John S. McCartney, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE

Professor of Geotechnical Engineering 

University of California San Diego

Department of Structural Engineering

9500 Gilman Dr., MC 0085

La Jolla, CA 92093-0085 

Office:  SME 442J 

E-mail:   mccartney(at) 

Phone:    (858)534-9630 

Fax: (858) 822-2260 

Courses Taught:

Our group's research in geotechnical engineering focuses on unsaturated soil mechanics, thermo-hydro-mechanical behavior of soils, foundation engineering, incorporation of geothermal heat exchange into civil engineering infrastructure (energy piles, thermal energy storage systems, landfill heat extraction), and geosynthetics engineering. Our work in unsaturated soil mechanics focuses on the effects of earthquake loading and application of high external stresses. We are also focused on the behavior of waste materials used in geotechnical engineering applications like shredded tires in the form of tire-derived aggregates (TDA). Our research involves a combination of laboratory measurements of the thermo-hydro-mechanical properties of saturated and unsaturated soils, development and use of advanced sensors and testing methods in unsaturated soils, physical modeling of geotechnical structures at different scales (laboratory, geotechnical centrifuge, field scale), and use of numerical modeling to understand complex coupling encountered when subjecting soils to changes in temperature, water content, and externally-applied stresses. 

Fundamental Research Areas

Applied Research Areas:

Google Maps: To find our lab, please search for "Structural and Materials Engineering"

Lab Location: Our lab is physically located in the Structural and Materials Engineering Building, SME 409. 

Parking: Visitor parking is available in the Gilman Parking Structure (10 min on foot to the SME Building).