Geotechnical Characterization Of Non-Textbook Soils

Brief description

Beyond the academic world of clays and sands, there is a large range of natural and man-made materials that exhibit properties and geotechnical behavior characteristics that are not typically discussed in textbooks. I broadly refer to these materials as “non-textbook” soils. They include peats, fibrous soils, hazardous waste, (of course Municipal Solid Waste discussed in more detail here), municipal sludges, coal ash and construction and demolition materials as well as exotic soils, and cemented soils. Many aspects of the behavior of these materials are still not well understood. My research objective is to understand the mechanical response of these unconventional materials, some of which are very commonly encountered, using in-situ and laboratory testing and gain a better understanding of their engineering behavior, as well as potential uses or re-uses.



  • Greenwood, W., Zekkos, D., and Sahadewa, A. (2015). ”Spatial Variation of Shear Wave Velocity of Waste Materials from Surface Wave Measurements.” Journal of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics, 20(4), 287-301.
  • Fei, X., Zekkos D., Lei, L., Woods, R. D., Sanford, L. (2015).  “Geoenvironmental Characterization of Water Treatment Lime Sludge” Environmental Geotechnics Journal. 2 (6), 319-325.
  • Zekkos, D., Gkrizi, A., Athanasopoulos, G. A. (2013) “Investigation of fibrous reinforcement effect on shear resistance of soil-waste mixtures”, ASTM Geotechnical Testing Journal, 36 (6), 867-880.
  • Zekkos, D. Kabalan, M., Syal, S. M., Hambright, M. Sahadewa, A. (2013). “Geotechnical Characterization of a Municipal Solid Waste Incineration Ash from a Michigan Monofill”, Waste Management Journal, 33 (2013) 1442–1450.
  • Zekkos, D., Kabalan, M., Flanagan, M. (2013) “Lessons learned from Case Histories of Dynamic compaction of Municipal Solid Waste Sites“, ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering,Vol. 139, 5, May 2013, 738-752.


  • Zekkos, D. (2013). “Experimental Evidence of Anisotropy in Municipal Solid Waste”, Proc., Coupled Phenomena in Environmental Geotechnics, Politecnico di Torino, Italy, 1 – 3 July 2013, 69-79.
  • Zekkos, D., Cohen-Waeber, J., Medley, E., Jesionek, K. (2008), “Characterization of weak rock mass and geoengineering analyses for a canyon landfill in northern California”, Paper #6.05a, 6th International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering, Arlington, VA, August 11-16, 2007 (in proceedings cd).

Students Involved


Michael Flannagan
Matt Hambright
Mohammad Kabalan
Lu Chen


Xavier Rivera-Hernandez
Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) , Spring-Summer 2013
Jose Rivera-Perez
Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP), Spring-Summer 2013
Sita Syal
Fall 2009-Winter 2011 (freshman, sophomore), UROP program
Charles Davis
Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP), Spring-Summer 2014
Hannah Wasserman
NeWinCEE Summer Researcher, Spring-Summer 2014
Rachel Thompson
NeWinCEE Summer Researcher, Spring-Summer 2014
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