Zhen Liu, PE

Zhen Liu


  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering
  • PhD, Case Western Reserve University, Civil Engineering
  • MS, Zhejiang University, Civil Engineering-Geotechnical Engineering
  • BS, Lanzhou Jiaotong University, Civil Engineering-Bridge Engineering


Dr. Liu earned his PhD in Civil Engineering, with an emphasis in Geotechnical Engineering, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2012. He continued working at Case as a research associate before joining the department. His teaching interests include soil mechanics, foundation engineering, Artificial Intelligence (AI), numerical simulations, and other topics in classical mechanics. His research interests are integrated for being more collaborative (multiphysics), more focused (multiscale), and more intelligent (AI). The scope covers both traditional geotechnical applications, such as unsaturated soil mechanics, geohazards, energy geotechnics and advanced geomaterials, and more interdisciplinary innovations, such as intelligent geosystems (for smart cities and cyber-physical systems), system resilience improvements, and “big data” solutions for intelligent geosystems and transportation systems. His research has many direct applications in infrastructure safety, energy resources, environment protection, and advanced materials.

Links of Interest

Teaching Interests

  • Soil mechanics and labs
  • Foundation engineering
  • Numerical simulations (FEM, FDM)
  • Multiphysics
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Data analytics in engineering

Research Interests

  • Intelligent infrastructure systems enabled by computing (AI, hybrid computing), sensing (acoustic, electromagnetic), and control (distributed systems with microcontrollers) for smart cities and safer, more (energy) efficient, and more resilient built environments
  • Enhancing system resilience with artificial intelligence (deep and reinforcement learning), physics (multiphysics and inverse analysis), and advanced data analytics (with transportation, meteorological, and GIS data)
  • Multiphysics and applications: thermohydromechanics (seasonal and climatic effects, material/environment processes, energy from gas hydrates), buoyance-driven flow (surface water geothermal), electromagnetics (sensing and sensors, energy harvesting), and soil-structure-fluid interaction (erosion and infrastructure protection)
  • Advanced soil mechanics and numerical simulation techniques: stress formulation, soil wetting, adsorption, non-isothermal soil mechanics, phase change, and soil behavior under extreme conditions; FEM, FDM, FVM, XFEM, molecular dynamics, SPH, Monte Carlo, and self-made methods.