The Geotechnical Engineering program within CEE at Illinois has educated generations of experts in the use of natural material such as soil and rock in combination with engineered material such as concrete, steel and geosynthetics, in the design of dams, tunnels, on-shore and off-shore reclamation for airports, landfills, deep excavations, and foundations for structures of all kinds.
Learn More About the Geotechnical Engineering Program
Alumni of CEE's Geotechnical Engineering program have made significant contributions to major projects like subway systems in the nation’s largest cities, the Hoover Dam and the World Trade Center. Today, geotechnical engineering faculty members have expertise in earthquake engineering, soil mechanics behavior, foundation engineering, rock mechanics and tunneling, and advanced numerical modeling techniques.
Research interests of the Geotechnical Engineering faculty include:
- Deep excavations
- Earthquake engineering
- Numerical modeling
- Static and dynamic Soil-structure interaction.
- Engineering properties, construction problems, and ground modification technology in soft clays and silts, stiff clays and soft rocks, and granular materials
- Soil-structure interaction
- Reliability-based design
- Mechanically stabilized earth and earth support systems
- Ground improvement methods and their effect on structures
- Soil liquefaction during earthquakes
- The static and seismic stability of natural and excavated slopes
- Experimental geomechanics
- Rock-fluid interaction
- Fracturing of rock
- Geological CO2 storage
- Unsaturated soil mechanics
- Geothermal and geo-exchange systems
- Non-isothermal and multiphase flow
- Subsurface characterization
- Sustainability of geothermal systems
Areas of Study and Research
Construction engineers manage and direct construction operations. They analyze the labor, materials, and equipment for each job to determine the proper quantity of each and ensure availability at the appropriate time and place.
Civil engineers are often responsible for specifying, designing and manufacturing the materials with which they build their structures. Studies in construction materials are intended to make structural, transportation and foundation engineers aware of the fundamental properties of the materials they use.
The program in Energy-Water-Environment Sustainability (EWES) is a cross-cutting program focused on providing and supporting sustainable solutions for the exploration, production, delivery and use of energy, and their intersection with water and the natural and built environment. The program focuses on integrating scientific principles, engineered processes, and systems analyses to address diverse challenges related to society's growing energy needs and their nexus with water and the environment.
Environmental engineers help solve problems of air, land and water contamination. They design, construct and operate systems that purify water for drinking, industrial use and recreation. They develop and implement air-purification devices and protocols for solid and hazardous waste management.
The Societal Risk Management (SRHM) program is a cross-disciplinary program that focuses on the development of a secure and safe society. The program concentrates on risk determination, risk evaluation and risk management for natural and human-made hazards, and disaster response and recovery.
Structural engineers design economical structures that resist forces induced by wind, earthquakes, blasts and heavy traffic. The tools of the structural engineer include physical testing, mathematical modeling and computer simulation.
The interdisciplinary program Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Systems (SRIS) addresses emerging approaches to infrastructure systems focusing on resiliency and sustainability of inter-connected infrastructure, for example, structural, geotechnical, and water interactions in urban environments. The program aims to prepare new generations of civil engineers who are ready to address pressing societal issues while developing needed infrastructure.
Transportation engineers design, build, operate and maintain all types of facilities for railroads, automobiles, airplanes and ships. They deal with such problems as moving millions of people in and out of cities at rush hour and moving carloads of wheat from the fields of Kansas to the port of New Orleans.
Water resource engineers help solve complex water challenges, including providing society with safe and reliable water supplies, managing impacts of floods and drought, and enhancing environmental quality. They plan, design, manage and operate surface water and groundwater systems that are sustainable and adaptable to changing climate and human activity.