Structures and Applied Mechanics

Faculty members

Accorsi, Michael L.
Christenson, Richard
Epstein, Howard I.
Jang, Shinae
Kim, Jeongho
Liu, Lanbo
Malla, Ramesh B.
Motaref, Sarira
Wille, Kay
Zaghi, Arash E.
Zhang, Wei


The structures and applied mechanics group performs multi-disciplinary research in the areas of structural engineering, advanced design, structural vibrations, and others. The faculty has expertise in both structural engineering, involving the design of buildings, bridges and other structures, and applied mechanics, which forms the basis of all structural analysis and design.

The Structures and Applied Mechanics (SAM) group conducts the SAM Seminar Series.


Structural Engineering and Applied Mechanics (STAM) Technical Group Supplemental Ph.D. Guidelines


Prof. Christenson is a director of the Advanced Hazards Mitigation Laboratory. Research interests are:

  • Structural control

  • Real-time hybrid simulation

  • Bridge monitoring 



Prof. Epstein’s research interests are:

  • Block Shear in Structural Steel Connections

  • Structural Design Codes

  • Approximate Analysis

  • Nonlinear Structural Analysis

  • Earthquake Engineering

  • Liquid Storage Tanks; Space Frames

Prof. Jang’s is a director of Smart Infrastructure Laboratory, and research interests are:

  • Structural Dynamics and Experimental Dynamics

  • Random Vibration, System Identification

  • Structural Health Monitoring Algorithms

  • Long-term Bridge Health Monitoring

  • Wireless Smart Sensor Technology

  • Finite Element Modeling and Model Updating 



Prof. Wille is director of Advanced Cementitious Materials & Composites (ACMC) Laboratory, and his research interests are:

  • Material Characterization of Ultra-High Performance Fiber Reinforced Concrete (UHP-FRC) under Elevated Temperature

  • High-Strength Pervious Concrete Pavement System with Air Purification Effect

  • Static and Dynamic Tensile Behavior of UHP-FRC

  • Nano-Engineering Ultra-High Performance Concrete with Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes

  • UHP-FRC – Influence of Fiberorientation

  • Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC) – Material Design



Prof. Accorsi is the director of the Center for Resilient Transportation Infrastructure (
a DHS Center of Excellence. His research interests include:

  • Computational solid mechanics

  • Finite element methods

  • Composite materials

  • Blast loads on structures



Prof. Kim is a director of the Mechanics of Advanced Materials & Systems Laboratory, and his research interests are: 

  • Modeling of Advanced Composites Subjected to Blast and Impact Loads

  • Mechanical Durability Modeling of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

  • Micromechanical Finite Element Analysis: 3D Microstructure Reconstruction

  • Modeling of Fatigue Crack and Delamination Growth in Hybrid Fiber Metal Laminates

  • Modeling of Piezoelectric Multifunctional Composites & Proton Exchange Membranes

  • Fracture and Damage Analysis of Functionally Graded Solids

  • Finite Element Modeling for Structural Health Monitoring



Prof. Malla’s research interests are:

  • Theoretical and Applied Structural Mechanics

  • Structural Dynamics and Vibrations

  • Dynamic Effects of Member Failure in Trusses

  • Orbital and Lunar Structures

  • Mechanics of Granular Material Beds

  • Geomechanics and  Pavement Subgrades

  • Bridge Expansion Joints and Health Monitoring

  • Fiber Optic Sensor for Infrastructure

  • Renewable Energy Harvesting Systems (including  PEM Fuel Cells, Small-Scale Hydropower,  Structural Vibrations)



Dr. Zaghi is a member of the Advanced Hazards Mitigation Laboratory. His research interests are:

  • System-level testing of large-scale structural models

  • Resilience of structural and nonstructural systems under natural and manmade disasters

  • Application of advanced materials and innovative details in Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC)

  • Repair and retrofit of existing bridges

  • Computational structural modeling




1. Structures Lab (115)

The structures lab is located in room 115 of the F. L. Castleman building.

The structures lab is a high bay laboratory equipped with a in-house crane and strong floor, located in room 115 of the F. L Castleman building. The structures lab houses a variety of testing equipment including large-scale SATEC loading machines, MTS actuator for static loading tests, Split Hopkiinson Pressure Bar, Shore-western’s shake table and actuators for hybrid simulation and vibration tests. Also various lab-scale experimental test-beds are developed including steel girder bridge, Pratt truss bridge, two traffic poles, and traffic signal regulator and etc, for validation of basic and advanced theory and technology.


2. Concrete Lab

The Advanced Cementitious Materials & Composites (ACMC) Laboratory (link to ) is located in the rooms 106, 108, 110 of the F. L Castleman building, whereas 106 mainly serves as a teaching area, 108 comprises advanced material characterization and 110 is home for advanced material mixing.   Beside material mixing, specimen casting, preparation & curing, chemical and physical material component analysis and fresh properties characterization the ACMC Lab reaches out to the Structural Lab for mechanical material characterization in the hardened state. In addition to standardized static testing in compression, tension and bending the ACMC research group has emphasized its research effort on high strain rate and impact testing. A high speed data acquisition system, including a high speed camera, is able to run up to 1GHz and enables the investigation of material phenomena under high speed conditions. Advanced high resolution microscopy is performed at the Institute of Material Science at UConn.

3. Fiber Optics Sensor and Energy Harvesting Lab

The fiber optic sensor lab is located in room 122 in F.L. Castleman Building. The laboratory specifically is dedicated to support research on the development of sensor for monitoring of civil/transportation infrastructures. It has a host of specialized instrumentation and equipment for the fiber optic sensor research, including optical table, laser diode, pulse inverter, pulse generator, high speed photodetector, digital sampling oscilloscope, assortment of lenses, fiber posts and cleaver; and dedicated data collection system including personal computer with Labview software.


Research Sponsors

The Structural Engineering and Applied Mechanics  (STAM) Technical  group’s research activities are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), and Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT), Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International, Honeybee Robotics Spacecraft Mechanisms Corporation, NASA/Connecticut Space Grant Consortium, New England Transportation Consortium (NETC),  the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS Short Term Fellowship), the University of Connecticut.