Associate Professor, The University of Hong Kong

Address:             Department of Earth Sciences,                                                                                                              
                           The University of Hong Kong,
                           Room 306, James Lee Science Building,
                           Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong
I joined the University of Hong Kong (HKU) in August 2015.  My current and former research groups at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU, September 2009- July 2015) has been focusing on various aspects of sampling, characterization and evolution of fractures in rocks under different loading and environmental conditions, as well as the application of rock mechanics in slope and underground engineering problems. We aim at improving the understanding of the fundamental behavior of geomaterials, in particular cracking processes, that exist at different length- and time- scales, which have important implications for rock mass stability, slope and tunnel support, fluid migration in fractured rocks and earthquake seismology. Different numerical tools, namely Autodyn, Particle Flow Code (PFC2D), and Numerical Manifold Method (NMM) have been used to study a variety of rock deformation and failure problems.

At HKU, the two key laboratory setups are
Phantom V711 high speed camera and Acoustic Emission (AE) detection setup. Previously at NTU, I upgraded the geotechnical engineering laboratory to cater for a variety of rock mechanics tests, which included the acquisition of MTS 815 Rock Mechanics Test System with triaxial testing capability, OMAX 2626 JetMachining Center, Phantom V310 high speed camera, Acoustic Emission (AE) detection setup, Split Hopkinson Pressure Bar (SHPB) setup, direct shear test set-up, point load test set-up, Nikon Polarizing Microscope (Eclipse LV100POL), cutting saw, grinding machine, etc.

Research findings have been published in conference proceedings and leading journals such as
Journal of Geophysical Research - Solid Earth, International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences, Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering, Computer and Geotechnics, International Journal of Solids and Structures, Engineering Geology, International Journal of Fracture, Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology, Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Geotechnical Testing Journal, Landslides, Geophysical Journal International, etc.

I am the
Editor-in-Chief of the Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment (Springer), while also serving the editorial boards of Engineering Geology (Elsevier), Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering (Springer) and Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (Elsevier).
If you are also passionate towards high quality rock mechanics research and innovative techniques in enhancing our understanding of rock behavior, you are welcome to join my group.  I also welcome colleagues from other universities for short- and long-term visits.  Click here for more details.

Ph.D. (2008) Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
B.Sc. (1999) Earth Sciences (1st Class Honours), University of Hong Kong
Professional Experience

 Aug 2015 - Present
 Associate Professor, The University of Hong Kong (HKU)
 Sep 2009 - Jul 2015
 Assistant Professor, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
 Apr 2008 - Jun 2009 Tunnel Engineer, CDM, Inc., MA, USA
 Oct 2007 - Apr 2008
 Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT, USA
 Feb 2007  
 Visiting Scholar, Handong Global UniversityPohang, South Korea
 July 2003  
 Research Assistant, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong SAR
 Aug 1999 - Aug 2002 
 Engineering Geology Graduate, Geotechnical Engineering Office, The Hong Kong SAR Government
 Jun 1999 - Aug 1999 Assistant Geotechnical Engineer, I-P Foundations Ltd., Hong Kong
 Jun 1998 - Sep 1998 
 Summer Intern, Geotechnical Engineering Office, The Hong Kong SAR Government
Research Highlights

Our research group focuses on various aspects of "fractures" in rocks, which can be broadly divided into four main areas.

A. Sampling and characterization based on photogrammetry technique

B. Crack evolution under a wide range of loading rate

C. Rock strength and deformability

D. Tunnels and caverns

Fracturing and Crack Coalescence - Experimental Study

(a) high-speed observation

The use of a high-speed camera that captures videos of up to 24,000 frames per second, allows the researchers to tape and then replay rock fracturing at speeds the human eye and brain can comprehend.

Crack Coalescence in Molded Gypsum


Crack Coalescence in Carrara Marble

(b) microscopic observation
The scanning electron microprobe (SEM) (image on the right, Wong & Einstein, 2009d) and the environmental scanning electron microprobe (ESEM) imaging techniques were used to study the microscopic development of process zones in rocks.
The comparison of the macroscopic and microscopic results indicates that the different extent of microcracking zone development, related to the material textural properties, is a key factor leading to different macroscopic cracking behavior in gypsum and marble.


Fracturing and Crack Coalescence - Numerical Study
- Autodyn
- Particle Flow Code (PFC)
- Numerical Manifold Method (NMM)