Dr. Jun Yang received Outstanding Research Achievement Award from China’s Ministry of Education

Sep 20, 2017

Dr. Jun Yang (first from left) received the award at the Award Presentation Ceremony.


In collaboration with Zhejiang University, Dr. Jun Yang of Department of Civil Engineering has won the Natural Sciences Award (First Class) from China’s Ministry of Education (MOE) for research on fabric anisotropy of saturated sands and the associated pile-sand interaction mechanisms.  This award is the only one made to HKU on the list of awards announced by MOE in March 2017.  In this long-term research, Dr. Yang and his collaborators have made an effort to address a practically important yet theoretically challenging problem: How can we properly characterize and model fabric anisotropy of sands and account for its effects in geotechnical analysis and design?

In many major geotechnical applications, such as the design and construction of hydraulic fills for artificial islands or dams and the installation of large piles or caissons for offshore energy structures (refer to the schematic illustration), geotechnical engineers and researchers have to deal with the complex behavior of sand deposits under various loading conditions and to ensure that any failures of these engineering structures would not occur.  This is a challenging task, as seen by the unfortunate massive slides during construction of an artificial island in the Beaufort Sea, which caused a financial loss of over US$100 million.  A salient feature of the sand behavior, which is of scientific fascination, is that a sand mass can exist over a range of densities at constant stress and the spectrum of states corresponds to a variety of responses, ranging from flow liquefaction failure (fluid-like behavior) to strain hardening (solid-like behavior).  This complexity originates mainly from the particulate nature of sand, that is, the overall mechanical response of sand is highly dependent on the packing patterns (fabric) and interactions of the constituent sand particles.  The award-winning research has involved both experimental and theoretical developments to deepen our understanding of sand behavior, and has resulted in significant findings and insights that are useful for development of more reliable and cost effective solutions for geotechnical problems.  A number of publications in top geotechnical engineering journals have also been produced from this research.

The Award Presentation Ceremony for recipients from tertiary institutions in Hong Kong was held at The Chinese University of Hong Kong on 25th May 2017.


Offshore wind turbine supported by a large-sized pile in the seabed