Engineering in Practice

Events and Activities

Webinar on Nonlinear Soil Stiffness for Analyzing Ground Movements in Engineering Practice (Jointly organized by HKIE CVD and PolyU)

Technical Seminar:

Nonlinear Soil Stiffness for Analyzing Ground Movements in Engineering Practice

Date, time & venue

20th July 2022 (Wednesday), 17:00-18:00, Seminar via Zoom Meeting


Organized by

HKIE Civil Division and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


Programme Highlight

Soil stiffness is one of the most important parameters governing ground movements and the performance of many earth structures under working conditions such as retaining walls, pavements and railway embankments. In most construction activities in Hong Kong, ground movements should be controlled to a stringent limit to avoid damaging adjacent utilities and building structures. A proper understanding and calculation of soil stiffness are thus crucial in engineering practice. Furthermore, soil stiffness is affected by many factors (e.g. stress state and stress path) and reduces substantially with an increase in strain in a nonlinear manner. It is challenging to measure and model soil stiffness with good accuracy. In this presentation, the key characteristics of soil stiffness and deformation will be introduced. Then, some advanced experimental investigations on Hong Kong soils like completely decomposed tuff will be presented. Some simplified equations for calculating soil stiffness will also be introduced. Finally, engineering applications will be discussed using several examples including deep excavations and pavements.

   *Please complete the on-line registration at





Free of Charge.


Dr Chao ZHOU

Dr Chao ZHOU is Tsui Tack Kong Young Scholar in Civil Engineering and Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He earned his bachelor's degree from Tsinghua University and his PhD degree from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Dr Zhou’s research interests include the thermo-hydro-mechanical behaviour of saturated and unsaturated soils, theoretical modelling of soils, pile foundation engineering and pavement engineering. In 2020, he was awarded the Excellent Young Scientists Fund (Hong Kong and Macau) by the National Natural Science Foundation of China. Dr Zhou received a number of prestigious awards, including the State Natural Science Award (Second Class) by the State Council of China and the Bright Spark Lecture Award by the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE). He also serves in several professional bodies such as the technical committee on laboratory testing (TC101) and the technical committee on transportation geotechnics (TC 202) of the ISSMGE.

Registration & Enquiries

Please complete the on-line registration at  The number of participants is limited to 500 on a first-come-first served basis. Priority will be given to members of the Civil Division.

Email registration will not be accepted. Successful applicants will be informed by email and provided a link to the Zoom Meeting at the designated time slot. Participants need to sign in using the membership no. and name entered at the time of registration. A CPD certificate will be issued 3 weeks after the seminar based on this membership no. and name.

For enquiries, please contact Mr. Vincent Tam via email: