Civil Engineering Research

Materials, Structures and Geosystems

Civil engineering research at Duke focuses on structures and mechanics inquiry organized around three broad themes.

Areas of research:

Computational Mechanics: research is advancing efficient and precise algorithms to enable rigorous solutions to heretofore intractable problems involving contact, friction, visco-elastic hyper-elasticity, and fluid-structure-soil interaction.

Geomechanical Modeling and Characterization: research is focused on the development of mathematical models incorporating interactions among the chemical, thermal, and mechanical properties of soils and rocks, and on noninvasive techniques for interrogating and characterizing sub-surface properties.

Dynamics and Control: research is focused on solving problems related to nonlinear dynamic behavior of structural systems, in the measurement, modeling, and control of these systems, and in reliability of systems subjected to the extreme loads imparted by hurricanes and earthquakes.

Opportunities for Study


Doctoral and Master of Science study in civil engineering is highly interdisciplinary, drawing on a broad slate of faculty in the Pratt School of Engineering. Students have considerable flexibility in crafting a graduate program that suits individual interests. The civil engineering study track is:


The department also offers a program of study towards the Masters of Engineering (M.Eng) in Civil Engineering. This 30-credit degree program includes course work towards departmental requirements, an area of specialization, business and management fundamentals, and an internship or applied research experience. There are currently three areas of specialization offered within this degree program:

  • Computational Engineering
  • Systems Engineering and Optimization
  • Geo-Systems

Undergraduates interested in civil engineering have opportunities to study and conduct research in the Civil Engineering major, particularly the Structures and Mechanics study track.

Civil Engineering Faculty

Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Computational mechanics, finite element methods, computational inverse problems and their applications in engineering and biomedicine, scientific computing, computational acoustics and acoustics-structure interaction, coupled chemo-mechanics (e.g. electrochemistry-mechanics).
Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
My research seek to develop an understanding of how the engineering, environmental and petrophysical properties of porous media (soils, fractured rock, biological tissues) affect measurable geophysical responses, and subsequently develop methodologies by which these properties can be obtained from...
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Modeling quasi-static and dynamic fracture of structural components, the evolution of interfaces with nonlinear constitutive laws, and developing models for stimulus-responsive hydrogels
Yoh Family Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Structural dynamics, earthquake engineering, seismic hazard mitigation for building contents, nonlinear dynamics, system identification, optimal control with application to systems with controllable damping.
Associate Professor of the Practice of Sustainable Systems Analysis
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
mechanics of materials, theoretical soil mechanics, rock mechanics, and environmental geomechanics, theory of plasticity
Edmund T. Pratt Jr. School Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Jeffrey N. Vinik Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Nonlinear dynamics and vibration utilizing analytical, numerical, and experimental techniques. Fundamental investigations of phenomenon and application areas where dynamical systems theory plays an important role.
Professor of the Practice in Civil And Environmental Engineering
Theoretical and applied mechanics, micromechanics, composite materials, and probabilistic methods
Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering
Structural engineering; design; interrelationship between success and failure in design; nature of invention; history of engineering and technology
Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Finite element methods, computational fluid and solid mechanics, multiphase porous media flows, computational methods for fluid and solid materials under extreme load conditions, turbulent flow computations, instability phenomena.
Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Experimental verification of low-order nonlinear dynamical behavior (including chaos) using mechanical models. The interaction between dynamics and buckling including secondary bifurcation. Time series analysis in the context of condition monitoring...

Adjunct Civil Engineering Faculty

Adjunct Professor
Turbulence in fluids and its representation. Multiscale decompositions of turbulent flows. The Navier-Stokes, the Large Eddy and the Reynolds equations. Reynolds modeling and subgrid scale modeling for the Large Eddy Simulation of turbulent flows. Hybrid RANS/LES modeling.
Adjunct Professor
Natural and man-made systems with coupled phenomena. Environmental Geomechanics, Geotechnical and Geo-environmental Engineering, Mechanics of Multiphase Porous Materials. Area of activities at Duke University: Thermo-mechanical behavior of soils, soil desiccation and shrinkage.
Adjunct Professor (primary appt: NSOE & Earth Sci - Earth & Ocean Sciences)
Seismic propagation in planetary crusts, Borehole investigation of seismic sources and signals, and Environmental Geology