Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Materials

Research in Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Materials in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) includes theoretical, computational and experimental investigations in areas such as fiber reinforced polymer composites, smart reinforced concrete buildings, seismic response of deteriorated reinforced concrete bridge components, strength and stability design of steel structures, structural damage identification and quantification, smart materials and earthquake resistant design of buildings and bridges, analysis of civil infrastructure against natural and man-made hazards using advanced finite element analysis techniques, and the use of multiscale modeling and simulation techniques to develop innovative and bioinspired structural materials with advanced material functions.

Research on the use of fiber reinforced polymer composites in highway bridges involves smart application of carbon fiber strips/sheets for strengthening applications, and the use of glass fiber bars as concrete reinforcement for bridges in corrosive environments. Such applications would extend the service life of highway bridges, particularly, bridge decks subjected to deicing salts.

Though frequency of earthquake occurrences and the expected ground accelerations in NYS are lower than those of western states, the potential for earthquake damage in or around NYS is still very real. Given the level of deterioration in many reinforced concrete bridges in NYS, they are considered very vulnerable to major damage during a moderate seismic event. The research on seismic response of deteriorated reinforced concrete bridge components offers guidelines for seismic evaluation and retrofit of deteriorated reinforced concrete bridge members.

Research on steel structures involves proposing novel approaches to enhance the structure’s strength, stability and constructability, as well as recommending refined methodologies for performing limit states and performance-based design. Another area of steel structures research is the use of information on perturbations in system dynamic parameters to develop damage identification and evaluation models for locating and quantifying structural damage, and the application of smart materials such as shape memory alloys in regulating the static and dynamic response of steel frames.

Current work on earthquake resistant design includes developing numerical and empirical models to evaluate the effect of negative stiffness dampers on structural response, investigating the effectiveness of a novel segmented energy absorbing steel plate shear wall to reduce earthquake damage to buildings, using wavelet transform and endurance time analysis method to assess structural vulnerability, exploring the use of snap-through and snap-back instability to dissipate energy imparted to a structure, and developing a framework for dual-hazard (wind and earthquake) analysis and design of buildings and bridges.

Research on finite element analysis involves high fidelity modeling of building envelopes and glazing systems fracture patterns under high dynamic loads, performing progressive collapse analysis on civil infrastructure systems (e.g. bridges) due to a fire or corrosion, conducting failure and vulnerability assessment of critical infrastructure systems (e.g. offshore oil platforms) due to blast or fire.

Research on multiscale modeling and simulation includes molecular modeling of natural and synthetic/nano-materials to reveal how chemical structures are related to their mechanical, thermal, and biological functions, development of atomistically-informed coarse-grained and continuum models for large-scale modeling of complex composites of hierarchical structures, the use of additive manufacturing and material synthesis to produce lightweight materials with enhanced mechanical and thermal properties (e.g., high strength, high toughness, good thermal insulation, capable of multifunctionality).

Critical civil infrastructure systems are essential to a nation’s economic growth, security and health.  They need to be resilient, reliable, efficient, and require systematic monitoring, maintenance and retrofitting. The aforementioned research addresses these various aspects of civil infrastructures, and our structured academic programs are designed to prepare graduates for challenging and rewarding careers.