatic) consolidation and direct-shear testers, Large-scale laboratory soil chambers, Rowe cell, in-house built bio-reactors, unsaturated triaxial cell, universal cyclic loading system up to 1000 kN capacity, environmental chamber
  • Numerical tools: ABAQUS, ANSYS, FLAC 2D, FLAC3D, AFENA, Plaxis 2D, Plaxis 3D, EDEM


Academic Staff

Dr Carthigesu T. (Rajah) Gnanendran

Dr. Jianfeng Xue

Dr. Ilhan Chang


Recent PhD completions (2015-2017):

Mathanraj Theivakularatnam – Thesis title: Durability Assessment and Permanent Deformation Characterisation of Lightly Stabilised Granular Base Materials

Jun Yan - Thesis Title: Experimental study and Constitutive Modelling on Liquefaction behaviour of Pond Ash

Md. Jahid Alam – Thesis title: Behaviour of a footing on sloped sandy fill under cyclic loading conditions


Current postgraduate students:

Poorna Kumarage – Research topic: Development of a numerical model for predicting embankment deformations and ground improvements by Vacuum assisted Prefabricated Vertical Drains (V-PVD) using creep based viscoplasticity

Yuekai Xie – Research topic: Settlement Behavior of Landfill Waste

Zhiyong Liu – Research topic: Settlement of tunnels in soft soil due to metro traffic loading

Bo Liu – Effect of construction sequence and structure stiffness on differential settlement of high-rise buildings

Sojeong Lee – Research topic: Inter-particle bonding characteristics of gel-type biopolymer treated coarse soil and its application to ground improvement  

Umesh Kaini - Research topic: Flooding effects on granular pavements of the influence of light cementitious stabilisation


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