Chu-Lin Cheng


Associate Professor, SEEMS

(956) 665-2464

Department: SEEMS
Office: ESCNE 2.617
Location: Edinburg

UTRGV Faculty Profile

Curriculum Vitae



Areas of Interest

  • Water Resources Research
  • Contaminant Fate and Transport in Natural and Engineered Environment
  • Groundwater Monitoring and Modeling
  • Groundwater-Surface Water Interactions
  • Geo-Environmental Engineering (Groundwater Contamination and Remediation)
  • Geo-Hydrology and Engineering Geology
  • Hazardous Waste Management
  • Vadose Zone Hydrology (Soil Physics and Hydrology)
  • Geo-Energy Resources


  • 2009 Ph.D. Environmental Science/Engineering, Iowa State University
  • 2006 M.S. Water Resources and Geology, Iowa State University
  • 1998 M.S. Hydrogeology, National Cheng-Kung University
  • 1996 B.S. Earth Science, National Cheng-Kung University

Research Overview


The research focuses of my group are primarily on fluid flow and contaminant transport (i.e., water, oil/hydrocarbons, solutes) in the Environment and in natural/engineered porous media over different scales (e.g., Water-Energy-Food nexus).

My graduate and undergraduate students primarily conduct field-/lab-/computer-based research that involves one or more of the following basic components: field mapping/data collection of hydrologic systems, hydro-geological data analysis, lab water and/or porous media analysis, GIS and/or numerical analysis of hydrologic systems. Data collected serve to answer questions related to water flow and contaminant transport fate and remediation processes, groundwater-surface water or eco-system interactions.

Research interests/projects include Water Resources Research, Energy Resources (petroleum/geothermal), Contaminant Fate and Transport (Water and Waste Management), Numerical Modeling, Geo/Hydro-informatics, Groundwater Hydrology and Surface Water Interactions, Ecohydrology, Soil Hydrology, Carbon Sequestration, Geothermal, and Applications of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) in natural and engineered porous media/environment. Prior to UTRGV (joined UTPA in Fall 2014), I was a joint postdoctoral researcher in the Environmental Sciences Division, Climate Change Science Institute at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (DOE), and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

I am always looking for highly motivated students who are passionate about applied environmental geosciences and engineering. Numerous graduate funding and support are available. Please call or email for more information. I would love to talk to you about my active research projects or about your own research interests.

For student opportunities and a complete list of research projects and publications, please visit my website:



  • Sergio Mireles, Jason Parsons, Tarek Trad, Chu-Lin Cheng, and Jihoon Kang. "Lead removal from aqueous soluctions using biochars derived from corn stover, orange peel and pistachio shell," International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology (January (1st Quarter/Winter) 2019).
    J. Zhong, T. Yu, C. Clark, B. English, J. Larson, and Chu-Lin Cheng. "Effect of Land Use Change for Bioenergy Production on Feedstock Cost and Water Quality," Applied Energy--Special Issue on "Energy-Water-Food Nexus" (2018).
  • Chu-Lin Cheng, C Cropper, E. Perfect, L. McKay, and M. Kang. "Upscaling Capillary Pressure - Saturation Parameters at Different Pressure Reference Elevations," Vadose Zone Journal 16, no. 8 (August 2017).
  • S. Mireles, Y. Ok, Chu-Lin Cheng, and Jihoon Kang. "Adsorptive and kinetic characterization of aqueous zinc removal by biochars," SDRP Journal of Earth Sciences and Environmental Studies 1, no. 3 (2016): 1-7.
  • B Donnelly, Edmund Perfect, LD McKay, PJ Lemiszki, VH DiStefano, LM Anovitz, J McFarlane, RE Hale, and Chu-Lin Cheng. "Capillary pressure-saturation relationships for gas shales measured using a water activity meter," Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering 33, (2016): 1342-1352.
  • Wei W., J. Cai, X. Hu, P. Fan, Q. Han, J. Lu, Chu-Lin Cheng, and F. Zhou. 2015. A numerical study on fractal dimensions of a current streamlines in two-dimensional and three-dimensional pore fractal models of porous media. Fractals.
    Chu-Lin Cheng, E. Perfect, B. Donnelly, H.Z. Bilheux, A.S. Tremsin, L.D. McKay, V.H. DiStefano, J.C. Cai, and L.J. Santodonato. "Rapid imbibition of water in fractures within unsaturated sedimentary rock," Advances in Water Resources 77, no. 0 (2015): 82-89.
  • M Kang, E Perfect, Chu-Lin Cheng, HZ Bilheux, J Lee, J Horita, and JM Warren. "Multiple pixel-scale soil water retention curves quantified by neutron radiography," Advances in Water Resources 65, (2014): 1-8.
  • Cai J., E. Perfect, C.L. Cheng, and X. Hu. 2014. Generalized Modeling of Spontaneous Imbibition Based on Hagen–Poiseuille Flow in Tortuous Capillaries with Variably Shaped Apertures. Langmuir 30(18), 5142-5151.
  • E Perfect, Chu-Lin Cheng, M Kang, HZ Bilheux, JM Lamanna, MJ Gragg, and DM Wright. "Neutron imaging of hydrogen-rich fluids in geomaterials and engineered porous media: A review," Earth-Science Reviews 129, (2014): 120-135.
  • Chu-Lin Cheng, E Perfect, and R Mills. "Forward Prediction of Height-Averaged Capillary Pressure-Saturation Parameters Using the BC-vG Upscaler," Vadose Zone Journal 12, no. 3 (2013).
  • Jeffrey Warren, Hassina Bilheux, Misun Kang, Sophie Voisin, Chu-Lin Cheng, Juske Horita, and Edmund Perfect. "Neutron imaging reveals internal plant water dynamics," Plant and soil 366, no. 1-2 (2013): 683-693.

    Recent Presentations

  • Leslie Soto-Sanchez and Chu-Lin Cheng. "Quantification of groundwater-surface water interactions through hyporheic flow: A Pilot Study of Resacas in Lower Rio Grande, TX," The Geological Society of America, South-Central Section Annual Meeting, Geological Society of America (GSA), South-Central Section, (March 2020)
  • Eli Gonzalez, Leslie Soto-Sanchez, and Chu-Lin Cheng. "Building Community-Based Water Resource Sustainability and Resilience: A Case Study of Shallow Groundwater Availability and Vulnerability in South Texas," The Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Geological Society of America (GSA), Phoenix, Arizona (September 2019)
  • Chu-Lin Cheng. "Building community-based sustainability and resilience for water resource management and education: Case studies in Lower Rio Grande Valley," Texas Water Research Network Meeting, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX (May 2019)
  • Abdullah Fatta, Chu-Lin Cheng, and Jungseok Ho. "Comparison of the effectiveness of conventional and Low Impact Development (LID) stormwater management practices on watershed flood control using SWMM modeling," 21st Annual Water Quality Management and Planning Conference, SPI, TX (May 2019)
  • Jevon Harding, Andreas Guevara Nadeau, Leslie Soto-Sanchez, and Chu-Lin Cheng. "Conjunctive water resource management and contaminant transport simulations: A case study in Donna reservoir," 21st Annual Water Quality Management and Planning Conference, SPI, TX (May 2019)

Present Courses

  • CIVE 6345 - Geo-Environmental Engineering
  • EEMS 6330 - Hydrologic Systems
  • ENVR 3301 - Natural Resources Conservation
  • ENVR 4303 - Environmental Sciences Research Project
  • ENVR 4304 - Environmental Science Internship
  • ENVR 4323 - Soil Physics & Hydrology
  • ENVR 4370 - Topics in Environmental Sciences
  • ENVR 5370 - Topics in Environmental Sciences (Environmental Flow & Contaminant Transport)
  • GEOL 3402 - Hydrologic Systems
  • GEOL 4309 - Undergraduate Research in Geoscience