Category Advances in. Engineering Structures,. Mechanics &. Construction


Prompted by Dean Sherbourne, a group of UW faculty decided to formalize the voluntary cooperation of members in the Civil and Mechanical Engineering Departments into a research unit, the Solid Mechanics Division (SMD). Its goal was to establish a centre of excellence in solid mechanics at the University of Waterloo (UW) by enriching the existing research and teaching programs. While the main emphasis was placed on the human factor (i. e., attracting outstanding visiting professors, research fellows and graduate students), serious consideration was also given to modernizing laboratory facilities and expanding the working environment and supporting staff.

Implementation of these general objectives was detailed in an application to the National Research Council (NRC) for a major negotiated grant to UW, aiming at the creation and development of SMD. In April 1968, NRC announced the three-year award of Grant D-10 in the amount of $600,000. The funds were to be expended in installments of $100,000, $200,000 and $300,000 in each year of the award term. It was the understanding of the grant applicants and of the Dean of Engineering that, whereas Grant D-10 was to help establish SMD as a centre of excellence, by the very nature of the grant UW was committed to ensuring its continuing existence and development through appropriate support and funding at the end of the award term.

Thus, SMD was brought to life in the spring of 1968 by a decision of the University Board of Governors and the generous NRC award of Development Grant D-10. One of the first tasks of the SMD steering group was to establish an administrative structure that could implement the stated objectives under the terms of Grant D-10. After considering to offer the chair to a distinguished foreign academic, the group ultimately decided to nominate, and the Faculty of Engineering appointed, M. Z. Cohn to fill that position for three years.

The founding SMD membership included Professors S. T. Ariaratnam, D. J. Burns, R. Green, N. C. Lind, J. T. Pindera, H. B. Poorooshasb, A. N. Sherbourne, T. H. Topper, and the founding SMD Chair, M. Z. Cohn. Other members that joined SMD soon thereafter and over the next few years were Professors E. F. P. Burnett, R. Dubey, G. M. L. Gladwell, D. E. Grierson, K. Huseyin, H. H. E. Leipholz, G. M. McNeice, T. P. Prasad, J. Roorda, R. M. Schuster and J. C. Thompson. It is of interest to note that the initial and early SMD membership was comprised of individuals from several different departments of the faculty of engineering, including Civil, Mechanical and Systems Engineering.

The SMD founding group and chairman agreed on a few basic operational principles:

• Minimal administration and formalism;

• Expectation of performance from key members with authority and responsibility;

• Clarity of objectives for efficient implementation.

The SMD operation was to be ensured by the following elements:

• Executive Committee, responsible for planning, funding and deciding on all activities;

• Publication Committee, in charge of policy matters for production of SMD publications;

• Area Representatives, responsible for initiating and overseeing activities in each

area of concern (i. e., structures, computer analysis and design, geotechnical, mechanics, experimental mechanics, etc);

• Task Officers, responsible for three SMD major tasks: Publications, Seminars and Library.

Main operational features were the complete decision transparency of its working committees and total initiative and authority of each task officer. Monthly SMD meetings – not exceeding one hour – were planned and rigorously held in order to keep members informed in a timely manner on all matters of general concern.

D. E. Grierson was appointed as Publications Officer, a capacity in which he served throughout the life of SMD. Over the years he was assisted by a dedicated production staff, A special contribution was brought by D. Bartholomew of UW Graphic Services who designed the SM Studies jackets and all publication formats. His response to our exigencies produced the SM Logo shown in Figure 1, that soon become our well-recognized and proud emblem on all SMD printed output.

Figure 1. SM Logo

Bi-monthly SMD Seminars, initiated and regularly held on Mondays at 3:30-5:00 p. m., became a permanent entry in our calendars. SMD staff ensured the conservation and growth of library collections that included our own publications series, as well as solid mechanics volumes and journals donated by members.

Plenary Presentations


Mircea Z. Cohn and Donald E. Grierson

Civil Engineering Department, University of Waterloo, Canada

"In order that they may live and bring forth life, generations must continue to meet, and the teaching assume the form of a human link, awakening and activating our bond with our Father. The spark that leaps from him who teaches to him who learns rekindles a spark of that fire which lifted the mountain of revelation to the very heart of heaven… " (Buber,1956).

Initial planning for the formation of the Solid Mechanics Division (SMD) at the University of Waterloo began in 1966, and it was implemented into a formal entity following the award of a National Research Council of Canada Development Grant in 1968. Upon the departure and retirement of many of its initial members over the next thirty years, SMD was reconstituted in the mid-1990s as the Structures Mechanics & Construction Division (SMCD) to reflect the changing research interests of its more recent and new members. The collective research work of both SMD and SMCD has resulted in many publications and valuable contributions to the progress of engineering structures, mechanics and construction. This paper presents a 40-year historical perspective through to 2006 of this activity at the University of Waterloo.

1. Introduction

In the early 1960s, the University of Waterloo was only a few years old and its Faculty of Engineering was just about to produce its first graduates. D. T. Wright, the founding dean and subsequently the University’s third president, brought to the Faculty a number of promising scholars from around the world, and thus opened the prospects of vigorous progress in its innovative cooperative programs in engineering.

The Civil and Mechanical Engineering Departments acquired at the time a group of young faculty members eager to realize their academic potential and widen their research horizons. Under the leadership of A. N. Sherbourne, the next Dean of Engineering, new ways for enhancing existing capabilities of the two departments were explored. Their parallel or intersecting areas of activity in Mathematics, Theoretical and Experimental Mechanics, Soil Mechanics, Structural and Machine Analysis and Design, Material Science and Technology, etc., suggested that considerable benefits could be expected from closer cooperation and coordination of activities for groups with similar interests in the two departments.

Dean Sherbourne advanced the concept of bringing the above disciplines under a broad umbrella organism, that came to be known as the SOLID MECHANICS DIVISION (SMD), and initiated efforts to define its goals, structure and mode of operation, as well as means of formalizing its creation.

This paper describes the beginning, growth and maturing of SMD, as well as that of its successor, the STRUCTURES MECHANICS and CONSTRUCTION DIVISION (SMCD). The presentation gives a brief historical overview of these entities, offers a permanent record of results of their activities, examines the causes of related successes and failures, and draws some possible lessons from the first four decades of this academic experience.


M. Pandey et al. (eds), Advances in Engineering Structures, Mechanics & Construction, 3-29.

© 2006 Springer. Printed in the Netherlands.


This volume is dedicated to Professor Donald E. Grierson to celebrate his long career as a distin­guished engineer, researcher, and educator on the occasion of his retirement. Professor Grierson has been a faculty member in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Waterloo, Canada, since receiving his Ph. D. degree there in 1968.

Professor Grierson has held visiting appointments at various engineering institutions in North America and abroad, including the University of California at Berkeley in the USA in 1970/71, Imperial College in England in 1974, University of Liege in Belgium in 1975, Politecnico di Milano in Italy in 1975, University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in the USA in 1979/80, National Defense Academy of Japan in 1986, Heriot-Watt University in Scotland in 1991, the University of Brescia in Italy in 1992, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in 2001, and the Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland in 2004.

In his thirty-eight years of academic career, Professor Grierson has carried out research and made significant contributions in many areas of structural engineering; among these are structural plasticity, structural optimization, evolutionary computing, failure-load analysis, fail-safe design, performance-based seismic design, design under abnormal loading, and computational conceptual design. Some of his notable contributions include deformation analysis of elasticplastic frames, optimal design of structural steel frameworks, optimal sizing, geometrical and topological design, and progressive-failure analysis of buildings subjected to abnormal loading. His erudite knowledge of structural optimization and profound insight into structural plasticity, engineering computing, and structural design have been amply demonstrated through his approximately 200 research articles in internationally renowned scientific and engineering journals, and conference proceedings. His research work and that of his students is the basis for structural steel design software used in North American engineering institutions and consulting offices since the 1980s.

Professor Grierson received the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering E. Whitman Wright Award in 1995 for excellence in computer-aided design. He was the co-recipient of the American So­ciety of Civil Engineering State-of-the-Art Award in 1998 and 2004 for his contributions in structural optimization and optimal structural design. He was honoured by the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineering with the Distinguished Service Award in 2003. He has been a member of a number of professional societies, editorial boards of international scientific journals, international scientific committees and organizing committees for international meetings.

Not only is Professor Grierson a leading researcher in applied mechanics and structural en­gineering, he is also an eminent educator. Professor Grierson has given invited lectures at many universities and institutions, and has been a keynote speaker in a goodly number of international conferences. Professor Grierson has devoted his academic career to the promotion of the discipline of computer-aided structural analysis and design through teaching and training of highly qualified re­searchers. He has supervised nearly forty graduate students, many undergraduate research assistants, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting scholars. Professor Grierson’s influence on students was enormous. Innumerable students and researchers have benefited through his lectures, presentations, discussions, and writings. Professor Grierson was an early contributor to the Solid Mechanics Division, and was instrumental in the reformation of the Structures, Mechanics & Construction Division of the

University of Waterloo. He has demonstrated exceptional leadership in mentoring young faculty members. His passion for teaching and dissemination of knowledge was honored by the Sandford Fleming Foundation Teaching Excellence Award in 2002 in recognition of an exemplary record of outstanding teaching, concern for students and a commitment to the development and enrichment of engineering education.

Professor Grierson’s achievements over many years and in many ways demonstrate that his qualities as a scholar, educator, and contributor are of the highest level. His academic career as a researcher and teacher is exemplary for his colleagues and engineers of younger generations in terms of teaching and learning, research and scholarship, leadership and service to society.

Advances in Engineering Structures, Mechanics & Construction

This volume is the proceedings of the International Conference on Advances in Engineering Structures, Mechanics & Construction, convened at the University of Waterloo on May 14-17,2006.

The conference was held to celebrate forty years of related research achievement at the University of Waterloo. The Solid Mechanics Division (SMD) of the university was founded in 1966 as a research centre of excellence. During the next three decades, SMD hosted many scientific visitors from around the world and held more than a dozen international conferences, lecture series and symposia on a diverse range of topics in mechanics and structural engineering. Upon the retirement of many of its founding members in the 1990s, SMD was renamed the Structures, Mechanics & Construction Division (SMCD) to reflect the changing research interests of its newer members.

The conference also celebrated the academic career of Professor Donald E. Grierson as a distin­guished researcher and educator. Professor Grierson has been a faculty member of the Department of Civil Engineering and SMD/SMCD of the University of Waterloo since 1968. He was an early contributor to the Solid Mechanics Division in the 1960s, and was pivotal in the reformation of the Structures, Mechanics & Construction Division in the mid of 1990s. After a productive career of thirty-eight years in research and teaching, Professor Grierson retired from the university at the end of 2005.

This book contains seventy-three papers in the areas of structural engineering, applied mechanics, and construction management. Most of the papers present original research results, while some papers present reviews of specific research areas. The contributors are from various parts of the world, yet most of them have a close tie with Waterloo. Some of them are former or current mem­bers of SMD/SMCD or their collaborators; some were graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, or visitors of the Division; some delivered courses to our graduate students; and others presented their research in the famous SMD/SMCD seminar series. The papers cover the entire research spectrum of the Structures, Mechanics & Construction Division: concrete structures, steel structures, cold-form steel structures, engineering mechanics, structural optimization, applied mathematics, engineering reliability, and construction management. The papers reflect the achievements and influence of SMD/SMCD over the past four decades.

We three editors of this volume are privileged to be members of SMD/SMCD since our graduate years in the 1980s. We are fortunate to be associated with Professor Grierson as former students, colleagues, and friends, and are delighted to be able to celebrate the 40th anniversary of SMD/SMCD and to honour Professor Grierson with old and new friends.

We acknowledge the Department of Civil Engineering, the Faculty of Engineering, and the Uni­versity of Waterloo for their support of SMD/SMCD since its inception in 1966. We also appreciate their financial support for this conference and proceedings.

Mahesh Pandey, Wei-Chau Xie & Lei Xu May 2006

Advances in Engineering Structures, Mechanics & Construction

Professor Donald Edward Grierson