Robert Swan

Robert Swan, Jr.

Teaching Professor
Associate Department Head of Undergraduate Studies
Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Robert Swan, Jr.

Teaching Professor
Associate Department Head of Undergraduate Studies
Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Biography

Dr. Swan attended Drexel University (Drexel) from 1980 until 1987 where he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering in June 1985 and his Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering with a focus on geotechnical and geosynthetics engineering in June 1987, after which he started his career in the private consultation and laboratory-testing sector of the geotechnical engineering industry focused on the use of geosynthetics in constructed earthen structures.  He has spent more than 20 years pursuing this career, which allowed him to gain valuable geotechnical engineering experience and to rise through project management, staff management and finally into company ownership.

Dr. Swan has extensive experience with MSE walls from material selection and evaluation, design, construction, as well as forensic analysis. Dr. Swan has over 30 years of active membership with ASTM International, participating in the development and standardization of laboratory test methods related to geosynthetics and soils, specifically for the evaluation of the mechanical interaction of soil reinforcement (geosynthetics or steel) within earthen structures.  His test development helped to standardize test methods to measure the interface shear strength, pullout resistance and connection strength required for the design of MSE structures.  In addition to having over 60 peer-reviewed journal and conference publications, in 2018, Dr. Swan received recognition from the ASTM Committee D18 on soil and rock for his participation in the development of ASTM STP 1605 “Railroad Ballast Testing and Properties” and in 2002, for the development of ASTM Standard D 6706-01 “Test Methods for Measuring Geosynthetic Pullout Resistance in Soil.”

Dr. Swan stepped away from his consulting career to embark on a new career path as a university professor.  He started his teaching career as a Faculty Associate within the Department of Engineering Technology and Construction Management at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) in November 2008. In 2013, Dr. Swan had the opportunity to return to Drexel as an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering (CAEE) within the College of Engineering (COE), primarily teaching upper-level undergraduate courses. Currently Dr. Swan is a Teaching Professor within the department and received his PhD in civil engineering in 2022.

Degrees / Education

  • PhD, Civil Engineering (Area of Focus - Geotechnical Engineering), 2022
  • MS, Civil Engineering (Area of Focus - Geotechnical Engineering), 1987
  • BS, Civil Engineering, Drexel University, 1985

Research Areas

Research Interests

Geotechnical and Geosynthetic Engineering; soil/geosynthetic interaction and performance; laboratory, and field geotechnical/geosynthetic testing; data acquisition and instrumentation; test equipment development and test method standardization; Quality System Management, and continuous improvement.

Areas of Study

Academic Distinctions

  • ASTM Committee D18 Technical Editors Award from Committee D18 on Soil and Rock.This recognition was given for the time and extensive effort spent in editing ASTM STP 1605 on “Railroad Ballast Testing and Properties” resulting from the symposium held in New Orleans, Louisiana in January 2018.
  • ASTM Award of Recognition, Effort Put Forth to Produce ASTM Standard D 6706-01, “Test Method for Measuring Geosynthetic Pullout Resistance in Soil”, 2002.

Select Publications

  • Wayne, M.H, Swan, R.H., Wilson-Fahmy, R., Soong, T., and Zornberg, J. “Bob Koerner – A Retrospective of a Giant in Geosynthetics, Perspectives from Those Who Knew Him.” GEOSTRATA, March/April 2021, pp. 26-34.
  • Gallagher, P., Yerk, W., Getty, P.S., Sample-Lord, K., Vanderkluysen, L., and Swan, Jr., R.H., “Developing an Engineering Geology Field Trip to Enhance Student Learning: A Case Study," Geo-Congress 2019, 8th International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 24-27, 2019.
  • Andrejack Loux, T., Swan, Jr., R.H., Yuan, Z., and Filshill, A., “Pullout Testing of Geogrids and Straps Embedded in Foamed Glass Aggregate," Geosynthetics ’2019, Houston, Texas, February 10–13, 2019.
  • Stark, T.D., Wilk, S.T., and Swan, Jr., R.H., “Sampling, Reconstituting, and Gradation Testing of Railroad Ballast”, Railroad Ballast Testing and Properties, ASTM STP1605, T.D. Stark, R.H. Swan, Jr., and R. Szecsy, Eds., ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2018, pp. 135-143, http://dx.doi.org/10.1520/STP160520170026.
  • Stark, T.D., Wilk, S.T., and Swan, Jr., R.H., “Review of Size and Loading Conditions for Large-Scale Triaxial Testing”, Railroad Ballast Testing and Properties, ASTM STP1605, T.D. Stark, R.H. Swan, Jr., and R. Szecsy, Eds., ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2018, pp. 162-172, http://dx.doi.org/10.1520/STP160520170025.
  • Aminpour, P., Sjoblom, K.J., Yeom, S., Swan, Jr., R.H., Filshill, A., and Stark, T.D., “Large-Scale Simulations of Foamed Glass Aggregate for Geotechnical Design Parameters”, IFCEE 2018, Orlando, Florida, March 5-10, 2018, DOI:10.1061/9780784481585.021.
  • Swan, Jr., R.H., Yeom, S., Sjoblom, K., Stark, T., and Filshill, A., “Engineering Properties of Foamed Recycled Glass as a Lightweight Fill”, Geo-Chicago 2016. August 2016, 11-22.
  • Swan, Jr., R.H. and Yuan, Z., “A Theoretical Analysis of the Maximum Load Transferred to the Junctions of a Geogrid Confined in Granular Soil”, Geosynthetics, Forging a Path to Bona Fide Engineering Materials. August 2016, 37-48.