Professor Ian Johnston

Research Interests

  • Geotechnical Engineering, Geothermal Energy

Biography

Professor Johnston obtained a Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1968 and a Ph.D. in 1972 from the University of Southampton (UK). After 3 years in industry, he joined Monash University where he was a lecturer, senior lecturer and associate professor. In 1993, he was appointed Professor and Dean of Engineering at Victoria University of Technology. In February 1998, he returned to full time consulting with Coffey Geotechnics where he was a Senior Principal. He joined the University of Melbourne in May 2009 as Professor of Geotechnical Engineering.
Although Professor Johnston’s consulting and research interests have covered a wide range of topics, he is probably best known for his work on soft, weak and weathered rock in civil and mining engineering. He has made many presentations on this general subject and others at local, national and international conferences. He has published over 100 technical papers including about 60 in refereed international journals. He has undertaken substantial consulting work on a wide range of projects in Australia and overseas both as an academic and as a consultant. He has also had considerable involvement with forensic geotechnical engineering and matters involving expert witness services for litigation and arbitration.
In February 2012, Professor Johnston was appointed a member of the Technical Review Board which has a primary function to provide independent advice to assist the Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources and industry better manage ground control associated with mining in Victoria, in order to mitigate the risks this presents to public safety, environment, public infrastructure and security of power supply.
Since returning to a full-time academic position in 2009, Professor Johnston has developed a strong interest in direct geothermal energy (or geoexchange) in which the ground relatively close to the surface is used as a source and sink for heat to heat and cool buildings. His rapidly growing research group is developing several instrumented field test sites around Victoria to provide performance data for these systems under varying conditions. It is intended that this data will lead to more efficient and effective design methods for Victorian and Australian conditions.
He has been the recipient of several teaching and research awards including the E.H. Davis Memorial Award from the Australian Geomechanics Society in 1991 for "distinguished recent contributions to the theory and practice of geomechanics in Australia". He was also the recipient of the Australian Geomechanics Society’s highest award, the John Jaeger Memorial Award, in 2012 for “contributions of the highest order over a lifetime commitment to the geotechnical profession in Australia”. He has held offices in several learned societies, professional associations, educational boards, advisory panels and standards committees including the Founding Editor of Australian Geomechanics, Chairman of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering Committee on Soft Rock and Vice President and Board Member for Australasia for the International Society for Rock Mechanics.

Recent Publications

  1. Bidarmaghz A, Narsilio G, Johnston I, Colls S. The importance of surface air temperature fluctuations on long-term performance of vertical ground heat exchangers. GEOMECHANICS FOR ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT. Elsevier Science. 2016, Vol. 6.
  2. Mikhaylova O, Johnston I, Narsilio G. Estimating Uncertainty of the Design Length of Borehole Ground Heat Exchangers. 15th Pan-American Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (PCSMGE) / 8th South American Congress on Rock Mechanics (SCRM). IOS Press. 2015. Editors: Manzanal D, Sfriso AO.
  3. Mikhaylova O, Johnston I, Narsilio G, Kivi AV, Aditya G, Noonan G. Performance of Borehole Ground Heat Exchangers under Thermal Loads from a School Building: Full-scale Experiment in Melbourne, Australia. Proceedings of the World Geothermal Congress. 2015. Editors: Horne R, Boyd T.
  4. Johnston I, Narsilio G, Colls S, Valizadeh Kivi A, Payne R, Wearing-Smith M, Noonan G. Direct Geothermal Energy Demonstration Projects for Victoria, Australia. IPENZ Transactions. IPENZ. 2014, Vol. 41.
  5. Narsilio G, Johnston I. Geothermal Energy for Heating and Cooling: Full-Scale Testing and Numerical Modelling. ISSMGE Bulletin. 2014, Vol. 8, Issue 5.
  6. Narsilio G, Johnston I, Bidarmaghz A, Mikhaylova O, Kiviti-Manor A, Aditya G, Colls S. Geothermal Energy: Introducing an Emerging Technology. International Conference on Advances in Civil Engineering for Sustainable Development (ACESD). 2014, Vol. 1.
  7. Colls S, Johnston I, Narsilio G. Potential benefits of intermittent and hybrid ground-source heat pump system operation. 7th International Congress on Environmental Geotechnics (ICEG). Engineers Australia. 2014. Editors: Bouazza A, Yuen STS, Brown B.
  8. Bidarmaghz A, Narsilio G, Johnston I. Numerical modelling of ground heat exchangers with different ground loop configurations for direct geothermal applications. 18th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ICSMGE). Presses des Ponts. 2013, Vol. 1.
  9. Johnston I, Narsilio G, Colls S, Valizadeh Kivi A, Payne D, Wearing-Smith M, Noonan G. Direct geothermal energy demonstration projects for Victoria, Australia. New Zealand Geothermal Workshop 2012. New Zealand Geothermal Association. 2012.
  10. Narsilio G, Johnston I, Colls S, Bidarmaghz A, Valizadeh Kivi A, Neshastehriz S. Direct geothermal energy research and demonstration projects for Victoria, Australia. 2012 World Congress on Advances in Civil, Environmental, and Materials. KAIST Press. 2012.
  11. Colls S, Johnston I, Narsilio G. Experimental study of ground energy systems in Melbourne, Australia. 11th Australia - New Zealand Conference on Geomechanics (ANZ 2012) Conference Proceedings. ANZ 2012. 2012.
  12. Colls S, Johnston I, Narsilio G. Experimental study of ground energy systems in Melbourne, Australia. Australian Geomechanics. Australian Geomechanics Society. 2012, Vol. 47, Issue 4.
  13. Johnston I. Geothermal energy using ground source heat pumps. New Zealand Geothermal Workshop 2012. New Zealand Geothermal Association. 2012.
  14. Salmon PM, Regan M, Johnston I. Managing road user error in Australia: Where are we now, where are we going and how are we going to get there?. Multimodal Safety Management and Human Factors: Crossing the Borders of Medical, Aviation, Road and Rail Industries. 2012.
  15. Bidarmaghz A, Narsilio G, Johnston I. Numerical modelling of GHE configurations and geometry for direct geothermal applications. 2012 World Congress on Advances in Civil, Environmental, and Materials. KAIST Press. 2012.

Ian Johnston

Level: 02 Room: 205
Engineering Block B, Parkville
University of Melbourne
3010 Australia

T: 9035 8034
F: 8344 4616
E: ianwj@unimelb.edu.au


View a full list of publications on the University of Melbourne’s ‘Find An Expert’ profile