Welcome to Dr. Ming Xiao’s research team at Penn State.

Dr. Xiao’s research involves understanding the performances of the built environment under service conditions and extreme events. In 2014, he received an FHWA grant (as PI) to evaluate the in-service behavior of bridge supports using engineered fills. He was also leading a PennDOT project (as PI) from 2014 to 2016 to evaluate the migration of fine soils into the aggregate layer beneath pavement slabs due to sustained traffic load; this project concerns the maintenance of the existing highway system. In 2016, he was awarded a research contract as PI by the Office of Surface Mining of DoI to conduct field investigation and stability analysis of coal slurry impoundments under long-term and seismic loading conditions. Dr. Xiao’s research interests in the performance, failure mechanisms, and remediation of civil infrastructure under extreme events (such as earthquakes and hurricanes) are exemplified by several ongoing research projects. He designed and constructed a Seismic Shake Table Facility in the Civil Infrastructure Testing and Evaluation Lab (CITEL). The shake table is 10 ft by 10 ft in dimensions with a 20-ton payload capacity. He also designed and built a laminar shear box on the shake table in order to conduct geotechnical earthquake model testing. Dr. Xiao is insterested in understanding the seismic performances of levee systems and lifelines under earthquake-induced soil liquefaction; collaborating with faculty in structural and hydraulics fields, Dr. Xiao aims to evaluate elevated and retrofitted coastal residential buildings under combined hurricane wind and surge flood effects.

Another research area since Xiao’s doctoral study is flow and particle transport in porous media; this subject has wide applications in various fields. For example, he was engaged in a NASA project on multi-phase flow in porous media under microgravity during his postdoc study with the ultimate goal of growing plants as a food supply in long space missions. In civil engineering, the application of this subject involves seepage and erosion in levees and dams. In 2012, he received an NSF grant as single PI to investigate how soil erosion is initiated under various permeating fluids. Through this grant his research team developed a robust experimental setup and methodology for particle mobilization and erosion progress, such setup allowed him to secure another NSF grant (as co-PI) to study the behavior of shale under natural gas extraction and CO2 sequestration, through the collaboration with College of Earth and Mineral Science. He has served as the Chair of ASCE G-I technical committee on Geotechnics of Soil Erosion since 2011. Dr. Xiao will chair the 10th International Conference on Scour and Erosion in 2020 in Washington, D.C.


Current and Previous External Research Grants

Federal Funding:

State Funding:

Industrial Funding: