David Mays, PhD, PE
Professor of Civil Engineering

This website describes my research, teaching, and service at the University of Colorado Denver since 2005. I invite you to explore the sections below on Publications, Research, Service, and Teaching. For complete details, please consult my curriculum vitae.


My group applies ideas from complex systems science to flow in porous media: aquifers, soils, and granular media filters. The premise for this approach is that advances in porous media technology—such as groundwater remediation, aquifer storage and recovery, or geothermal energy—are possible using simple ideas from complex systems science. In particular, we study how the fractal dimension of colloid deposits controls permeability, and we use chaotic advection to amplify plume spreading for accelerated chemical reactions in porous media.

My group has also been active in other environmental hydrology research, including the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas, contaminant transport in urban watersheds, and water administration in Colorado.

My research program has received over $1.8 million in external funding to date (plus additional support for collaborators). Granting agencies include the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. For details, please click the publications or research sections below. 


It has been my honor and privilege to teach hundreds of students since 1995 when I joined Teach for America. My current teaching portfolio includes fluid mechanics, water supply and distribution systems, and hydrology (surface water, groundwater, and vadose zone). For details on each on these classes—including the syllabus, software, reading, and homework for each—please click the teaching section below.‚Äč

I am the civil engineering advisor for a first-of-its kind, NSF-funded certificate program on Environmental Stewardship of Indigenous Lands (ESIL). For more details, please visit the ESIL website.

photo of David Mays, civil engineering