David Mpye

Dr David Mpye is a Civil Engineer, who obtained his BEng (Civil Engineering) in 2011 at the University of Pretoria. Upon that, as a Transnet Freight Rail bursar, he joined the company in Johannesburg at the Track Testing Centre.
In 2012, he completed his BEng (Hons) in Transportation Engineering at the University of Pretoria specialising in Railway Engineering. In 2013, he enrolled at the University of Stellenbosch, and in 2015 he completed his MEng in Geotechnical Engineering, where in the dissertation, he developed an analytical model for investigating the mathematical relationship between the SPT and the DPSH.
In March 2016, he joined the University of Pretoria as an Academic. During the year of 2017, he spent it at Durham University, in the United Kingdom as a visiting scholar, focusing on developing a research proposal in unsaturated soils and finite element modelling. Upon returning to South Africa in February 2018, he registered as a PhD Candidate with the University of Pretoria. The PhD thesis titled “the effect of increased axle loading on saturated and unsaturated railway foundation materials” was submitted in December 2020 and the PhD degree was conferred in April 2021. He is author and co-author of journal and conference articles particularly in railway and geotechnical engineering.
Dr David Mpye is an associate member with the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE), and is a registered Professional Engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA).


Current Teaching Duties

  • SKE 220: Civil Engineering Services
  • SJJ 310: Professional communication for Civil Engineers
  • SSC 410: Research project

Current Research Interests

  • Railway Engineering
  • Pavement Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering



Mpye, G.D. (2021). The effect of increased axle loading on saturated and unsaturated railway foundation materials. PhD Thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa http://hdl.handle.net/2263/78939

Mpye, G.D. & Gräbe, P. J. (2021). The effect of increased axle loading on the bahavior of heavily overconsolidated railway foundations materials. Transportation Geotechnics, Vol.27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trgeo.2020.100493  

Mpye G.D. (2015). An analytic study of the relationship between the dynamic probe super heavy and the standard penetration test using statistics and mathematics-based model. MEng dissertation, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Mpye. G.D., Steyn. WJdM & Maina J.M. (2017). Developing a new generation of African Engineering Academics, Proceedings of the 8th African Transportation Technology Transfer, Livingstone, Zambia, 8-10 May 2017. ISBN: 978-9982-70-259-1

Vandroone, R., Mpye, G.D. & Gräbe, P.J. (2017). Permanent and resilient deformation behaviour of heavy-haul formation materials subjected to environment changes, Proceedings of 11th International Heavy Association Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, 8-10 May 2017, pp. 383-393. ISBN: 978-0-911-382-66-2

Gräbe, P.J., Mpye, G.D. and Vandoorne, R. (2020). Railway Roadbed Characterisation and Performance Monitoring. Proceedings of the AREMA Railway Roadbed & Ballast Symposium, 10-12 February 2020, Kansas City, USA, pp. 238-254.

Mpye, G. D. & Gräbe, P. J. (2021). Advanced triaxial testing for resilient and permanent deformation behaviour of railway foundation materials subjected to increased axle loading. P.J. Gräbe & R.D. Fröhling (Editors), Proceeding of the 2nd Southern African Heavy Haul Associations Technical Conference, pp. 201-205. ISBN: 978-0-620-97887-3

Gräbe, P.J., Mpye, G.D., Vandroone, R., Broekman, A., Pienaar, D., Hawley, C. & van Schalkwyk, H. (2021). Advancing the digital railway with 4IR technologies. Magazine of South African Institution of Civil Engineering, Vol. 29, No. 4., pp 30-35. ISSN 2021-2000

Mpye, G.D. & Gräbe, P.J. (2023) "The behaviour of railway formation materials at increased axle loading from 20 to 26 tonnes per axle". J. Pombo, (Editor), Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Railway Technology: Research, Development and Maintenance, Civil-Comp Press, Edinburgh, UK, Online volume: CCC 1, Paper 3.3, 2022, https:doi:10.4203/ccc.1.3.3. ISSN 2753-3239 

Mpye, G.D. & Gräbe, P.J. (2023). The critical state line as a key to the behaviour of railway foundation materials under increased axle loading. Proceedings of the 12th International Heavy Haul Conference, pp. 626-633, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 27 – 31 August 2023. ISBN: 978-0-7961-2342-8

Mpye, G.D. (2023). Effect of increased axle on railway foundation materials based on cyclic triaxial tests and stress state boundaries. Proceedings of the 10th South African Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference, George, Western Cape, South Africa, 13-15 September 2023.

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