Engineering Department > Structures Group >



Research Interests

  • Earthquake engineering and structural dynamics
  • Assessment and monitoring of existing infrastructure
  • Masonry structures
  • Computational modelling
  • Soil-structure interaction

Research Projects

Dynamics of Rocking Structures
Numerous structures exhibit rocking behaviour during dynamic loading, but prediction and control of the rocking response remains a challenge. Our research aims to understand and characterize rocking motion using analytical dynamics, and to validate and modelling and investigate more complex behavior through computational modelling and experimental testing. In particular, the research aims to identify ground motions to which rocking structures are most vulnerable, and to improve methods for predicting rocking demand, and to design optimized solutions which utilize rocking motion.
Seismic Response of Masonry Structures
Many masonry structures are vulnerable to seismic loading. Our research aims to develop and evaluate methods for predicting the seismic response of masonry structures, particularly to improve methods of predicting the capacity of existing structures to resist collapse. Analytical modelling and Discrete Element Modelling are used to predict seismic response, and experimental testing is used to evaluate modelling predictions.
Tunneling-Induced Structural Damage
Tunnelling causes ground settlement, which is particularly of concern in dense urban environments. Our research uses computational modelling, centrifuge testing, and field data to better understand the interaction between the soil and the structure, and the resulting structural damage. The aim is to improve methods of predicting damage in order to reduce the costs of mitigation methods.
Assessment of Historic Structures
Despite their age and prevalence, the safety of historic stone structures remains difficult to assess. This research aims to improve assessment capabilities, and involve three primary aspects: 1) development of new modelling techniques which focus on structural stability rather than material strength, and 2) evaluation and improvement of Discrete Element Modelling techniques, and 3) improved use of laser-scan data for structural assessment. Applications have included the assessment of an ancient Roman Theatre, historic stone retaining walls, and masonry arch bridges which are prolific throughout the UK.
Computational Modelling of Brittle Structures
Brittle materials exhibit a highly nonlinear response due to a sharp reduction in capacity after cracking occurs. Our research involves the development of simplified methods which use a series of linear analyses to model brittle behaviour, providing an alternative to typical nonlinear iteration procedures. These methods are particularly useful for modelling large-scale structures where significant energy is released during cracking.