Dr Gurmel Ghataora B.Eng. PhD. MIMM, MILT

Gurmel Ghataora

Department of Civil Engineering
Senior Lecturer
Admissions tutor for Postgraduate taught programmes

Contact details

+44 (0) 121 414 5047
+44 (0) 121 414 5051
School of Civil Engineering
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Ghataora is a senior lecturer in the School of Civil Engineering, where he is also postgraduate taught programmes’ admissions tutor and welfare tutor. He specialises in geotechnical engineering, with research interests in the use of marginal materials in civil engineering, ground improvement and railway track foundations.

His experience in geotechnical engineering spans over 40 years in both industry and academia.


  • PhD, University of Wales, 1987
  • BEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering, University of Wales, 1979
  • Member of the Institution of Materials Minerals and Mining
  • Member of the Midland Geotechnical Society
  • Member of the International Geosynthetics Society
  • Member of the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education


Dr Ghataora graduated from the University of Wales, Cardiff with a BEng (Hons) degree in Civil Engineering. He then continued to undertake research leading to the degree of PhD. After completion of his doctorate he worked as a geotechnical engineer with Douglas Technical Services Ltd before moving to Ove Arup and Partners.

After many years in industry he came to the University of Birmingham in 1990, where he is now a senior lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering. Since joining the University he has undertaken consultancy work for a range of companies including: DTS Raeburn Ltd., Jackson Contractors (Preston) Ltd., ICI, Ove Arup and Partners and Shropshire County Council.

He is Admissions Tutor for the postgraduate taught programmes in the School of Civil Engineering and the Welfare Tutor for all students.


Teaching includes the following subject areas:

Within undergraduate programmes:

  • Correlations of soil properties

At postgraduate level:

  • Slope stability
  • Rock engineering
  • Foundation design
  • Ground improvement

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Ghataora has supervised over 25 M.Phil and Ph.D projects, covering topics including stabilisation of desert sands, stabilisation and compaction of soils, railway track subgrade improvement and self compacting trench backfill.

A selection of recent projects includes:

  • “The effect of ground improvement techniques on the performance of bearing capacity and settlement control of treated layers and underlying materials” PhD project 2002 - 2007.
  • “Breach of earth dams” PhD project 2006 – 2010, supervisor for Open University.
  • “Road embankment design and construction in Bangladesh” MPhil, 2007-2009.
  • “Testing road and embankment materials in Bangladesh”, MPhil, 2007 – 2009
  • “Behaviour of composite piles in alluvial soils” PhD, 2009-2012
  • “Railway track foundations- migration of fines”, MPhil,2010 – 2012
  • “Stone column design” PhD, 2009 – 2012
  • “Behaviour of stone columns subjected to cyclic loading” PhD, 2010 – 2013
  • “Sand Compaction piles”, PhD, 2011 - 2014
  • “Synthetic aggregate in concrete”, PhD, 2011 – 2014
  • “Slab track – slab design”, 2011-2014


Dr Ghataora’s research focuses on stabilisation and compaction of soils. Themes include:

Geotechnics of railway track subgrade, with topics covering:

  • Migration of fines into ballast.
  • Track design
  • Movement of water in railway track foundations (ballast and sub-ballast) and effect of water on behaviour of track.
  • Improvement of track foundations using in-situ remediation techniques.

Trench backfill:

  • Development of trench backfill that require no compaction. Project completed are listed below:
  • Alternative to foam concrete for trench backfill
  • Shallow trench reinstatement
  • Reinstatement of shallow trenches and small excavations using as-dug materials
  • Use of gypsum fro backfilling trenches in road pavements

Recycling of materials and ground improvement.

Examples of recent projects include:

  • Characterisation and utilisation of quarry wastes
  • ISERT - Improving the stiffness of railway foundations in situ
  • Soil reinforcement using fibres
  • Stabilisation of soils using lime, sulfonated petroleum products and enzymes
  • Utilisation of quarry fines
  • Utilisation Of recycled aggregates generated from highway arisings and steel slag fines
  • Utilisation of slag fro remediating acidity generating spoil.

Additonal interest include: piping through embankments.

Other activities

  • Dr Ghataora led the team organising the International Conference on Railway Track Foundation 06, held at the University of Birmingham in September 2006.
  • Committee member of the Midlands Geotechnical Society from 1996 to 2009
  • Member of the following Transportation Research Board committees:
  • AFS90: Chemical and Mechanical Stabilization
  • AR060: Railway Maintenance


He has published over 90 journal and conference papers since he joined the University. Publications in the last few years are listed below:


M. P. N. Burrow, G. S. Ghataora and D Gunn (2013) An investigation of the suitability of the construction of an old railway embankment for a new freight route, International Journal of Geotechnical Engineering. [Accepted for publication]
Rushton, K. R. and Ghataora, G.S (2012) Design for Efficient Drainage of Railway Track Foundations, Transport Journal, ICE, London, [Accepted for publication.]

Ghataora, G.S. and Rushton, K. R. (2012) Movement of Water Though Ballast and Sub-ballast for Dual-Line Railway Track , TRB. [Accepted for publication.]

John, U.E., Jefferson, I., Ghataora, G., Boardman, D.I. and Hills, C. (2012). Time dependent leachability and potential environmental implications from stabilization / solidification treatment of chromium contaminated clay. Journal of ASTM International, Volume 9 (3) In press, March 2012.

M Williams and G.S. Ghataora (2012) Effect of fibre reinforcement on the properties of ground granulated blast furnace slag-cement - bentonite slurry wall. Studia Geotechnical et Mechanica, Vol. XXXIII, No.4, pp 63-83

W. Rahman and G.S. Ghataora (2011) Use of waste gypsum for trench backfill. International Journal of Geotechnical Engineering. Volume 5 Issue 4, pp 405-413. ISSN 1938-6362.

U.E. John, I. Jefferson, D.I. Boardman, G.S. Ghataora and C.D.Hills (2011) Leaching evaluation of cement stabilisation / solidification treated kaolin clay. Journal of Engineering Geology Volume 123, Issue 4, Pages 315-323.

M. P. N. Burrow, G. S. Ghataora and H. Evdorides (2011) Railway Foundation Design Principles, Journal of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Volume 5, No. 3 (Serial No. 40) ISSN 1934-7359, USA.

G.S. Ghataora, L. Lee and U.K. Ling (2011) Changes in properties of clay surrounding cast in-situ piles. Geotechnical and Geological Engineering, Volume 29, Issue 1 (2011), pp 57-63, DOI: 10.1007/s10706-010-9350-4.

G.P.Dall’Aqua and G.S.Ghataora (2010) Behaviour of fibre-reinforced and stabilsed clayey soils subjected to cyclic loading. Studia Geotechnical et Mechanica, Vol XXXII, No.3.

K. Rushton and G S Ghataora (2009) Understanding and modelling of drainage of railway ballast. Transport Journal, ICE, London Vol. 162. No TR4 pp227-236.

M. Vals-Marques, D.N. Chapman and G.S. Ghataora (2008) Preparation of Ko-consolidated reconstituted amples in the laboratory. International Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, . Vol. 2, Issue 4. ISSN 1938-6362

Burrow, M.P.N., Bowness D. and Ghataora, G.S. (2007) A comparison of railway track foundation design methods. Proc. IMechE Part F: J. Rail and Rapid Transit. Vol. 221, No F1, pp 1 – 12. ISSN 0954-4097.


John, U.E., Jefferson, I., Boardman, D.I. & Ghataora, G.S. (2011). Chemical leaching Assessment and Durability Evaluation of Cement Stabilized Zinc Contaminated Kaolin Clay. Geo-Frontiers 2011, Dallas, Texas, USA 2011

John, U.E. M., Jefferson, I., Boardman, D.I. and Ghataora, G.S. (2010) Characterization and Evaluation of Stabilized / Solidified Heavy Metal Contaminated Clays, Proceedings of the GeoFlorida 2010 Conference, Florida, USA.

Morris, M.W., Hassan, M.A.A.M., Ghataora, G.S. and Samuels, P.G. (2009) Breach formation: Identifying key physical processes to support improved breach numerical modelling, 33rd IAHR Congress, Vancouver, British Colombia,

D A Gunn, M Kirkham, E Haslam, J Chambers, A Lacinska, A Milodowski, BGS, Keyworth, G Ghataora, M Burrow, R Sellers and N Dixon (2009) Moisture measurements in embankments: application for long term stability and ageing, Railway Engineering 2009, University of Westminster, London.

G S Ghataora and M P N Burrow, (2009) Large scale tests on a lightweight composite manhole chamber to be used adjacent to railway lines, Railway Engineering 2009, University of Westminster, London.

M Burrow, GS Ghataora, D A Gunn, H Reeves, and J Chambers (2009). Design considerations for new freight routes on old Victorian embankments, Railway Engineering 2009, University of Westminster, London.