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Kun Zhang

Research Postgraduate – Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering Node

Research Postgraduate – Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering Node in the Department of Engineering


Kun Zhang is a PhD student at the Department of Engineering, who is supervised by Dr. Marti Lloret-Cabot, Professor David Toll and Dr. Wangcheng Zhang. Kun's PhD study is sponsored by CSC - Durham University Scholarship. His research interests include modelling soil spatial variability and numerical and constitutive modelling of soils.

Prior to his PhD study, Kun obtained his Bachelor degree in civiling engineering at Henan University and Master degree in geotechnical engineering at Hohai University. During his master's studying period, he conducted the slope failure risk analysis with geostatistics and machine learning theory.

Research Project

Kun's research is in geotechnical engineering, focussing on the soil spatial variability and geotechnical uncertainty. One of the very important concepts is correlation length of soil, which can describe the spatial variation of a geotechnical property in the ground. Rather than using a single factor of safety, this parameter combined with probabilistic approaches can be very useful for assessing the geotechnical risk in a systematic manner. The ultimate goal of this research is studying, modelling and quantifying how geotechnical uncertainty is reduced with the number of tests in a given constuction project. 

Research interests

  • Modelling soil spatial variability