Ning Lu

Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Ning LuNing Lu is well known internationally for his work on stresses in variably saturated porous media. His primary research interest is to seek common threads among basic soil physical phenomena including fluid flow, chemical transport, heat transfer, stress, and deformation. He pursues understanding of these phenomena at fundamental levels, including unifying atomic-scale potentials, inter-particle forces, and engineering-scale stresses in soils. He has been working on challenging engineering problems in chemical transport in clayey soil, underground nuclear waste isolation, residential house foundation damage by expansive clays, and, most recently, precipitation-induced shallow landslides. He teaches regularly on mechanics and hydrology of variably saturated porous media with the textbook Unsaturated Soil Mechanics (John Wiley and Sons, 2004) .He also teaches vadose zone hydrology and landslides with the textbook Hillslope Hydrology and Stability (N. Lu and J.W. Godt, Cambridge University Press, 2012).


Coolbaugh Hall 336


  • PhD, Civil Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University
  • MS, Civil Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University
  • BS, Geotechnical Engineering, Wuhan University of Technology, China

Other Affiliations

  • Fellow, American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Lifetime Member, American Geophysical Union
  • Associate Editor, Vadose Zone Hydrology, Soil Science Society of America
  • Associate Editor, Geotechnical Testing Journal, American Society for Testing Materials
  • Editorial Board Member, Georisk
  • Editorial Board Member, International Journal of Geomechanics and Engineering


  • Wayllace, A., and Lu, N., Transient water release and imbibitions method for rapidly measuring wetting and drying soil water retention and hydraulic conductivity functions, Geotechnical Testing Journal, Vol. 35(1), 2011.
  • Lu, N., Sener, Basak, and Godt J.W. Direction of unsaturated flow in a homogeneous and isotropic hillslope, Water Resources Research, Vol. 47, W02519, doi:10.1029/2010WR010003, 2011.
  • Lu, N., Godt, J.W., and Wu, D.T., A closed-form equation for effective stress in variably saturated soil, Water Resources Research, Vol. 46 (5), doi:10.1029/2009WR008646, 2010.
  • Lu, N., Zeidman, B., Lusk, M.T., Willson, C.S., and Wu, D.T., A Monte Carlo paradigm for capillarity in porous media, Geophysical Research Letters, VOL. 37, L23402, doi:10.1029/2010GL045599, 2010.
  • Godt, J.W., Baum, R.L., and Lu, N., Landsliding in partially saturated materials, Geophysical Research Letters, VOL. 36, L02403, doi:10.1029/2008GL035996, 2009.
  • Lu, N., Kim, T.H., Sture, Stein, and Likos, W.J., Tensile strength of unsaturated sand, Journal of Engineering Mechanics, Vol. 135 (12), 2009.
  • Lu, N., Is matric suction a stress variable?, Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Vol. 134(7), 899-905, 2008.
  • Lu, N., and Godt, J.W., Infinite slope stability under unsaturated seepage conditions, Water Resources Research, Vol. 44, W11404, doi:10.1029/2008/WR006976, 2008.
  • Lu, N., Wu, B., and Tan, C.P., Tensile strength characteristics of unsaturated sands, Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Vol. 133(2), 144-154, 2007.
  • Lu, N., Wayllace, A., Carrera, J., and Likos, W.J., Constant flow method for concurrently measuring soil-water characteristic curve and hydraulic conductivity function, Journal of Geotechnical Testing, Vol. 29(3), 256-266, 2006.
  • Lu, N., and Likos, W.J., Suction stress characteristic curve for unsaturated soil, Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Vol. 132(2), 131-142, 2006.
  • Likos, W.J., and Lu, N., Pore-scale analysis of bulk volume change from crystalline interlayer swelling in Na+ – and Ca2+ smectite, Clays and Clay Minerals, Vol. 54(4), 516-529, 2006.

Awards and Honors

  • Croes Medal, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2010
  • Norman Medal, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2007
  • Exemplary EBM for Geotechnical Engineering Journal, Geo-Institute, ASCE, 2003
  • Outstanding AE for Journal of Ground Water, NGWA, 2001