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

Gurmel Ghataora

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

Contact details

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 for 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 for remediating acidity generating spoil.

Additional 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:


Krechowiecki-Shaw, C, Royal, A, Jefferson, I & Ghataora, G 2017, 'Routes for exceptional loads: a new soil mechanics perspective' Institution of Civil Engineers. Proceedings. Transport. DOI: 10.1680/jtran.16.00109
Alqahtani, F, Ghataora, G, Khan, MI & Dirar, S 2017, 'Novel lightweight concrete containing manufactured plastic aggregate' Construction and Building Materials.

Lynn, C, Dhir, R & Ghataora, G 2017, 'Municipal incinerated bottom ash use as a cement component in concrete' Magazine of Concrete Research, vol 69, no. 10, pp. 512-525. DOI: 10.1680/jmacr.16.00432.

Lynn, CJ, Ghataora, GS & Dhir, R 2017, 'Municipal incinerated bottom ash (MIBA) characteristics and potential for use in road pavements' International Journal of Pavement Research and Technology, vol 10, no. 2, pp. 185-201. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijprt.2016.12.003.

Burrow, M, Jin, S, Wehbi, M & Ghataora, G 2017, 'Assessing the damaging effects of railway dynamic wheel loads on railway foundations' Transportation Research Record.

Elgalhud, A, Dhir, R & Ghataora, G 2017, 'Carbonation Resistance of Concrete: Limestone Addition Effects' Magazine of Concrete Research, vol 69 , no. 2, pp. 84-106. DOI: 10.1680/jmacr.16.00371

Elgalhud, A, Dhir, R & Ghataora, G 2017, 'Chloride ingress in concrete: limestone addition effects' Magazine of Concrete Research 2016.

Rasul, J, Burrow, M & Ghataora, G 2016, 'Consideration of the deterioration of stabilised subgrade soils in analytical pavement design' Transportation Geotechnics, vol 9, pp. 96–109. DOI: 10.1016/j.trgeo.2016.08.002.

Lynn, C, Dhir, R & Ghataora, G 2016, 'Municipal incinerated bottom ash characteristics and potential for use as aggregate in concrete' Construction and Building Materials, vol 127, pp. 504-517. DOI: 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2016.09.132.

Alqahtani, F, Khan, MI, Ghataora, G & Dirar, S 2016, 'Production of Recycled Plastic Aggregates and its Utilization in Concrete' Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)MT.1943-5533.0001765.

Elgalhud, AA, Dhir, RK & Ghataora, G 2016, 'Limestone addition effects on concrete porosity' Cement and Concrete Composites, vol 72, pp. 222-234. DOI: 10.1016/j.cemconcomp.2016.06.006.

Burrow, M, Evdorides, H, Ghataora, G, Petts, R & Snaith, M 2016, 'The evidence for rural road technology in low income countries' Institution of Civil Engineers. Proceedings. Transport. DOI: 10.1680/jtran.15.00089.

Lynn, C, Dhir, R & Ghataora, G 2016, 'Sewage sludge ash characteristics and potential for use in bricks, tiles and glass ceramics.' Water Science and Technology, vol 74, no. 1, pp. 17-29. DOI: DOI: 10.2166/wst.2016.040.

Krechowiecki-Shaw, C, Jefferson, I, Royal, A, Ghataora, G & Alobaidi, I 2016, 'Degradation of soft subgrade soil from slow, large, cyclic heavy haul road loads: a review' Canadian Geotechnical Journal. DOI: 10.1139/cgj-2015-0234.

Alzayani, NJ, Royal, A, Ghataora, G & Jefferson, I 2016, 'Cement-Bentonite in comparison with other Cemented Materials' Environmental Geotechnics. DOI: 10.1680/jenge.14.00050.

Lynn, C, Ghataora, G & Dhir, R 2016, 'Environmental impacts of MIBA in geotechnics and road applications' Environmental Geotechnics, pp. 1-25. DOI: 10.1680/jenge.15.00029.

Lye, C, Dhir, R, Ghataora, G & Li, H 2016, 'Creep strain of recycled aggregate concrete' Construction and Building Materials, vol 102, no. Part 1, pp. 224-259. DOI: 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2015.10.181

Lye, C, Dhir, R & Ghataora, G 2015, 'Elastic modulus of concrete made with recycled aggregates' Institution of Civil Engineers. Proceedings. Structures and Buildings. DOI: 10.1680/jstbu.15.00077.

Lynn, C, Dhir, R, Ghataora, G & West, R 2015, 'Sewage Sludge Ash Characteristics and Potential for Use in Concrete' Construction and Building Materials, vol 98, pp. 767-779. DOI: DOI: 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2015.08.122.

Jafaripour, A, Rowson, N & Ghataora, G 2015, 'Utilisation of residue gas sludge (BOS sludge) for removal of heavy metals from acid mine drainage (AMD)' International Journal of Mineral Processing, vol 144, pp. 90-96. DOI: 10.1016/j.minpro.2015.10.002.

Su, H, Yang, J, Ghataora, G & Dirar, S 2015, 'Surface modified used rubber tyre aggregates: effect on recycled concrete performance' Magazine of Concrete Research, vol 67, no. 12, pp. 680-691. DOI: 10.1680/macr.14.00255.

Su, H, Yang, J, Ling, T-C, Ghataora, G & Dirar, S 2015, 'Properties of concrete prepared with waste tyre rubber particles of uniform and varying sizes' Journal of Cleaner Production, vol 91, pp. 288-296. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.12.022.

Lye, C, Dhir, R & Ghataora, G 2015, 'Carbonation resistance of fly ash concrete.' Magazine of Concrete Research, vol 67, no. 21, pp. 1150-1178.

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.


Sasidharan, M, Burrow, M, Ghataora, G & Eskandari Torbaghan, M 2017, A review of risk management applications for railways. in 14th International Conference of Railway Engineering 2017. Edinburgh, Railway Engineering 2017, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 21-22 June. DOI: 10.25084/raileng.2017.0065.

Usman, K, Ghataora, G, Burrow, M, Eskandari Torbaghan, M, Wehbi, M & Musgrave, P 2017, 'Fault tree for poor drainage mechanisms of railway balalsted track' Paper presented at Railway Engineering 2017, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 21/06/17 - 22/06/17.

Kamalov, R, Ghataora, G, Burrow, M, Wehbi, M & Musgrave, P 2017, 'Migration of fine particles from subgrade soil to the overlying ballast' Paper presented at Railway Engineering 2017, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 21/06/17 - 22/06/17.

Pycha, M, Burrow, M & Ghataora, G 2017, A preliminary study into dynamic non-linear elasto-visco-plastic modelling of soil mechanics simulated using light weight deflectometer data. in M Forde (ed.), Proceedings of Railway Engineering-2017., 0037, ECS Publications, pp. 1-9, Railway Engineering 2017, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 21-22 June. DOI: 10.25084/raileng.2017.0037

Sadiq, A, Jefferson, I, Ghataora, G & Culshaw, M 2016, 'New method of producing artificial tropical residual soils from older British soils' Paper presented at Fourth International Conference on New Developments in Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, Nicosia, Cyprus, 2/06/16 - 4/06/16, . Burrow, M, Geddes, R, Pinard, M, Gongera, K, Bopoto, C, Ghataora, G & Petts, R 2016, 'Specification for rural road asset management performance.' Paper presented at International Conference on Transport and Road Research, Mombasa, Kenya, 16/03/16 - 18/03/16.

Alqahtani, F, Ghataora, G, Khan, I, Dirar, S, Kioul, A & Al-Otaibi, M 2015, Lightweight concrete containing recycled plastic aggregates. in icectt-15: 2015 International Conference on Electromechanical Control Technology and Transportation. Advances in Engineering Research, Atlantis Press, pp. 527-533, ICECTT 2015 International Conference on Electromechanical Control Technology and Transportation, Zhuhai City, China, 31-1 November. DOI: 10.2991/icectt-15.2015.101.

Rasul, J, Burrow, M & Ghataora, G 2015, Permanent deformation characteristics of stabilised subgrade soils. in Proceedings 6th International Conference "Bituminous Mixtures & Pavements". 6th International Conference "Bituminous Mixtures & Pavements"., Thessalonika, Greece, 20-24 April.

Burrow, M, Ghataora, G, Wehbi, M & Musgrave, P 2015, 'Improving stiffness of railway track using micro-piles' Paper presented at railway engineering, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 29/06/15 - 1/07/15.
Willan, M & Ghataora, G 2015, Management of bauxite residue in a temperate climate using mud-farming techniques. in Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth. Paste 2015, Cairns, Australia, 5-7 May.

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.

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