Prof. Dr. Harry G. Poulos



Professor Harry Poulos' pioneering work in pile foundation analysis and design has enabled the world's geotechnical specialists to have a greater understanding of the way structures interact with the ground. His research has enabled a more reliable approach to be adopted for pile design, replacing procedures which previously relied purely on experience and empiricism.

Professor Poulos has applied his research to a wide range of major projects, both in Australia and overseas, including buildings, bridges, tunnels, freeways, mines, airports offshore structures (e.g. oil rigs) and earthquake-related problems. Professor Poulos' work includes the Emirates Twin Towers in Dubai, where his analysis and design of the piled raft foundations provided significant cost benefits for the twin towers exceeding 300 metres in height, the Burj Khalifa, now the world's tallest building, where he was the geotechnical peer reviewer, the Docklands project in Melbourne involving design of remedial pile foundations for one of the high rise residential developments, and the construction of a 700km long motorway in Greece using his expertise in slope stabilisation and earthquake engineering.

While retaining his professorial position at the University of Sydney, Professor Poulos joined the Coffey Group in 1989, as the Director of Advanced Technology, and became Chairman of Coffey International Pty Ltd in 1991, a position that he held for two years. In the period 1998 to 2002 he served as Director of Technical Innovation and General Manager, Technical Development.

Professor Poulos has long been a contributor to the activities of the international geotechnical community. He was also a long-term member of the National Committee of the Australian Geomechanics Society (AGS) (1980 to 1995) and its Chairman from 1982 to 1984. He was Committee Member of the AGS Sydney Group, 1971-76, 1979-2002, Vice-chairman 1974 and Chairman 1980-81. He was the Australasian Vice-President of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering in the period 1989-1994, an appointed Board Member of the Society from 2001 to 2005, and is currently the Chair of the Membership, Practitioner and Academic Committee of the Society.

He was recognised by his peers for his contributions to Australian Geomechanics by the Sydney Chapter via the institution of the annual Poulos Lecture in 2002.

Professor Poulos is a recipient of many prizes and awards, including Australia's Centenary Medal (2003) for his services to Australian society and science in the field of geotechnical engineering. His overall contribution to the engineering profession has been recognised formally by the award of Member of the Order of Australia (1993), his election as Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (1988), his Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (1996), his Honorary Fellowship of the Institution of Engineers Australia (1999), the award of the Warren Prize (1972) and Warren Medal (1985) of the Institution of Engineers, Australia, his selection as the 2003 Australian Civil Engineer of the year, and his selection in 2004 as the inaugural Geotechnical Practitioner of the year.

Professor Poulos gave the prestigious Rankine Lecture of the Institution of Civil Engineers (UK) in 1989, and was invited by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to deliver the annual Terzaghi lecture in 2004. He also received from ASCE the 1972 Croes medal, the 1995 State of the Art Award, and the 2007 Middlebrooks Award. In 2010, he was elected as a Distinguished Member of ASCE, the first Australian Civil Engineer to be so recognised.


Speaker of the 3rd HPDL:


Professor Charles W.W. Ng;
(2017-2021) President of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering


Dr Charles W.W. Ng is currently the CLP Holdings Professor of Sustainability, Chair Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Associate Vice-President for Research and Development at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). He is the President of International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (2017-2021).

Professor Ng earned his PhD degree from the University of Bristol, UK, in 1993. After carrying out a period of post-doctoral research at the University of Cambridge between 1993 and 1995, he returned to Hong Kong and joined HKUST as Assistant Professor in 1995 and rose through the ranks to become Chair Professor in 2011.

Professor Ng was elected an Overseas Fellow from Churchill College, University of Cambridge, in 2005 and was elected Changjiang Scholar (Chair Professor in Geotechnical Engineering) by the Ministry of Education in China in 2010. He is Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers and the Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences. Currently, he is an Associate Editor of the Canadian Geotechnical Journal.

Professor Ng has published some 320 SCI journal articles and 250 conference papers and delivered more than 50 keynotes and state-of-the-art reports in 6 continents. He is the main author of three reference books: (i) Soil-structure Engineering of Deep Foundations, Excavations and Tunnels by Thomas Telford and (ii) Advanced Unsaturated Soil Mechanics and Engineering and (iii) Plant-Soil slope Interaction by Taylor & Francis. He has received many awards including the 2017 Telford Premium Prize from the Institution of Civil Engineers, UK, the Henry Adams Award from the Institution of Structural Engineers, UK, the first Tan Swan Beng Award from the Southeast Asian Geotechnical Society, and the R. M. Quigley Award (best paper) from the Canadian Geotechnical Society three times for his three best papers in 2008, 2013 & 2017.


Lecture Title: Energy Pile Foundations

Demand is evidently increasing for energy, clean energy in particular, to support population growth and economic development worldwide. According to many studies, the world reserves of fossil fuels are likely to be exhausted within the next century. It is therefore imperative to seek alternative renewable resources, or at least reduce our current consumption of natural resources while alternative energy is being sought.

One way to reduce global energy consumption is to make greater use of energy pile foundations. According to Brandl (2006), energy piles can reduce energy consumption for thermal comfort in buildings by up to 75% in some countries. Considering that buildings consume 25% of the world’s energy, the potential saving is substantial. Although energy pile foundations have been widely implemented in some countries in Europe, particularly the Nordic countries, scientific challenges arising from cyclic temperature changes during their operation remain not well-understood. Temperature changes in energy piles not only induces their axial elongation/shortening and radial expansion/contraction, but also creates shearing stress on the surrounding soil and causes it to compress and extend cyclically, resulting in volume changes of the soil and hence changes in the horizontal stress acting on the pile and the vertical stress at the pile base. Both the capacity and the serviceability of energy foundations, especially floating piles and pile groups, will be affected. Although end-bearing energy pile foundations have been investigated, the thermo-mechanical interaction mechanisms of floating energy piles and pile groups subjected to non-symmetrical cyclic thermal loading have yet to be comprehensively and systematically studied and understood.

In this lecture, a series of carefully designed geotechnical centrifuge model tests will be presented to reveal the fundamental mechanisms of cyclic soil-energy pile interaction in saturated clay and sand. In addition, the differences between driven and bored floating energy piles will be illustrated. Furthermore, the effects of non-symmetrical thermal loading on a floating energy pile group will be described. The observed fundamental mechanisms will be explained, based on the results of cyclic thermal-controlled triaxial element tests and an appropriate constitutive model capable of capturing both the cyclic thermal and the cyclic mechanical behavior of soil. Design implications for energy piles and pile groups will also be discussed.