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Dr. Kuo-Chieh Chao

Associate Professor, CIE Head of Department
Director of ACSIG
Geotechnical and Earth Resources Engineering; Geosystem Exploration and Petroleum Geoengineering
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Geoff Chao, Ph.D., P.E. has over 28 years of geotechnical and construction engineering experience.  He received his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA in 1995 and 2007, respectively.  He is currently an Associate Professor at Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Bangkok, Thailand.  Before joining AIT, he was the Vice President of Engineering Analytics, Inc., a geotechnical and environmental engineering consulting company in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.  Dr. Chao has extensive experience in the areas of geotechnical engineering design and mitigation, ground improvement, construction and design defect investigations, and construction oversight experience on a diversity of infrastructure projects. His technical specialties include rainfall-induced landslide/debris flow investigation and mitigation, unsaturated soil numerical modeling, soil/ground improvement methods, problematic soil evaluation, foundation design, soil-foundation interaction, soil behavior under dynamic loadings, and mining reclamation.  Dr. Chao was an Adjunct Professor at Colorado State University. He is the co-author of a textbook titled “Foundation Engineering for Expansive Soils.”  Dr. Chao has authored over 50 technical papers, many of them dealing with structures on problematic soils.

  1. Ph.D., Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (2007), Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
  2. Master of Science, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (1995), Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
  3. Bachelor of Science, Department of Civil Engineering (1990), National Chung-Hsing University, Tai-Chung, Taiwan
  1. Expansive and collapsible soils evaluation
  2. Unsaturated soil modelling
  3. Soil/ground improvement methods
  4. Landslide/debris flow investigation
  5. Effect of climate change on slope stability
  6. Soil behavior under dynamic loadings
  7. Jet grouting technique
  8. Optimization of design of group pile foundation
  9. Sustainability in geotechnical engineering design
  10. Construction and design defect investigations
  11. Mining reclamation.
  1. CE 71.13: Advanced Soil Mechanics and Testing
  2. CE 71.56: Ground Improvement Techniques and Geosynthetics
  3. CE 71.51: Foundation Engineering and Design
  4. CE75.05: Geotechnical Engineering for Tall Buildings
  5. CE 71.9008: Forensic Geotechnical Engineering for Problematic Soils
  6. CE71.9009: Unsaturated Soil Mechanics in Engineering Practice
  7. CE71.9012: Geotechnical Investigation and Exploration
  8. GTE403: Computational Geotechnics
  1. Cheng, S.H., Chao, K.C., Wong, R.K.N., Wang, I.M. “Control of Jet Grouting Process Induced Ground Displacement in Clayey Soil.” Transportation Geotechnics. March 2023., https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trgeo.2023.100983
  2. Shakya, S., Inazumi, S. Chao, K.C., and Wong, R.K.N. “Innovative Design Method of Jet Grouting Systems for Sustainable Ground Improvements.” Sustainability. 15:5602, March 2023. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su15065602
  3. Jayasiri, N.S., Chao, K.C., Noppadol, P.W, Duangsano, O., and Asanprakit, A. “Design and Analysis of Tunnel CrossPassage Openings: 3D Finite Element Analysis Versus 3D ShellSpring Approach.” Innovative Infrastructure Solutions, 7:204. March 2022. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s41062-022-00805-z
  4. Haq, S., Seah, T.H., Chao, K.C., Rujikiatkamjorn, C. “A Numerical Approach to Cyclic Consolidation of Saturated Clays.” Geotechnical Engineering Journal of the SEAGS & AGSSEA, 51(4), December 2020. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/346942281_A_Numerical_Approach_to_Cyclic_Consolidation_of_Saturated_Clays
  5. Zhang, R., Long, M-X., Lan T., Zheng, J-L., and Chao, K.C. “Stability Analysis Method of Geogrid Reinforced Expansive Soil Slopes and Its Engineering Application.” Journal of Central South University, 27, July 2020. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11771-020-4423-x
  6. Zhang, R., Long, M-X., Lan T., Zheng, J-L., and Chao, K.C. “Stability Analysis Method of Geogrid Reinforced Expansive Soil Slopes and Its Engineering Application.” Journal of Central South University, 27, July 2020. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11771-020-4423-x
  1. Evaluation of Rainfall-Induced Failures of Embankment Slopes due to Climate Change, Timor-Leste.
    Project Manager for a distress investigation to the roadways under Package R2 of the Road Network Development Sector Project (RNDSP) in Timor-Leste. Rainfall-induced slope failures due to excessive rainfall were observed at the site.  The causes of the slope failures were evaluated using seepage and slope stability modeling.  Climate change analysis was conducted to predict the climate conditions in the next 100 years. The predicted climate data obtained from the climate change analysis were used as an input parameter for our seepage analysis to calculate the changes of pore water pressure in the soils due to climate change.  Slope stability analysis was conducted using the pore water pressure results obtained from the seepage analysis to determine the remedial measures for the embankment slopes.
  2. Evaluation of Debris Flow Potential by Using TRIGRS and DEBRIS-2D Programs in Nan Province, Thailand:
    A debris flow happened in July 2028 at a village located in Nan province, Thailand, and caused eight people to die at the event.  After the disaster, the village was relocated to the Ban Na Lum area.  The primary objective of the study is to evaluate the debris flow potential at the new village location to ensure the safety of the village.  The TRIGRS and DEBRIS-2D software were used in the debris flow analysis.  It was concluded that the village would be safe under the current climate conditions.  However, there is a debris flow potential if severe weather condition occurs in the area.  It was recommended that a slope stability monitoring program be set up at the project site.
  3. Landslide Hazard Mapping Using a Combination of Artificial Intelligence and Geotechnical Engineering Approach, Mae Yao, Thailand.
    Advisor for a study to map potential landslide areas in Mae Yao, Thailand, by combining the geotechnical engineering approach and the Artificial Intelligence (AI) approach. Factors affecting the landslide potential for the areas will be evaluated.  A technique using the AI approach will be proposed to map large-scale landslide potential areas (ongoing research project).
  4. Roadway Analyses and Stabilization Plans, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
    Geotechnical Engineer for a distress investigation to the roadways of a large private housing development in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  A majority of the distress was determined to be from settlement of soils due to inadequate construction, and inadequate compaction of fill soils.  Additionally, the development had 23 active landslides on the site, and two of the landslides were causing major distress to the roadways. The investigation included geologic mapping, review of aerial photographs, excavation of borings, and laboratory testing.  The borings were instrumented with piezometers and slope inclinometers, and movement has been recorded over the last several years.  Plans and specifications were prepared for repair of nine areas.  Construction oversight was provided during the construction of the repairs.
  5. Evaluation of Threshold Stress for High-Speed Railway Foundation on Bangkok Soft Clay Under Cyclic Loading, Bangkok. Thailand. Advisor for a study focused on the effect of cyclic loading on the behavior the soft clay. A high-speed railroad foundation with a fine-grained subgrade can potentially build up excessive pore water pressure under cyclic loading from the operation of the train. The generation of the excess pore water pressure in the foundation clay could result in progressive shear failure at a stress level less than its shear strength under static loading conditions. This study showed that the shear strengths of the NC and OC Bangkok soft clays under cyclic loading could reduce up to approximately 20 and 30%, respectively, compared to those obtained from the monotonic compression tests.
  6. Geotechnical Investigation for Daikyo New Factory Project, Samut Prakan, Thailand.
    Project Manager for an investigation focused on determining the causes of the retaining wall movement and provided recommendations for remedial measures of the retaining wall. Subsoil investigation including drilling and sampling of four boreholes to the maximum boring depth of 41 m was conducted at the site. Laboratory testing was conducted to determine soil properties for our geotechnical analyses. Numerical modeling was conducted to determine the cause of the retaining wall distress. It was concluded that the soft clay had an excessive amount of movement induced by the heavy truckloads and the fill placement, which resulted in the distress of the retaining wall at the site. Options for the remedial measures were proposed in the study.
  7. Pavement Distress Investigation, DIA Employee Parking Lot, Denver, Colorado.
    Senior Geotechnical Engineer for evaluation of distress and responsible parties for an employee parking facility at Denver International Airport, Denver, Colorado.  The parking facility included two parking lots and two buildings.  The parking lots had an area of 57 acres and were graded and paved with hot bituminous pavement.  Portions of the subgrade materials for the parking lots were lime treated.  The observed pavement and building distress was caused by design and construction deficiencies, such as improper lime-treated subgrade materials, expansive soils, insufficient foundation design, etc.  
  8. US. Army Reserve Center, Windsor, Colorado.
    Geotechnical Engineer of Record for the design of drilled pier foundation and pavements at the U.S. Army Reserve Center in Windsor, Colorado for the Omaha District of the US Army Corps of Engineer.
  9. Florence High School, Florence, Colorado.
    Geotechnical Engineer of Record for remediation of the grandstand at the school.  The grandstand had undergone distress due to heaving of expansive soils at the site.  The foundation of the grandstand was underpinned with deep straight shaft piers to stabilize the grandstand.    
  10. FAA TRACON Facility, Denver, Colorado.
    Project Manager for the design of the foundation at a chiller facility constructed on highly expansive soils for the FAA at the Denver International Airport, Denver, Colorado.    
  11. Florence Water Treatment Plant, Florence, Colorado.
    Geotechnical Engineer for evaluation of the heave potential and proposed foundation systems for the Florence Regional Water Treatment System.  Analyses of the site indicated that the original locations of some of the structures were on highly expansive soils that would result in unacceptable levels of heave.  These buildings were relocated and analyses were performed of various foundations treatment options that would allow for acceptable levels of post-construction heave.    
  12. FAA Rocky Mountain Regional Airport, Broomfield, Colorado.
    Senior Geotechnical Engineer for review of the foundation design of a control tower facility for the FAA at the Rocky Mountain Regional Airport.
  1. Secretary-General, Southeast Asian Geotechnical Society (SEAGS)
  2. Editor-in-Chief, The Geotechnical Engineering Journal of the SEAGS & AGSSEA
  3. Professional Engineer: California, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Montana, and Ohio, USA
  4. Committee Member, International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) TC106 Unsaturated Soils Technical Committee
  5. Committee Member, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Geo-Institute Unsaturated Soils Technical Committee
  6. Engineering (ISSMGE) TC106 Unsaturated Soils Technical Committee
  7. Committee Member, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Geo-Institute Unsaturated Soils Technical Committee
  8. Member, American Society of Civil Engineers
  9. Member, Colorado Association of Geotechnical Engineers (CAGE)
  1. Expansive soils
  2. Collapsible soils
  3. Soil improvement
  4. Unsaturated soil modelling
  5. Landslide/debris flow
  6. Climate change
  7. Soil behavior under dynamic loading
  8. Jet grouting
  9. Foundation optimization
  10. Sustainability
  11. Mining reclamation.