In the first of a regular feature, the young members committee will interview leading figures in the industry as well as young members. For this edition they interviewed fellow committee member Yewei Zheng, the chair for the North American region.
Name / Institution: Yewei Zheng, University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
Specialist Field: geosynthetic reinforced soil, geotechnical earthquake engineering, soil-structure interaction, earth retaining structures, and unsaturated soil mechanics
Can you summarise your research?
I have been working on the topic of Geosynthetics Reinforced Soil (GRS) bridge abutments. This research involves a comprehensive evaluation of the performance of GRS bridge abutments for the service limit state, the strength limit state, and an extreme event limit state (i.e., seismic loading conditions) using both numerical simulations and physical modelling experiments. I developed and validated a numerical model for GRS bridge abut-ments under service loading conditions. I also enhanced the numerical model by incorporating the strain softening behaviour for backfill soil and the rate-dependent behaviour for geosynthetic reinforcement to simulate the load-deformation behaviour of GRS bridge abutments up to failure condition, and investigate the failure mechanisms. I also conducted a series of shaking table tests for GRS bridge abutments for shaking in the longitudinal and transverse directions to investigate the seismic response.
What do you intend to do after completing your PhD?
I received my PhD in June 2017 and will be a postdoctoral research scholar at UCSD. I’m trying to find a job in academia.
What inspired you to enter civil engineering and in particular to work with geosynthetics?
I chose civil engineering because I see infrastructure construction almost everywhere in China and also see many great opportunities in this area. When I was an undergraduate research assistant, I participated in a project to monitor the performance of geosynthetic reinforced pile supported embankments.
What would you say to encourage more young engineers to become IGS members?
IGS Young Members group provides a great platform to develop network for employment opportunities and re-search collaborations.