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From Traditional Geotech to Future Infrastructure and Energy Innovation
ME-EM Graduate Seminar Speaker Series
Dr. Zhen Liu
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Michigan Technological University
Abstract: Another leap forward in geotechnical engineering and theories of porous materials is now possible attributed to emerging research needs in climate change, sustainability, extreme hazards and energy. This presentation will introduce a series of concepts, ideas, and applications that are proposed and attempted in Dr. Liu’s Research Group to further the state of the practice in geotechnical engineering, numerical simulation, and poromechanics from three perspectives: more multidisciplinary, more focused and more intelligent. For multidisciplinary efforts, Dr. Liu will introduce his work in multiphysics in porous materials. This work spans over applications from the sustainability of infrastructure and construction materials and future fossil energy resources to renewable energy innovations such as geothermal energy from large-scale subterranean water bodies. For being more focused, Dr. Liu will share the recent breakthroughs that his team made for addressing key scientific issues preventing the further development of porous material theories by focusing on atomic- and lower scales. Pore liquid movement due to temperature gradients, stress formulation, phase change of pore water, reinterpretation of suction and soil water characteristic curves, and understanding and innovation of triboelectrification will be discussed using molecular dynamics simulation and multiscale methods. The goal of more intelligent will be achieved with Dr. Liu’s recent attempts at introducing deep learning and other machine learning algorithms to geo-systems. These attempts, including deep learning for slope stability, autonomous control for 100-year geothermal application, and electrokinetics-based self-learning lightning hazards mitigation system, will be presented.
Bio: Dr. Liu earned his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, with an emphasis in Geotechnical Engineering, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2012. He continued working at Case as a research associate before joining the department. His teaching interests include soil mechanics, foundation engineering, numerical simulations, and other topics in classical mechanics. His research interests are integrated as the multiphysics simulation and innovative characterization in porous materials. The scope covers the numerical simulation and experimental measurement of multiphysical phenomena such as freezing, hydration, and dissociation and covers porous materials such as soils, cement-base materials, gas hydrates, and biomaterials. His research has many direct applications in infrastructure sustainability, energy resources, environment protection, and advanced materials. Dr. Liu is currently serving as an active member on the ASCE task committee (Engineering Geology) and TRB standing committees (Physicochemical and Biological Processes, Climatic Effects, Unsaturated Soils).
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