Geotechnical Engineering

Geotechnical Engineering Faculty

Portrait Image

Ross Boulanger

Position Title
  • Emeritus
  • Distinguished Professor & Director of the Center for Geotechnical Modeling

Addressing Emerging Issues in Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering, Geomechanics and Soil Remediation

The Geotechnical Engineering Group in the UC Davis CEE Department exists to generate new  knowledge,  advance  geotechnical  engineering  practice,  and  equip  the  workforce through  industry,  international,  and  interdisciplinary  research  and  teaching.  The faculty members of our group perform research driven by science-based inquiry to develop robust, practical methods and technologies for geotechnical practice. Our  topics  of  interest  span  across  multiple  scales,  ranging  from  the  micro-scale  of  soil particles  up  to  the  interaction  of  soils  with  geographically  distributed  infrastructure. 

By employing  a multitude  of  experimental (lab,  centrifuge, and field  testing)  and numerical tools (Discrete Element Modeling, Finite Element, and Finite Difference Modeling), and integrating them with geologic studies as well as case history analyses, we seek to expand our  understanding  of  interactions  at  all  scales  and  develop  methods  for  assessing  and managing risks associated with natural hazards, including earthquake engineering. Products  of  our  work  include  the  development  of  characterization  tools  for  challenging soils  and  of  advanced  constitutive  models  for  soils,  the  development  of  numerical simulation  platforms,  the  design  of  site  investigation  programs  to  minimize  uncertainty, advancement  of  bio-mediated  technologies,  discovery  of  bio-inspired  solutions,  and incorporation of sustainability metrics in research and practice.

Last but not least, our group is the home of three national research centers: the Center for Biomediated and Bioinspired Geotechnics (CBBG), the Center for Geotechnical Modeling (CGM), and the UC Pavement Research Center (UCPRC). CBBG applies biogeotechnical techniques  to  create  sustainable,  resilient,  and  environmentally  compatible  solutions  for construction, repair, and rehabilitation of civil infrastructure systems. CGM provides users access  to  world-class  geotechnical  modeling  facilities,  including  9-m  and  1-m  radius centrifuges  with  shaking  tables,  to  enable  major  advances  in  the  ability  to  predict  and improve the performance of soil and soil-structure systems affected by earthquake, wave, wind  and  storm  surge  loadings.  UCPRC  produces  advancements  in  roadway  system technology,   management   of   distributed   roadway   systems,   and   incorporation   of sustainability into technology and system management.