Shobha K. Bhatia

Shobha K. Bhatia

Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence

Civil & Environmental Engineering


  • 1980 Ph.D., Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
  • 1973 Masters of Science in Civil Engineering, IIT Roorkee, India.
  • 1971 Bachelor of Civil Engineering, IIT Roorkee, India.

Research interests:

  • Use of synthetics and natural products in mitigating soil erosion and soil
  • Dewatering and containment of dredged sediments and waste
  • Use of recycle materials in civil infrastructures
  • Women in science and engineering

Current Research:

Dr. Bhatia’s current research efforts focus on the testing, development, design, and innovative use of sustainable natural and polymeric materials for the protection of water quality. In the area of soil erosion, a significant issue that can negatively impact surface water quality, Dr. Bhatia has worked extensively to develop methods to reduce stream bank erosion, evaluate the properties and performance of erosion control products, and develop new, innovative products to minimize soil erosion. Using a multidisciplinary collaborative approach, Dr. Bhatia has worked closely with manufacturers, national and international agencies, and research centers in the development of sustainable solutions for soil erosion issues. Recently, Dr. Bhatia worked on a research project to assess stream restoration methods to reduce stream bank erosion in the Catskill Mountains. Dr. Bhatia has also performed research to evaluate the technical, political, and cultural aspects of the use of natural erosion control materials (coir and jute) in India and the United States. Dr. Bhatia has also established unique testing facilities at Syracuse University to test erosion control products.

Dr. Bhatia has also worked extensively on the development of sustainable materials and methods to dewater dredged sediment, a significant and urgent issue in the US and around the world. Dr. Bhatia is currently investigating the dewatering performance of twenty-five different dredged sediments from water bodies in the US using polymeric and natural flocculants and polymeric and natural fiber geotextiles. Bench-scale, pilot-scale, and large-scale tests will be conducted to evaluate the interaction between sediments, flocculants, and geotextiles. Unique testing facilities have been developed at Syracuse University to characterize the sediments and flocculants. A model will be developed incorporating the sediments, flocculants, geotextiles, and filter-cake characteristics to predict geotextile performance. The systematic study will explore the use of environmentally-friendly flocculants and geotextiles in dewatering and containing dredged sediments and also provide a framework for evaluating the effectiveness of chemically-conditioned sediment dewatering using geotextile tubes. The wealth of data that will be generated will allow for the thorough evaluation of existing test methods, the development of new test standards (in consultation with an industrial advisory board), and the creation of a model to verify results. Dr. Bhatia is also working extensively with industry and international researchers on the development of geotextile tubes for dewatering fly ash.

Dr. Bhatia has also been extensively involved in engineering education. She is co-director of the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) initiative at Syracuse University. She is a Co PI of the National Science Foundation funded project SUADVANCE.

Teaching Interests:

  • Design of earth dams and levees
  • Soil behavior and design of earth structures for earthquakes
  • Geosynthetics and their application
  • Sustainability and geotechnical engineering


  • YWCA Syracuse and Onondaga County, Diversity Achievers Award, Syracuse, New York, 2012.
  • Chancellor’s Citations for Faculty Excellence and Scholarly Distinction, Syracuse University, February 2009
  • Recipient of the Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award, the Graduate School, Syracuse University, March 2008
  • Recipient of the Women of Influence Award – Division of Student Affairs, Office of Residence Life, Syracuse University, April 2007
  • Recipient of the College Technology Educator of the Year award from the Technology Alliance of Central New York for her pronounced and consistent role in the community – beyond “the hill” of Syracuse University, March, 2004
  • Recipient of the International Network for Engineering Education and Research (iNEER) Award for Excellence in Fostering Sustained and Unique Collaborations in International Research and Education, July, 2003
  • Recipient of 2000 Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence, Syracuse University, 2000-2003

Select Publications:

Khachan, M.M., Bhatia, S.K., and Smith, J.L. (2012).Evaluation of Retention Performance of Woven Geotextiles Subjected to Cyclic-Flow Conditions, Geosynthetics International, 19, No. 3, 1-12.

Maurer, B.W., Gustafson, A.C., Bhatia, S.K., and Palomino, A.M. (2012): ‘Geotextile Dewatering of Flocculated, Fiber Reinforced Fly-Ash Slurry’, Fuel, V. 97, 411-417.

Khachan, M.M., Bhatia, S. K., Maurer, B.M., and Gustafson, A.C., (2012). “Dewatering and Utilization of Fly Ash Slurries Using Geotextile Tubes.” Indian Geotechnical Journal. Volume 42, Issue 3, 194-205.

Grzelak, M.D., Maurer, B.W., Pullen, T.S., Bhatia, S.K., and Ramarao, B.V. (2011). A comparison of test methods adopted for assessing geotextile tube dewatering performance. In J. Han and D.E. Alzamora (Eds.), Geo-Frontiers 2011: Advances in Geotechnical Engineering (3050-3058). Reston, VA: ASCE.

Khachan, M.M., Bader, R.A., Bhatia, S.K., and Maurer, B.W. (2011). Comparative dewatering performance of slurries conditioned with synthetic polymers vs. eco-friendly polymers. Geo-Frontiers 2011: Advances in Geotechnical Engineering (2141-2151). Reston, VA: ASCE.

Satyamurthy, R., K. Liao, K., and Bhatia, S.K. (2011). Investigations of Geotextile Tube Dewatering. Geo-Frontiers 2011: Advances in Geotechnical Engineering (2121-2130). Reston, VA: ASCE.

Smith, J.L. and Bhatia, S.K. (2010, July/Aug). Minimizing Soil Erosion with Geosynthetic Rolled Erosion Control Products. Geo-Strata – Geo Institute of ASCE, 14(4): 50-53.

Bhatia, S.K. and Amati, J.P. (2010). If These Can Do It, I Can Do It Too: Building Women Engineering Leadership Through Graduate Peer Mentoring. Leadership and Management in Engineering, 10(4): 174-184.

Smith, J.L., Bhatia, S.K., and Sprague, C.J. (2010). Comparison of Geosynthetic Rolled Erosion Control Product (RECP) Properties between Laboratories. In S.E. Burns, S.K. Bhatia, C.M. Avila, and B.E. Hunt (Eds.), Scour and Erosion: Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Scour and Erosion (212-221). Reston, VA: ASCE.

Burns, S.E., Bhatia, S.K., Avila, C.M.C., and Hunt, B.E. (2010). Scour and Erosion: Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Scour and Erosion. Geotechnical Special Publication No 210. Reston, VA: American Society of Civil Engineers.

Smith, J.L. and Bhatia, S.K. (2009). Bio-improvement of Soils for Highway Applications Using Rolled Erosion Control Products. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2108: 117-126.

Satyamurthy, R. and Bhatia, S.K. (2009). “Effect of Polymer Conditioning on Dewatering Characteristics of Fine Sediment Slurries Using Geotextiles.” Geosynthetics International, 16(2): 83-96.

Smith J.L. and Bhatia, S.K. (2009). “Evaluation of Vegetated RECPs Using ECTC’S Bench- Scale Test.” Geosynthetics & GRI-22 Conference (641-651). Industrial Fabrics Association International.

Zoli, C., Bhatia, S. K., Davidson, V., and Rusch, K. (2008). Engineering: Women and Leadership. Synthesis Lectures on Engineering, Technology, and Society #5, Morgan and Claypool Publishers, Morgan and Claypool Publishers, ISBN 9781598296686.

Bhatia, S.K. and Smith, J. L. (2008) Bridging the Gap between Engineering and the Global World: A Case Study of the Coconut (Coir) Fiber Industry in Kerala India. Synthesis Lectures on Engineering, Technology, and Society #6, Morgan and Claypool Publishers, ISBN 159829623X.