Research Focus: Structural Engineering


StructuralAdvanced Structural Materials and Systems
Innovations in materials and system design fabrication and construction are the focus of this research area. The goal of the research is to develop structures for the infrastructure that are more efficient and economical to construct, more durable and adaptable over their life-cycle, and more resistant to infrastructure hazards.

In addition to structural engineering faculty from the CEE department, this research area involves faculty and students from the Materials Science and Engineering and the Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics departments at Lehigh.

Recent and current research at Lehigh in this area is developing next-generation steel, reinforced concrete, and fiber composite material systems for the infrastructure. New highway bridge systems using these materials are being developed and advanced to practice through demonstration and other projects. New ship structural systems are being developed in cooperation with the U.S. Navy. New concepts in steel and in precast concrete earthquake-resistant structural systems have been pioneered at Lehigh and are being studied through laboratory and numerical simulations. Blast-resistant coatings are being developed for protection of existing structures.


Simulation, Measurement, and Evaluation
Accurate evaluation is essential to advancing the performance of structural materials and systems. This research area focuses on the methods and equipment used to evaluate that performance. These include laboratory simulations, numerical simulations, laboratory and in-situ (in the field) measurements, non-destructive evaluation, and damage assessment.

Recent and current research at Lehigh in this area is developing hybrid (laboratory and numerical) simulations of the effects of earthquakes and other hazards on structures. Much of this work is conducted as part of the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation program, NEES@Lehigh. New methods of measuring and assessing the in-situ performance of structures are being developed. New non-destructive methods for assessment of the condition of existing concrete and steel structures are being developed and utilized. Numerous projects are utilizing these measurement methods to assess existing structures in the laboratory and in the field, including several major suspension bridges in the U.S.

A new soil-structure interaction facility with large-scale testing capabilities is under construction. The facility consists of large-scale soil boxes with advanced sensors and instrumentation used in soil-structure interaction research. This soil-structure interaction facility focuses on testing deep and shallow foundation systems subjected to vertical and lateral loads, retaining structures and underground structures.

In addition to structural and geotechnical engineering faculty from the CEE department, this research area involves faculty and students from the Materials Science and Engineering and the Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics departments at Lehigh.


Infrastructure Reliability, Maintenance, and Life-Cycle Performance
This research area focuses on life-cycle performance, safety, reliability, and risk of civil and marine infrastructure systems; on the analysis, design, construction, assessment, inspection, maintenance, operation, monitoring, repair, rehabilitation, and optimal planning and management of structural systems and distributed infrastructure networks under uncertainty; on how to predict robustness, redundancy, resilience and the remaining life of deteriorating structures under multiple hazards; on the optimization of life-cycle performance of structures and infrastructures under multiple conflicting objectives; and on risk-based decision-making in structural and marine engineering.

In addition to structural engineering faculty from the CEE department, this research area involves faculty and students from the Computer Science and Engineering and the Industrial and Systems Engineering departments at Lehigh.

Current research at Lehigh in this area is developing methods for design, evaluation, and life-cycle maintenance planning based on optimization and system reliability. Models and simulation methods for managing individual bridges, bridge networks, distributed infrastructure lifelines, and marine structures based on life-cycle performance, reliability and cost are being developed. Life-cycle reliability-based evaluation of deteriorating civil and marine structures and methods for optimal management of infrastructure assets are being developed, and life-cycle engineering assessment tools for facilities are being investigated.


Infrastructure Multi-hazard Mitigation
This research area focuses on the protection of large structures and other elements of the infrastructure from hazards such as earthquakes, blast, impact, and fire.

In addition to structural engineering faculty from the CEE department, this research area involves faculty and students from the Materials Science and Engineering and the Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics departments at Lehigh.

Recent and current research at Lehigh in this area is developing innovative steel and precast concrete earthquake-resistant structural systems, and damper systems to protect structures against earthquakes. Numerical simulations of the effects of fire on structures are being developed and laboratory research on fire effects is being planned. Laboratory research on impact loads on fiber-composite panels for ships are being conducted. The behavior of structural materials at high rates of loading, similar to those observed under blast loads, is being investigated. Blast-resistant coatings are being developed for protection of existing structures.


Intelligent Infrastructure Systems
This research area focuses on superstructure and foundation systems with sensing, data processing, and communication devices that measure and communicate structural response; and/or actuators or other control devices to modify structural response.

In addition to structural engineering faculty from the CEE department, this research area involves faculty and students from the Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, the Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Computer Science and Engineering departments at Lehigh.

Recent and current research at Lehigh in this area is developing methods for compressing sensor data for remote transmission, for damage detection, and for interactive retrieval of structural health monitoring data. A piezoelectric paint sensor for real-time crack detection is being developed. Wireless technology for communicating structure and foundation monitoring data is being evaluated and deployed in field monitoring projects. A smart structures sensing technology teaching laboratory has been established.


Faculty Engaged in Structural Research

Bocchini

Paolo Bocchini, Ph.D., University of Bologna, 2008, Assistant Professor. Research interests include computational mechanics, probabilistic structural analysis, structural reliability, resilience and sustainability of infrastructure systems, bridge network analysis, structural health monitoring by guided ultrasonic waves.

Fisher

John W. Fisher, Ph.D., Lehigh, 1964, Professor Emeritus. Research interests include structural connections; fatigue behavior of welded components; fracture analysis of steel structures; and behavior and performance of steel bridges.

Frangopol

Dan M. Frangopol, Sc.D., University of Liège, Belgium, 1976, Professor, Fazlur Rahman Khan Endowed Chair. Research interests include safety and reliability in structural engineering; optimal design and maintenance of civil infrastructure systems; bridge engineering and management based on life-cycle cost; damage assessment and safety evaluation of existing structures; and life-cycle performance-based reliability assessment of buildings, bridges, and marine structures.

Lu

Le-Wu Lu, Ph.D., Lehigh, 1960, Professor Emeritus. Research interests include seismic response of building structures; precast concrete structures; innovative structural systems; composite steel-concrete structures; structural connections; and repair and retrofit of structures.

Mueller

Peter Mueller, Dr. sc. techn., ETH, Zurich, 1978, Associate Professor. Research interests include behavior of reinforced and prestressed concrete structures and truss models for concrete connections.

Naito

Clay Naito, Ph.D., P.E., University of California – Berkeley, 2000, Associate Professor. Research interests include experimental and analytical evaluation of reinforced and prestressed concrete structures subjected to extreme events, including earthquakes and intentional blast demands.

Pakzad

Shamim N. Pakzad, Ph.D., University of California – Berkeley, 2008, P. C. Rossin Assistant Professor. Research interests include structural health monitoring; wireless sensor networks; damage detection; system identification and signal processing; probabilistic methods in civil engineering and structural reliability; random vibrations and structural dynamics; and structural monitoring of large infrastructures and bridges.

Pessiki

Stephen Pessiki; Ph.D., Cornell, 1990, Professor. Research interests include behavior and design of structures; nondestructive evaluation of materials and structures; fire effects on structures; earthquake engineering; innovative building systems; and thermal performance of building envelopes.

Quiel

Spencer Quiel, Ph.D., P.E., Princeton University, 2009, Assistant Professor. Research interests include structural resistance to extreme loads, particularly fire and blast; design of structures to resist progressive collapse; structural robustness and resilience; and the development of improved design standards via experimental testing and computational analysis.

Ricles

James M. Ricles, Ph.D., University of California – Berkeley, 1987, Bruce G. Johnston Endowed Professor. Research interests include seismic response and retrofit of steel or composite steel-concrete connections, components and systems; innovative advanced structural systems for seismic hazard mitigation; real-time hybrid testing for simulation of dynamic loading; structural applications of advanced materials; behavior of steel structures at elevated temperatures; and repair of damaged or deteriorated offshore structures.

Sause

Richard Sause, Ph.D., University of California – Berkeley, 1989, Joseph T. Stuart Professor. Research interests include application of high-performance materials; innovative structural systems; highway bridges and structures; earthquake-resistant and blast-resistant structures; and simulation of structural dynamic response.

Suleiman

Muhannad Suleiman, Ph.D., Iowa State University, 2002, Assistant Professor. Research interests include soil-structure interaction; foundation engineering; underground structures; ground improvement; advanced sensors and instrumentation; pervious concrete; and sustainable geotechnical and foundation systems.

ATLSS

John L. Wilson, Ph.D., Pittsburgh, 1972, Professor. Research interests include collaborative information systems; computer modeling of complex systems; life-cycle process models; and behavior of structural members and systems.

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