Students in lab.

Geotechnical and Materials Engineering Research

Geotechnical, materials and pavement research is conducted in laboratories, at field locations, and also at the Larson Institute (The Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute), which includes a one-mile closed-loop test track. Laboratory facilities include Civil Infrastructure Testing and Evaluation Laboratory (CITEL) and the Materials Research Institute (MRI). Two affiliated research centers are the Northeast Center for Excellence in Pavement Technology (NECEPT) and the Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies.


Radlinska, A. (Principal Investigator), Warn, G. P. (Co-Principal Investigator), "Mechanical Testing of Prestressed Concrete Railroad Ties," RJLee Group. Total awarded: $64,837. (January 2016 - December 2017).

Duarte, J. (Principal Investigator), Nazarian, S. (Co-Principal Investigator), Memari, A. M. (Co-Principal Investigator), Baird, T. (Co-Principal Investigator), Pantano, C. G. (Co-Principal Investigator), Radlinska, A. (Co-Principal Investigator), Simpson, T. W. (Co-Principal Investigator), Tucker, C. S. (Co-Principal Investigator), Craveiro, F. (Co-Principal Investigator), "From Functionally Gradient Materials to Seamless Architecture Source of Support," The Raymond A. Bowers Program for Excellence in Design and Construction of the Built Environment. Total awarded: $50,000. (2016 - Present).

Shokouhi, P. (Principal Investigator), Lissenden, C. J. (Co-Principal Investigator), “Engineering a giant meta-material: A band-stop seismic/blast filter to shield critical civil infrastructures,” Penn State College of Engineering. Total awarded: $50,000 (no overhead). (January 2017 – January 2018).

Shokouhi, P. (Principal Investigator), Marone, C. (Co-Principal Investigator), Elsworth, D. (Co-Principal Investigator), Riviere, J. (Co-Principal Investigator), Johnson, P. A. (Co-Principal Investigator), “Coupled assessment of seismic, hydraulic, and frictional properties of fractured rock to illuminate fundamental processes governing energy production and waste storage,” Office of Basic Energy Science of U.S. Department of Energy. Total project budget: $685,744. (July 2017 – July 2020).

Lissenden, C. J. (Principal Investigator), Shokouhi, P. (Co-Principal Investigator), “Volumetric (non-visual) non-destructive examination technology development for Hanford under-tank inspection,” Washington River Protection Solutions. Total project budget: $30,968. (June 2017 – September  2017). 

Shokouhi, P. (Supervising Faculty), "REU – Can meta-soil attenuate seismic waves?," Penn State College of Engineering CERI Program. Total awarded: $5,000. (August 2017 - December 2017). 

Xiao, M. (Principal Investigator), Liu, S. (Co-Principal Investigator), Rostami, J. (Co-Principal Investigator). “Field Investigation and Stability Analysis of Coal Slurry Impoundments.” Office of Surface Mining Reclamation & Enforcement (OSM), Department of Interior. Total federal funding: $200,000; industrial and university match funding: $99,110. Total project funding: $299,110. (October 2016 – September 2018). 

Liu, S. (Principal Investigator), Xiao, M. (Co-Principal Investigator), Elsworth, D. (Co-Principal Investigator). “Characterization and Modeling of Multimechanistic Flow Behaviors from Nano- to Macro-scale in Shale Matrix.” NSF CBET Fluid Dynamics program, Total awarded: $330,000. (July 2014 – June 2018). 

Huang, H., (Principal Investigator), Xiao, M. (Co-Principal Investigator), Tutumluer, E. (Co-Principal Investigator). “Development of Ballast Real Time Information System (BRIS) Based on ‘SmartRock’.” TRB Rail Safety IDEA program. Total awarded: $100,000. (January 2017 – December 2017). 

Xiao, M. (Principal Investigator), Qiu, T. (Co-Principal Investigator), "Service Limit State Design and Analysis of Engineered Fills for Bridge Support," Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Total awarded: $249,782. (April 2014 – October 2017).

Xiao, M.PI of NSF grant “Convergence NNA: Coordinate a Transdisciplinary Research Network to Identify Challenges of and Solutions to Permafrost Coastal Erosion and Its Socioecological Impacts in the Arctic.” Funded by NSF Arctic System Science program, 01/01/2018 to 12/31/2021, total funding $500,000. Co-PIs: Vladimir Romanovsky, Kathleen Halvorsen, Guangqing Chi, Benjamin Jones.

Qiu, T. (Principal Investigator), "CAREER: Experimental, Numerical, and Case Studies of Landslide Mobility," NSF. Total awarded: $500,000. (July 2015 - June 2020).

Qiu, T. (Principal Investigator), “Nasatka: Penn State Crash Test”, Nasatka Barriers, Inc. Total awarded: $20,508. (July 2017 – October 2017).

Qiu, T. (Principal Investigator), Klinkowski, D. (Co-Principal Investigator), “Airbag Deployment Study”, PA State Police. Total awarded: $17,339. (September 2017 – November 2017).

Liu, X.F. (Principal Investigator), Qiu, T. (Co-Principal Investigator), “Three-dimensional computational modeling of turbulent flow field, bed morphodynamics and liquefaction adjacent to munitions,” U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Total awarded: $354,379. (July 2017 – July 2020).

Warn, G.P. (Principal Investigator), Simpson, T.W. (Co-Principal Investigator), Lulo, L.D. (Co-Principal Investigator), Memari, A.M. (Senior Personnel), Qiu, T. (Senior Personnel), "RSB/Collaborative Research: A Sequential Decision Framework to Support Trade Space Exploration of Multi-Hazard Resilient and Sustainable Building Designs," NSF. Total awarded: $849,189. (March 2015 - February 2018).

Rajabipour, F. (Principal Investigator) “CAREER: Reaction Mechanisms, Performance Assessment, and Novel Mitigation Tools for Alkali-Silica Reaction in Concrete Structures,” NSF. Total awarded: $435,000. (August 2013 – July 2018).

Rajabipour, F. (Principal Investigator) “Research to Promote the Management and Beneficial Use of Coal Combustion Products (CCPs),” Pennsylvania Coal Ash Research Group (PCARG), Total awarded: $15,000. (October 2016 - September 2017).

Rajabipour, F. (Principal Investigator) “Evaluating the Performance and Feasibility of Using Recovered Fly Ash and Fluidized Bed Combustion (FBC) Fly Ash as Concrete Pozzolan,” American Concrete Institute (ACI) and Pennsylvania Coal Ash Research Group (PCARG), Total awarded: $75,000 (July 2017 - December 2018).

Fox, P. J. (Principal Investigator) “Collaborative Research:  Experimental and Computational Investigation of Multiphase Consolidation for Partially Saturated Soils,” National Science Foundation, Total awarded:  $199,618.  (September 2016 – August 2017).

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The Penn State Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, established in 1881, is internationally recognized for excellence in the preparation of undergraduate and graduate engineers through the integration of education, research, and leadership.

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

212 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-1408

Phone: 814-863-3084