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We are working on cutting-edge research that focuses on geomechanics, geotechnical engineering, and underground infrastructure. We study the fundamental behavior of geomaterials (rock and soil) and cementitious materials in response to varying loading (static and dynamic) conditions and to changes in stress, pressure, and temperature; with applications to surface and subsurface infrastructure.


Additionally, we are researching geomaterial-fluid interactions due to thermo-hydro-chemo-mechanical processes with applications to infrastructure, energy, and sustainability. Based on laboratory tests, our group further develops numerical models to identify geotechnical-related risks triggered by natural or man-made causes, ultimately elucidating these processes' impact at the field scale. 

Lab Capabilities

A.) Geomaterial-fluid Interactions (Core flooding) System under in-situ environmental and stress conditions:

The system is made up of Volume-Pressure-Actuator (VPA) Dual Syringe Pump to push liquids (up to 14 ml) and/or gases into the core specimen placed inside a Hassler-type core holder (up to 10,000 psi) at high pressure (up to 15,000 psi), high temperature (up to 150 °C), and constant ultra-precise flow rate (between 0.0001 ml/m – 70 ml/min).

B.)  Grout & Slurry Injection System: 

Grout and slurry injection into rock fractures and joints of rocks and composite materials. Slurry injection and application system (1,000-10,000 psi), with varying types of injection pump packers (ratio mix 1:1. 2:1. 3:1. 4:1, 5:1) and nozzles at injection rates ranging between 0.5-2 L/min.

C.) Rock Mechanical Testing System and Characterization:

1. Servo-controlled rock testing system under varying static and dynamic loading conditions having a 500 kN (110 kips) capacity load frame and 100-mm (4 inch) strokes with Electromechanical Pressure Intensifier and Hoek triaxial cell for 1.5 inch (38.1 mm) and 1.0 inch (25.4 mm) diameter core specimens:

         • Uniaxial compression test

         • Triaxial compression test

         • Indirect tensile test (Brazilian test)

         • Stress-path tests


2. KLA iNano® Nanoindenter:

        • Continuous nanoscale uniaxial compressive strength and stiffness measurements

        • Scratch test

        • 3D nanomechanical mapping


D.) Soil Mechanical Testing System and Characterization:

1. Fully-automated integrated testing system for soil and cementitious materials with 45 kN (10 klbf) capacity load frame:

        • Triaxial & uniaxial compression tests

        • Stress path tests

        • Unconsolidated undrained (UU), consolidated undrained (CU), consolidated drained (CD)

        • Stress path tests

        • Permeability test

        • Soil thermal conductivity

2. Specific gravity and water-retention capacity measurements

3. Tests for Atterberg Limits, plasticity index, and adsorptive water content

4. Standard Proctor compaction tests


E.) Numerical modeling

Experimental & Computational Geomechanics:
Rock Mechanics & Soil Mechanics

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We are passionate about the use of experimental and computational/numerical methods to better predict and understand how rocks, soil, and consolidated materials deform or fail.

We are currently developing new technologies to study the thermal conductivity of soils.

We are also interested in the multiscale fracturing behavior of geomaterials, by investigating their interaction with fluids in underground systems, and how the results could be upscaled to field-scale applications.

Reinforcements & Grouting of Fractured Rocks 


Some of the problems our research is tackling are rock grouting with cementitious materials, the use of bentonite as a barrier/seal in underground repositories,  and the use of cementitious materials to seal near-wellbore leakages. We are currently investigating the fundamental interaction between rocks and cementitious/barrier materials and their geomechanical responses.

    Carbon Sequestration (CO2 Storage)


Geologic CO2 sequestration is an efficient carbon-reduction technology to combat greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate their impact on climate change by storing atmospheric CO2 in geologic formations. Geomechanics is critical to the success of CO2 sequestration in geologic formations. Some of the problems our research is tackling are the characterization of storage, changes in in-situ pressure and temperature due to CO2 injection, the integrity of overlying caprock, etc.


Also, we are developing novel CO2 sequestration numerical models and CO2-utilization technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change. 

Biogeomechanics and Bio-Inspired Geotechnics

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Here we study “biogeomechanics”, an intersection between biotechnology and rock mechanics, which has yielded new insights into the mechanical responses of rocks due to biogeochemical reactions.


Our research couples experimental methods and numerical modeling to investigate rock-microbial interactions, and their various engineering applications.

Geotechnical-related Hazard Analysis & Mitigation 

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We aim to improve the knowledge of how surface and subsurface geo-structures may be susceptible to failure, in addition to issues related to rockfall hazards, slope stability, underground excavation, wellbore instability, wellbore sand production, stability of underground openings in rocks, etc. We are interested in addressing all surface and near-surface failures related to civil infrastructure.

Surface and subsurface mechanical and integrity-compromising features can lead to induced slope failure and rockfall hazards, detrimental fluid flow into the borehole/wellbore, leakage of stored fluids in subsurface systems, cand other geo-hazards. We also investigate the risks associated with mechanical integrity in geological and environmental systems to improve sustainability. 

Geo-Energy Systems


The world is presently in need of diverse and sustainable energy sources and solutions that can help mitigate climate change and protect the environment and the earth. Geothermal energy is one of the viable low-carbon energy solutions that have emerged in recent years.

Here, we are advancing “geothermo-mechanics”, which investigates the coupled hydro-geothermo-mechanical geo-systems and their complex behavior due to hydrothermal alterations. 

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