SMCD Member Research Interests

The present-day membership of SMCD consists of individuals from the Department of Civil Engineering. A brief sketch of each member’s research interests is given in the following.

G. Wayne Brodland: advanced computational models for tissue and cell mechanics; unique instrumentation and software for data collection and analysis; and development of a unified theory of embryo mechanics.

Wei-Chau Xie: structural dynamics and random vibration, reliability and safety analysis of engineering systems, dynamic stability of structures, nonlinear dynamics and stochastic mechanics, localization in randomly disordered engineering structures, vibration design of residential floor systems using cold-formed steel joists, and seismic analysis and design of engineering structures.

Marianna Polak: punching-shear strengthening techniques for RC slab-column connections, development of constitutive models and nonlinear finite element formulations, non-destructive evaluation of structural members, high-density polyethylene pipes installed by trenchless technology, and interdisciplinary research on characterization of polymeric materials

Mahesh Pandey: risk-based decision support systems for infrastructure management, time- dependent reliability analysis models, risk-based dynamic health monitoring systems, socio­economic cost-benefit analysis for sustainable development, and probabilistic load and strength models.

Khaled Soudki: rehabilitation of corroded reinforced concrete beams with FRP, shear strengthening slab-column connections using FRP, durability of structural members strengthened by FRP sheets, experimental and analytical evaluation of the bond strength of reinforcement in FRP-wrapped concrete beams, and fatigue behaviour of corroded concrete beams strengthened with FRP sheets.

Tarek Hegazy: management of infrastructure networks, decision support for project scheduling and control, time and cost and resource optimization, artificial intelligence applications in construction, and internet-based collaboration in design and construction.

Lei Xu: performance-based building seismic analysis and design, advanced analysis and design for structures under abnormal loading, lightweight steel framed residential building design, analysis and design of cold-formed steel structures, stability analysis, design and optimization of steel framed structures, and floor vibration analysis and design.

John Straube: building enclosure design, moisture physics, and whole-building performance.

Jeffrey West: behaviour of precast structures, durability of precast and post-tensioned concrete structures, use of stainless steel reinforcement, development of high performance self-consolidating concrete, and use of carbon fibre reinforced polymer materials for strengthening of existing structures.

Stanislav Potapenko: modeling the mechanical behaviour of advanced materials, singular integral equations, potential methods in elasticity, mechanics of rubber-like solids, mechanics of thin-walled structures, composite materials, and fluid mechanics

Sriram Narasimhan: risk and reliability analysis of floating structures, control of seismic responses in base-isolated buildings, development of base isolation systems for buildings, algorithms for control and damage detection, and on-line structural health monitoring methods.

Scott Walbridge: small – and large-scale testing of structural elements, stability of structural systems, fatigue analysis of welded structures, fatigue assessment of bridges, probabilistic methods to model deterioration processes, and probabilistic design criteria for structures.

5. Conclusion

Trying to draw some lessons from life or academic experience may prove a rather subjective undertaking as it depends not only on objective factors, but, to a large extent, on such personally – chosen criteria as survival and progress. In collective endeavors these requirements are dominant at both individual and group levels. We assume for simplification that if the requirements are satisfied for the group, they are implicitly satisfied for the individual. Also assumed is that in an academic group individual members have the necessary intellectual strength and motivation for pursuit of higher learning.

The above observations follow from the analysis of SMD experience, and their general validity should be viewed with caution. However, it seems fair to believe that they are quite apt when considering the future of SMCD.

Group survival is influenced by external factors (time, prevailing policies, university orientation, funding sources, etc.), but is critically determined by subjective factors; in addition to its make-up and prerequisite academic strength, a group’s existence largely hinges on:

• Strong motivation (conviction that the group adds up to more than its summed parts)

• Clear, realistic objectives

• Firm, properly focused leadership

• Internal cohesion (positive interaction at the operational level)

• Group resilience (will to survive) and adaptability

• Steadfastness in pursuit of objectives

Group progress requires unanimous understanding and consistent work on programs and cannot be achieved without:

Translation of general vision into specific goals

• Choice of correct priorities

• Efficient planning and monitoring of results

• Preservation and promotion of talent (by ensuring true bond and member collegiality)

• Reduction of administrative tasks to minimum necessary

In brief, our main lesson is that group survival and progress are paramount considerations arising out of SMD history. While survival is to a large extent dependent on external factors, progress is mostly an internal product, the essence of which appears to be making a difference. Given their essential ingredients, both survival and progress may be achieved with a high probability if membership bond thrives under a far-reaching leadership guided by ambitious, yet realistic goals.

One cannot but hope that, in the spirit of this paper’s motto (Buber, 1956), the torch passed from SMD to SMCD will continue to rekindle the sparks of discovery for generations to come.