Civil Engineering Research

Materials, Geostructures, Dynamics and Uncertainty

A student in the control laboratoryCivil engineering research at Duke focuses on structures and mechanics inquiry organized around four broad themes.

Areas of research:

Computational Mechanics and Scientific Computing: 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 in systems; particularly in the control of these systems, and in the reliability of systems subjected to extreme loads.

Systems, Risk and Decision: research into new and better ways of estimating and quantifying the dynamics, uncertainty and risks prevalent in diverse engineered and natural system and system failures; research methods include tools such as dynamic systems analysis, numerical modeling and parallel computing.

Opportunities for Study

PhD, MS

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.

See civil engineering
Graduate study tracks

MEng

The department also offers a program of study towards the Master of Engineering (MEng) 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

BSE

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

Primary Faculty

Wilkins Aquino

Wilkins Aquino

Anderson-Rupp Professor Of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: 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).

Ana P. Barros

Ana P. Barros

James L. Meriam Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School of Engineering

Research Interests: Physics of water cycle processes in mountainous regions with a focus on cloud formation and precipitation; remote sensing of the environment using microwave and infrared sensors; long– range predictability and risk analysis of natural hazards; computational environmental fluid...

Fred K. Boadu

Fred K. Boadu

Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: 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...

Mark Edward Borsuk

Mark Edward Borsuk

Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Mathematical models for integrating scientific information on natural, technical, and social systems; Bayesian network modeling with regular application to environmental and human health regulation and decision making; novel approaches to climate change assessment, combining...

Andrew Bragg

Andrew Bragg

Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Fundamental and applied problems in fluid dynamics, especially turbulence, and its role in environmental systems.

David Carlson

David Carlson

Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Machine learning, predictive modeling, health data science, statistical neuroscience

John Everett Dolbow

John Everett Dolbow

Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: Modeling quasi-static and dynamic fracture of structural components, the evolution of interfaces with nonlinear constitutive laws, and developing models for stimulus-responsive hydrogels

Henri P. Gavin

Henri P. Gavin

Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Structural dynamics, earthquake engineering, seismic hazard mitigation for building contents, nonlinear dynamics, system identification, optimal control with application to systems with controllable damping.

Johann Guilleminot

Johann Guilleminot

Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Computational mechanics, mechanics of heterogeneous materials, molecular dynamics simulations and atomistic-to-continuum coupling, stochastic solvers, statistical inverse problem and model validation, stochastic analysis, uncertainty quantification in science and engineering.

Christine Hendren

Christine Hendren

Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Tomasz Hueckel

Tomasz Hueckel

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: mechanics of materials, theoretical soil mechanics, rock mechanics, and environmental geomechanics, theory of plasticity

Joseph C. Nadeau

Joseph C. Nadeau

Professor of the Practice in Civil And Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Theoretical and applied mechanics, micromechanics, composite materials, and probabilistic methods

Henry Petroski

Henry Petroski

Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering

Research Interests: Structural engineering; design; interrelationship between success and failure in design; nature of invention; history of engineering and technology.

David E. Schaad

David E. Schaad

Professor of the Practice of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Current research focuses on sustainable engineering, community development, water and wastewater treatment design, stormwater retention/detention and treatment design, hazardous waste remediation, urban hydrology, constructed wetland and stream restoration design, ecological...

Guglielmo Scovazzi

Guglielmo Scovazzi

Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: 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.

Manolis Veveakis

Manolis Veveakis

Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Geomechanics, theoretical and applied mechanics, and thermodynamics, with emphasis in multiphysical modelling of plasticity of solids, solid-fluid interactions, friction laws and rheology of geomaterials

Secondary Faculty

Marc A. Jeuland

Marc A. Jeuland

Associate Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy

Omar Mohamad Knio

Omar Mohamad Knio

Edmund T. Pratt Jr. School Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: Computational fluid mechanics, oceanic and atmospheric flows, turbulent flow, physical acoustics, chemically-reactive flow, energetic materials, microfluidic devices, dynamical systems, numerical methods, and asymptotic and stochastic techniques.

Brian Mann

Brian Mann

Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: 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.

Lawrence N. Virgin

Lawrence N. Virgin

Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: 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 and damage detection. Dynamic...

Adjunct Faculty

Dwayne Elias

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Lyesse Laloui

Lyesse Laloui

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: 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.

Amilcare Porporato

Amilcare Porporato

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Near-wall turbulence, nonlinear analysis of hydrologic time series, stochastic soil moisture dynamics and water balance, soil-atmosphere interaction, and ecohydrology, complexity in the environment, sustainable use of soil and water resources.

Daniel Vallero

Daniel Vallero

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Measurement and modeling research in environmental systems, including high throughput risk screening, tracer studies, development of pollution collection devices, and biosystem engineering. Life cycle analysis and sustainable design.