Felipe Villalobos Civil Eng MSc DPhil

Lecturer of the Department of Civil Engineering, Catholic University of Concepción

en Castellano


I studied Civil Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of Concepción. My degree project was about the Estimation of the longitudinal dispersion coefficient DL for rivers with mild bed slopes, applied to Bío Bío River. I finished successfully the degree project in 1997. Previously, in 1996 I worked as a student in the Ministry of Public Works MOP, in the Highway Division and in the Port Division in the city of Coyhaique (Patagonia). In the Port Division I took part in preliminary designs of access ramps Candelario Mancilla and Ventisquero Chico in the O'Higgins Lake and in a timber jetty in the Paloma Lake. Just before getting the degree I was working in the Consulting GVS in the geometric design of roads for the towns of Los Alamos, Cerro Alto and Tres Pinos, in the Arauco province.

Once graduated I started working in the Consulting Arcadis Geotécnica, in Santiago, then called Geotécnica Consultores. There I mainly took part in mining projects, for example:
- Radomiro Tomic project of heap leach, geomechanical assessment of granular materials and geomembranes interphases by means of direct shear and punching tests;
- Escondida Phase 3.5, geotechnical study expansion project, slope stability analyses;
- El Indio and El Tambo mines, studies of closure and abandonment, hydrology and surface runoff of del Medio and Malo Rivers basins, diversion and discharge channels, El Indio, Pastos Largos and El Tambo tailings dams, heap leach and conceptual hydrologic models;
- Los Pelambres extension, slope stability analyses and measurement of quantity of materials for the starting wall, drain channel, cut-off trench and discharging piping Cuncumén River;
- JRI Monturaqui consulting, settlement estimation for tank deposit;
- Minera Quellaveco geotechnical characterization of tailings, analysis and interpretation of static and dynamics triaxiales tests, permeability tests, index properties, etc.;
- Minera Quellaveco tailings basic engineering; report of sampling and tests required;
- Urban reclamation of the Bío Bío River North Bank in Concepción, evaluation of the liquefaction potential and dynamic compaction study.

I realised that I needed to specialize in Geotechnics, due to that I applied and was accepted in the Department of Structural and Geotechnical Engineering in the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago, where I pursued 11 courses: Advanced Soil Mechanics (Prof. Rodríguez), Rock Mechanics (Prof. van Sint Jan), Foundation Engineering (Prof. Troncoso), Soil Dynamics (Prof. Rodríguez), Environmental Geotechnics (Prof. Troncoso), Finite Elements (Prof. Rodríguez), Computation applied to Structural Engineering (Prof. Cruz), Structural Design of Pavements (Prof. Thenoux), Coastal Engineering (Prof. Estellé), Groundwater (Prof. Muñoz) and Experimental analysis of structures (Prof. Lüders).
After passing all these courses I still had the energy to start developing the master's thesis "Experimental analysis of the bearing capacity of shallow foundations on sandy soil". The thesis was part of the Prof. Rodríguez research project FONDECYT N°1990116 “New constitutive model for sands and its application to problems in the engineering practice". I finished the thesis in 2000, afterwards I work for one year in Austral University, Valdivia. In the Austral University I lectured Solid Mechanics, Statics, Structural Analysis, Structural Design of Pavements and Soil Dynamics. As a consultant I prepared reports of Soil Mechanics for the boat parking of ASENAV, slope failures causes in the construction of the Plaza de los Ríos shopping centre and foundation design of the Isaflor shopping centre.

In 2002 I was employed as a research assistant in the Civil Engineering group of the University of Oxford, in the UK, to work in the project of Foundations for offshore wind turbines. This project was funded by BERR (ex DTI) and EPSRC. After applying I was accepted as a member of Keble College, which allow to be graduate student of the University of Oxford. The first days of January 2007 I submitted the DPhil thesis Model testing of foundations for offshore wind turbines. Since August 2007 I am a full time academic staff of the Department of Civil Engineering in the Catholic University of Concepción UCSC. Initially I lectured Mechanics, Solid Mechanics and Soil Mechanics I. Lately I have been lecturing Soil Mechanics II, Foundation Design and the optional and master courses of Soil Dynamics, Foundation Dynamics and Experimental Soil Mechanics, additionally Pre-project and Degree Project. I have been responsable for the Master programme in Geotechnical Engineering MIG since 2009 and for conception and opening of the programme of Engineering Geology in 2011. Since 2008 I am the editor of the technical publication in Civil Engineering Obras y Proyectos, which was in 2011 incorporated in the scientific database SCIELO www.scielo.cl/oyp. From April 2010 I work in the Laboratory of GeoMaterials where research, external services and consulting is carried out. At the end of 2013 I was elected vicepresident of the Chilean chapter IGS Chile of the International Society of Geosynthetics, later on in March 2015 I became president of IGS Chile because the president resigned. At the end of 2015 I was elected officer of the Chilean Society of Geotechnics SOCHIGE, becoming vicepresident. SOCHIGE is part of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering.


A list of publications and presentations can be found in the link Publications. See also the list by Google Scholar.


Research areas (Degree project and theses topics)

Possible research areas to develop a degree project and master thesis please have a look at Research areas . Students interested in some topic please send me an email or talk to me in the Laboratory of GeoMaterials.

Current students:

Master in Geotechnical Engineering

Francisco Acuña. Comparison of measurement of shear wave velocity in pasive geophysical tests with laboratory measurements.
Pablo Sanzana. Evaluation of soft soil improvement through measurements of shear wave velocities.
Leonel Contreras. Design of micropiles from the FOREVER project formulations.

Civil Engineering Degree Project

Maribell González. Design and construction of geogrid reinforced retaining structures for bridge abutments.

Civil Engineering Pre-Project

Master's students in Geotechnical Engineering

Pablo Sanzana. Evaluation of the improvement with stone columns of silty sand soils by means of shear wave velocity measurements. October 2014 (working in OITEC)
Mauricio Jara. Numerical analysis of seismic response of deep excavations in Bío Bío sand. August 2014 (working in MacroSteel)
Juan Ayala. Experimental study of shear waves propagation in granular soils using bender elements in the oedometric equipment. April 2013 (working in Golder Associates)

Civil Engineering graduated students

Pablo Sanzana. Evaluation of the improvement with stone columns of silty sand soils by means of shear wave velocity measurements. October 2014 (working in OITEC)
Mauricio Jara. Numerical analysis of seismic response of deep excavations in Bío Bío sand. August 2014 (working in MacroSteel)
Eladio Leiva. Geotechnical characterization of the Quinamavida tuff zeolite. November 2013 (working in LIEM)
Víctor Cabezas. Flexible systems for superficial stabilization of slopes with steel meshes and anchorage nails. July 2013
Juan Ayala. Experimental study of shear waves propagation in granular soils using bender elements in the oedometric equipment. Abril 2013 (working in Golder Associates)
José Burgos. Experimental study of small reinforced concrete beams reinforced with CFRP (Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polimer). January 2013
David Mozó. Analysis and design of diaphragm walls in sandy soils. July 2012 (working in Constructora Lancuyen)
Patricio Puga. Experimental study of the coefficient of permeability in sand. (working in ESSBIO)
Andrés Guzmán. Study of the interaction between soil and drinkable water piping in the Metropolitan Concepción. March 2011 (working in La Mochita ESSBIO)
Verónica Sobarzo. Heavily wheathered rock slope stability in the city of Concepción. March 2011 (working in Derk Ingeniería, Geología y Servicios)
Sergio Villalobos. Design and construction of soil nailing in residual soils. January 2011 (working in CODELCO Nuevo Nivel Mina)
Lissette Ruiz-Tagle. Experimental study of the lateral earth pressure variation on a rigid wall reinforced with geogrids. January 2011 (working in CSP-DSI)
Mario Alarcón. Effect of the variation of the soil geotechnical properties for the design of soldier pile walls. January 2011 (working in Subterra Ingeniería)
Miguel Navarrete. Influence of the fine content in non cohesive soils on the stiffness and damping under low strain amplitude. February 2010 (working in Itasca)

see Investigation in civil.ucsc.cl to download degree projects and theses

Rodrigo Bravo. Uplifting induced by liquefaction after the 2010 Chile Earthquake. June 2012 (UdeC student, supervised by Dr Montalva)




Reclamation project of the Bío Bío River North Bank, view from Chepe Hill a couple of days after the 2010 earthquake