ASCE has honored Ning Lu, Ph.D., F.EMI, F.ASCE, with the 2017 Maurice A. Biot Medal for his outstanding contributions to the fundamental understanding of the mechanics of unsaturated porous materials.
For more than 25 years, Lu has consistently contributed to the field with his outstanding understanding of multiphase poromechanics, geohazards including expansive clays and rainfall-induced landslides, and fluid and heat flows in porous media. His involvement in unsaturated soil mechanics has changed the landscape of what was historically a field too reliant on empiricism and questionable theoretical underpinnings. His critical analysis of matric suction as a stress state variable, along with his introduction of the suction stress characteristic curve for capturing laboratory approaches for measuring unsaturated soil behavior, have sparked an entirely new research direction with the potential to finally unify saturated and unsaturated soil behavior within the classical effective stress framework.
His work has also found direct application in the analysis of the stability of slopes in unsaturated soils, and in developing an understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the initiation of shallow rainfall-induced landslides.
The Maurice A. Biot Medal was established to recognize the lifetime achievement of Dr. Maurice A. Biot, and is awarded to an individual who has made outstanding research contributions to the mechanics of porous materials.