Towards a Better Environment!

Welcome to the Sustainable Geotechnics Research Group at Virginia Tech, Hokies Home!


The overall goal of all research efforts conducted by the Sustainable Geotechnics group, led by Professor Sherif Abdelaziz, is to increase the sustainability and resiliency of our infrastructure and, explicitly, geo-structures. Providing this goal, our research group focuses, equally, on basic and fundamental research topics as well as applied research aspects, as described below.

Basic and Fundamental Research:  We focus on identifying factors that control the multiscale behavior of earth surface materials under different environmental conditions.  Towards achieving this aim, we utilize a hybrid multi-scale testing/modeling approach within which we characterize changes in the soil fabric and the respective macroscale response of soils when subjected to different coupled phenomena, such as thermo-hydro-mechanical phenomena. We further focus on improving problematic soils, temporarily or permanently, utilizing bio-inspired techniques. 

Applied Research:  We focus on understanding the behavior of thermo-active geo-structures with the explicit focus on heat exchange piles, also known as “Energy piles.”  Of particular interest to our group is the effect of the continuously varying thermal loads on the thermal and thermo-hydro-mechanical behaviors of thermo-active geo-structures.  Moreover, our group focus on surface and internal erosion mitigation of earthen dams and levees.




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