Kaven Hall 107
+1 (508) 8315000 x6487
BS Civil Engineering Fuzhou University 1997
MS Tongji University 2000
PhD Civil Engineering Case Western Reserve University 2003

I teach geotechnical and pavement engineering courses at WPI. My favorite teaching activities are helping students develop critical thinking skills and become independent learners and problem solvers for their future career in civil engineering.

My areas of research are in the interdisciplinary aspects of highway infrastructure engineering, with the overarching goal to advance the state of the art in sustainable highway infrastructure engineering. One of my recent research areas is developing more durable and sustainable asphalt concrete through an interdisciplinary approach. For instance, we have been working on bridging the linkage between chemistry and mechanical properties of asphalt binder through atomic force microscopy (AFM)-based techniques.

Another area I work on is synthesizing and characterizing a new type of cementitious material—inorganic geopolymers from abundant industrial and energy wastes (e.g., fly ash, red mud, and rice husk ash) which will provide an economical and “greener” alternative to Portland cement for highway construction.

Scholarly Work

M Zhang, T El-Korchi, G Zhang, J Liang, M Tao (2014). Synthesis factors affecting mechanical properties, microstructure, and chemical composition of red mud–fly ash based geopolymers, Fuel, Vol. 134, pp. 315-325, DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2014.05.058.

Goldsmith, J., H. Guo, I. Delacruz, S. Hunt, M. Tao, and S. A. Koehler (2013). Drag on intruders in granular beds: a boundary layer approach, Physical Review E, Vol.88, No.3.

Yu, X., N. Burnham, R. Mallick, and M. Tao (2013). A systematic AFM-based method to measure adhesion differences between micron-sized domains in asphalt binders, Fuel, Vol.113, pp. 443-447._ DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2013.05.084.

Tao, M., and Mallick, R. (2009). An Evaluation of the Effects of Warm Mix Asphalt Additives on Workability and Mechanical Properties on Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) Material, Journal of Transportation Research Record, Vol. 2126, 2009, pp. 151-160. DOI: 10.3141/2126-18.

CBS Boston
"It wreaked havoc": Leominster flash floods leave path of buckled roads, sinkholes

Civil, environmental, & architectural engineering professor Mingjiang Tao was interviewed by WBZ-TV for this story on why so many roads were swallowed by sinkholes in recent devastating flooding. Tao explained how soaking rain undermines pavement and how other weather factors like heat waves can put stress on roads.