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April 16, 2007
Sacramento State Bulletin

Ali Porbaha’s geoconstruction research earns President’s Award

Photo: Ali Porbaha
Ali Porbaha

Innovative technologies for ground modification and earthquake mitigation have been developed overseas for new construction or reconstruction of aging civil infrastructure systems. These technologies should be further developed and transferred for use in the United States, according to Civil Engineering professor Ali Porbaha. Porbaha is the 2006-07 recipient of the President’s Award for Research and Creative Activity.

The annual President’s Award lecture and award ceremony will be in the Alumni Center at 4 p.m. on Monday, April 23. Professor Porbaha’s lecture is titled “Innovative Technologies to Accelerate Geoconstruction.” A reception will immediately follow the lecture, and the campus community is invited to attend.

“California, like Japan, is a seismic-prone area,” says Porbaha. “That, coupled with the soft soil deposits, can lead to significant ground instability. Improving the quality of the ground is time-consuming. However, some innovative techniques that have been used in Japan and Europe to improve the quality of the soil can also be applied here in California.”

Porbaha studied these innovative technologies through a U.S.-Japanese research exchange as a Fellow of the Science and Technology Agency of the Japanese National Laboratory. Also, as a twelve-member of a technology scanning tour to Europe, Porbaha visited Sweden, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy to identify innovative technologies that accelerate construction, a major focus of the Federal Highway Administration.

And those techniques can be used to improve the soil on construction sites. “Time is money and is of the essence on construction projects,” says Porbaha, “so to ensure timely delivery, project owners have begun to seek non-conventional technologies that can accelerate construction on California’s deteriorating infrastructure system.”

Land aging and traffic are significant factors in California’s weakening infrastructure. “In response, the industry is very interested in developing innovative solutions to expedite the construction while ensuring a high level of safety and reliability,” he says.

Porbaha, in collaboration with Civil Engineering professor Eric Matsumoto, also recently received funding from the National Science Foundation to begin the development of a seismic simulation laboratory to promote earthquake engineering research and education.

The President’s Award for Research and Creative Activity was established in 1989 and is given each year to recognize extraordinary research and creative activity over the past five years by a Sacramento State faculty member. Nominees for the award must be in their first ten years of service at Sacramento State.

Porbaha is the eighteenth recipient of this award.

For more information, call 278-7565 or visit


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