Join us

It is the first time that I put on a post to say “Hey! Join us, if you are interested in.”

We are doing amazing research here with incredible enthusiasm and broad interests.

There are tons of reasons that people choose to do research; it could be a hobby, or to make a living, or any reason you name it, but my favourite reason is always that you love it. If you love your job, then you will do it with passion and happiness. 996 is never a problem only if you love it. (Well, it doesn’t mean 996 in our team…I never advocate that. See the photo, people played badminton; and we should do it more later on.)

My interests include (but not limited to)

1. Impact of electricity on clay minerals

By applying electric voltage on clay minerals, we look at the variation of its mineral structure and engineering behaviours. This could be a scientific research on clay mineral level (chemical & micro level); it could also be linked to potential engineering application in the area of geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering.

2. Soil remediation and ground water treatment

This is a research area on removal of pollutants from contaminated soil or protection of ground water. This research topic can be linked to EK technique as well. And another possibility is to use Fe-rich clay minerals as redox materials for ground water treatment.

3. Dewatering and consolidation

This topic is about removal of water from very fine-grained soil, like sludge, slurry, clay, etc. These kinds of materials have very low hydraulic conductivity, but electro-osmosis can be an effective method for dewatering and consolidation of them. We are looking at the challenges of this EO technique in large scale of application.

4. Geosynthetics

We are interested in application of geosynthetics.

1) Reinforcement, which is a very popular application for decades and lots of people from academy and industry are doing it.

2) Filtration and drainage. This topic is related to dewatering and consolidation. One of the special issues that we are especially interested in is the clogging problem of geotextiles. There are lot of things to do, include mechanism of clogging, update of manufacturing and design code, invention of novel types of geotextiles.

3) One more thing about geosynthetics, which is special for our research is EKG. This novel material presents a new category of geosynthetic and I’ve been staying in this topic for over decade.

5. Unsaturated soil, constitutive model and numerical modelling

We are carrying out this research partially also because of EK technique. When applying EK technique, it is related to unsaturated soil and suction. Therefore, we’ve been developing completely new constitutive model and trying to apply it in suction measurement, EK design and also trying to develop code for numerical modelling and software for EK design.

6. Mining, tailing, liquefaction, etc.

More researches that are related to my basic interests previously mentioned are being explored, we will see more ideas and fantastic work coming up.

So…welcome to join us…

And also, any collaboration is welcome.

Looking forward to hearing from you

Yan-feng Zhuang (

Monschau & Gescher

一些宁静的小镇,比如:Woolsthorpe in Lincolnshire ( Woolsthorpe Manor in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, near Grantham, Lincolnshire, England ), Bärn (Swiss federal patent office in Bern & Kramgasse 49 , Bern),值得住一段时间。

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CRISPR-Cas9 – Genetic technology for the future


埃马纽埃尔·卡彭蒂耶 图片来源:Umeå University

In classical ballet, artistic creativity is combined with strict discipline. Bacteriologist Emmanuelle Charpentier knows this all too well. Trained in classical ballet and piano, she says it’s not a bad background to have as a researcher citing this as the source of her meticulous accuracy and persistence through repetitive efforts. And, she adds, a scientist needs to cultivate her/his artistic side, be creative and a little bit crazy — at least sometimes.

Leisure: “I have been very busy with work in recent years and even more as a result of all the attention surrounding CRISPR-Cas9, but I really try to keep up with other interests too, such as sporting activities. I am very much interested in culture, art and design. I can at least find the time to listen to music while working, walking and thinking, and I enjoy listening to debates by philosophers and sociologists that question the world and our society. This is where I find my energy and balance.
Best mode of transport: “Bike! I cycle wherever I am – Paris, New York, Vienna, Umeå, Braunschweig – and currently on a daily basis in Berlin.”

“I was and remain very passionate about the MIMS concept at Umeå University. It focuses on a very high level of education and research, with regard to both high-quality research and insight into how to promote fundamental research and the education of postgraduate students in the long term. The concept also takes into account that good research takes time and requires good working conditions in which a community pools its energy and the administrative burden is small. I appreciate that The Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine gave me the academic freedom I needed.”


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Early research and latest advances on EK technique

Some papers on EK in early 1950s are available thanks to growing of book and issue digitization, the famous Project Ocean. Those papers are very interesting. Quite a lot of phenomena discovered in that early stage of research are still attractive up to now.
However, it seemed that research on EK had been suspended for a while. It may be because both mechanism and engineering application of EK are very complicated.

In the past decade, there were quite a lot of breakthroughs on EK technique. One among those was EKG materials, a new category of geosynthetics which provides corrosion proof electrode; another one was smart DC power supply.
Smart DC power supply is truly important and to some extent, it makes large scale application of EK possible. This is a key technique that tackles the challenge of power demand and energy consumption; and it is still evolving. This is a fruitful area to explore.

In 1950s publications, we can see some discussions on compressibility and consolidation effect after EK treatment. This is another interesting area that inspires completely new constitutive model, which may help understanding of not only consolidation issue but also mechanism of unsaturated soil.

Breakthroughs in this overlapping research area are very encouraging. Researchers on polymer, power supply, sensor, mathematics, mining are welcome to communicate and collaborate.


These photos remind me my time in Tsinghua. The slogan on the auditorium indicates that these photos must be made many years ago.
I love the straight road between the second gate and the west gate with ginkgo trees along both sides.
There is a lotus pool beside the road, which is famous because of the article “The Moonlight in the Lotus Pond”. This article was in our text book of middle school in my age, I am not sure if this is still the case now.

The auditorium
The east gate/ west gate
Continue reading “Photos”




诸如research gate这样的平台可能带来一些变数,然而整个方向会迈向何处,很难说。 此间矛盾之处在于,没有同行评审的平台,可能让论文回归论文的本质:记录、分享和交流;但是,同行评审的缺失,使得信息的可信度存疑。
peer review本身并不是问题,问题在于其他地方,如 Frank Wilczek所述。

Frank Anthony Wilczek (/ˈwɪltʃɛk/;[2] born May 15, 1951) is an American theoretical physicist, mathematician and a Nobel laureate.

Could Einstein Get Published Today?

By –Frank Wilczek

The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity ——by Albert Einstein’s , 1915
Continue reading “当堆砌文献成为流行的写作习惯”


Today’s news that Chang’e 5 landed on the moon and planning to bring a sample of lunar soil back, called to my memory of my time in Tsinghua.

As I remember this Chang’e mission started about 15 years ago, almost the same time that I started in Tsinghua. If you are not a soil mechanics expert, you may not be able to imagine how this mission could be linked to soil mechanics. Actually, at the very beginning of the Chang’e mission, we were involved. The first task was to estimate the response of soil to the reentry capsule when it landed as planned somewhere in Inner Mongolia. (The planned landing spot for Chang’e 5 this time is still in Inner Mongolia.) The second task was to build a test area in Beijing, modelling the soil in Inner Mongolia, so that some experiment could be carried out in Beijing instead of Inner Mongolia. During those time, discussion on lunar soil sampling project already began, it is about 15 years ago. Now, finally, we see this mission carried out.

To model soil that does not exist on the earth is difficult. Our focus is on the mechanical behaviours of soil so that to provide basis for design of sampling machine and lunar vehicle. Some of issues that need to be considered include low gravity (1/6 of earth), vacuum condition and dry condition. The issue of gravity is especially concerned, because it effects confining pressure so that effects the strength. And this issue effects design of some experiments . For example, when design a triaxial test, distribution of confining stress due to the size of soil sample is always neglected, but when the confining stress is very low, this kind of difference due to soil sample size may not be negligible.

Continue reading “他们说你是去了月球。。。”

Archaeological Study on Reinforced Soil for Hydraulic Engineering in Ancient China



这是一篇很有意思的文章,第一次听到是在一次土工合成材料会上,李老师做了一个报告,当时在座的Fumio Tatsuoka (龍岡 文夫) 教授也非常感兴趣。


Continue reading “Archaeological Study on Reinforced Soil for Hydraulic Engineering in Ancient China”


上一次觉得诺贝尔化学奖有点联系的时候,还在2000年:The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2000 was awarded jointly to Alan J. Heeger, Alan G. MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa “for the discovery and development of conductive polymers.”
link:The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2000 从发现到开始商业化,经过了约30年。
Emmanuelle Charpentier在众多的发言场合,提到最多的就是curiosity。
I realized that being a research scientist would fit the many aspects of my personality — my curiosity, intellectual drive for knowledge, enjoyment of communicating knowledge to others and working as a team, and my desire to turn complex scientific discoveries into practical applications that would help society. I was excited about being a scientist.


Emmanuelle Charpentier Receives Aachen Engineering Award

People on a stage looking at the camera

Copyright: Andreas Schmitter
Link: Emmanuelle Charpentier Receives Aachen Engineering Award


Continue reading “2020诺贝尔化学奖之际”