About Professor Abbas El-Zein

The goal of research of this nature is to develop better theory that account for the behaviour of soils and groundwater under environmental stress, as well as better understanding of human-environment interactions and, consequently, better engineering design and environmental policy-making.

My research falls in the area of geomechanics and geoenvironmental science and engineering. It covers both theoretical and applied topics using experimental and numerical approaches, with focus on computational and experimental geomechanics, as well as environmental risk. I am currently working on the mathematical modelling of problems of seepage and contaminant migration in soil and groundwater, desiccation of geosynthetic clay liners in barrier systems against contamination, unsaturated soil hydromechanics, carbon dioxide dynamics in geologic strata and vulnerability to urban flooding. I run the Geo-Environmental Laboratory (GEL) at the School of Civil Engineering of the University of Sydney, which includes state-of-the-art instruments for characterising thermal, hydrological and mechanical properties of porous media, under saturated and partially saturated conditions. One spinoff of my research is a finite-element computational software in 2D and 3D that is used to simulate problems of water, heat and chemical transport in the environment. My teaching covers environmental, geo-mechanical and computational topics.

Education Background

  • BE in Civil Engineering, 1986, American University of Beirut, Lebanon.
  • MSc in Structural Engineering (with distinction), 1987, University of Southampton, UK.
  • MSc in Environmental Science and Technology (DEA), 1993, Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees, Universite Paris XII, Ecole Nationale du Genie Rural des Eaux et des Forets, Paris, France.
  • PhD in Computational Mechanics, 1990, University of Southampton, UK.

Selected publications