DR. Shang's research interests lie in the general area of geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering. The main field of expertise is soil improvement, soil remediation and soil and groundwater contamination detection technologies.
The following research aspects are currently under active investigation:
Electrokinetics in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering applications, including strengthening foundations of offshore petroleum platforms, dewatering mine tailings and contaminated sediments. Working together with colleagues and graduate students, Dr. Shang has developed a systematic approach for the evaluation of effectiveness and efficiency of electrokinetics that can be used in the design of soil improvement and remediation projects.
Vacuum technology in soil improvement and soil remediation applications. Dr. Shang has published a series of case histories in collaboration with the Chinese engineers, including land reclamation, consolidation of mine tailings and airport runways. Based on these case studies, Dr. Shang and her graduate student developed the theoretical model and laboratory testing apparatus to facilitate the design of vacuum preloading consolidation.
Development of soil-groundwater contamination monitoring systems using electromagnetic waves. Supported by an NSERC Strategic Grant, Dr. Shang is working on the development of soil and groundwater contamination monitoring and detection systems using electromagnetic waves, which can be used for continuous monitoring of groundwater and non-destructive detection of soil contamination. The ultimate goal of the research is to develop a series of sensors that can be installed in water wells, contaminant barriers, industrial sites and underground storage facilities for early detection of soil and groundwater contamination.
Shang has carried out research in this field in collaboration with industries and academics worldwide. She was granted two fellowships and visited the University of Western Australia and the University of Melbourne in 2003 and 2009, respectively. She has collaborated with companies and organizations on electrokinetic treatment of industrial wastewater, mine tailings and river sediment, including Chrysler Corp, Polycon Industries, Golder PasteTec, Cameco Corp, and Upper Thames River Conservation Authority. Her research has received funding from NSERC CRD, Ontario Centres of Excellence and industries.
This research is highly exploratory in nature. She has developed a measurement device for complex permittivity of soils. The complex permittivity data are analyzed using artificial neural networks in an effort to quantitatively identify type and scale of contamination. The work has resulted in extensive publications and was presented at international conferences and invited workshops. The research was supported by NSERC CRD with cash and in-kind contributions of geotechnical consulting companies (Golder Associates and AMEC).
The ongoing collaborative research is being carried out as a joint effort of her research team, Ontario Power Generation and Goldcorp Musselwhite Mine. The research is targeted on using coal fly ash to prevent generation of acid mine drainage from reactive mine tailings. The work included lab study and a field trial on the Musselwhite mine site. Currently she is analyzing field test data from past four years. It is hoped that the outcome of this research would lead to an energy saving and environmentally friendly approach for on-land disposal of reactive mine tailings.