Dimitrios KOLYMBAS

Professor at the Division for Geotechnical and Tunnel Engineering
at the Institute of Infrastructure
Faculty of Civil Engineering Sciences
of the University of Innsbruck


Date and place of birth: 1.1.1949, Athens
Address: Institute of Infrastructure, Division for Geotechnical and Tunnel Engineering,
Faculty od Civiel Engineering Sciences, University of Innsbruck
  Techniker Str. 13, A-6020 Innsbruck
Telephone: +43/(0)512/507-6670, Fax: +43/(0)512/507-2996
E-mail: dimitrios.kolymbas@uibk.ac.at
Homepage: http://geotechnik.uibk.ac.at

Home address:


Höhenstr. 120, A-6020 Innsbruck


1954 - 1966:   
School in Athens, German high school in Athens
1966 - 1972: Study of Civil Engineering at the University of Karlsruhe (Germany) with a scholarship of the German Academic Exchange Service
1972 - 1982: Scientific co-worker at the Institute of Soil Mechanics and Rock Mechanics of the University of Karlsruhe
1978: PhD thesis (with honours) at the University of Karlsruhe
1978: Serving with the Greek army
1982 - 1994: Engineer in Chief at the aforementioned institute of the Karlsruhe University
1988: Habilitation thesis
since 1994:

full professor and head of the Division for Geotechnical and Tunnel Engineering at the Institute of Infrastructure, Faculty of Civil Engineering Sciences of the University of Innsbruck (Austria)


The scientific research of D. Kolymbas includes original contributions in the following fields:

  • Mechanical behaviour of soil (constitutive models) and numerical simulations of geotechnical problems. Prof. Kolymbas has invtroduced the theory of hypoplasticity.
  • Stability of anchored retaining walls.
  • Static analysis of tunnels
  • Dynamic pile testing
  • Soil compaction with underground explosions
  • Soil reinforcement Squeezing Anisotropy of rock

The national and EU financial support of his research projects amounts to 1.5 millions EURO. Prof. Kolymbas was coordinator of the EU supported research project "Mechanisms of catastrophic landslides".


From his positions as Engineer in Chief (Karlsruhe) and full professor (Innsbruck) D. Kolymbas has worked out many reports and participated to practical projects. He also acted as technical expert to the court.

For a series of years (1982 - 1994) he was responsible for the site investigation and control of the foundation works for the Neckarwestheim Nuclear Power Plant. This plant has been built on a difficult underground with karst phenomena. The project comprised intensive geotechnical, geodynamic, geophysical and hydrogeological investigations, a 20 m high retaining wall tied back with 100 t anchors, application of geosynthetics, stabilization of high rock slopes as well as the compensation grouting (with "soil fracturing") of the cooling tower.

He participated to the compaction of the lignite mining waste in Lausitz. In particular he took decisive part in the design and control of deep soil compaction by means of underground explosions.

He worked out studies for the construction of road and rail tracks in North and South Tyrol, among them a full geotechnical report for a part of the Italian National Road SS12 near Bolzano.

He was consultant to the Community of Innsbruck for the stability of underground space.

Prof. Kolymbas has also participated in tunnel projects for the Athens circumferential motorway, for the railway track Stuttgart-Mannheim, Landecker Tunnel, Tithorea-Domokos Tunnel and was consultant to the Greek Railways Systems Management S.A. (ERGOSE) for tunnel projects.


The following books of D. Kolymbas have been published by the well known European publishers Springer and Elsevier:

  1. Pfahlgründungen (Pile Foundations), Springer, 1989
  2. Geotechnik - Bodenmechanik und Grundbau (Geotechnical Engineering - Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering), Springer, 1998
  3. Geotechnik - Tunnelbau und Tunnelmechanik (Geotechnical Engineering - Tunnelling and Tunnelling Mechanics), Springer, 1998
  4. Modern Approaches to Plasticity (editor), Elsevier, 1993
  5. Constitutive Modelling of Granular Materials (editor), Springer, 2000
  6. Introduction to Hypoplasticity, Balkema, 2000
  7. Compactions of Soils, Granulates and Powders, Balkema, 2000
  8. Tunnelling Mechanics, Eurosummerschool, Innsbruck, 2001, Logos, 2000
  9. Rational Tunnelling Summerschool, Innsbruck, Logos, 2003
  10. Advanced Mathematical and Computational Geomechanics, Springer, 2003
  11. Fractals in geotechnical engineering: exploratory workshop, Innsbruck 2003, Logos, 2004
  12. Rational Tunnelling: 2nd Summerschool, Innsbruck, 2005, Logos, 2005
  13. Tunnelling and Tunnel Mechanics, A Rational Approach to Tunnelling, Springer, 2005
  14. Geotechnik: Bodenmechanik, Grundbau und Tunnelbau, 2. korr. u. erg. Aufl., Springer, 2007
  15. Tunnelling and Tunnel Mechanics: A Rational Approach to Tunnelling. Springer, 2008
  16. Geotechnik. Bodenmechanik, Grundbau und Tunnelbau. Dordrecht - Heidelberg - London - New York - Berlin: Springer. 3., neu bearbeitete Auflage, 2011
  17. Geotechnik. Bodenmechanik, Grundbau und Tunnelbau, 4. Aufl., Berlin Springer Verlag, 2016


more than 100 papers published in journals and conference proceedings (see list of publications)


He delivered more than 50 talks in universities and conferences in Europe, Russia, China, Japan, Australia, USA and Canada.


D. Kolymbas is member of the following scientific corporations:

  • International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering
  • International Society of Rock Mechanics
  • German Society for Geotechnical Engineering
  • ALERT (Alliance of Laboratories in Europe for Research and Technology).
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