Research in Structural Engineering Research Group (SERG)


Weekly group meeting schedule (Fall 2018)


Time: 12 pm ~ 1pm

Room: Southwick 130



"From the research projects I have conducted, there are always several mutual problems I am trying to solve. Projects come and go, but these problems stay with me until I am convinced that I have found the solution. While engineering solutions can be very practical and widely influencial, understanding the underlying governing physics in every engineering problem is a vital step toward any meaningful solution."

Prof. Tzuyang Yu

Lowell, Massachusetts


In SERG (Structural Engineering Reserach Group), our research interests cover several disciplines in science and engineering, from theoretical mechanics to organic chemistry. We are specificially interested in the deterioration and aging of civil infrastructure systems (both materials and structures), including the investigation and inspection of material and structural deterioration mechanisms. SERG has been supported by several federal funding agencies including NSF, NIST, U.S. DOT, AFRL, and DOE. The following list provides an overview of our research thrusts.

Here is a document summarizing my research philosophy.

Radar Imaging of Civil Engineering Materials and Structures

Using electromagnetic waves (radar signals) to inspect the surface and subsurface condition of civil infrastructure systems is a major research thrust in SERG. We have developed numerical and experimental capabilities to conduct subsurface remote sensing of civil engineering structures such as reinforced concrete bridges, using stripmap and inverse synthetic aperture radar (SAR) modes. We also have developed various radar sensors for laboratory and field applications. In the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UMass Lowell, an electromagnetic anechoic chamber is custom-built for our laboratory investigation. This research thrust has been sponsored by the following projects:

  • U.S.DOT University Transportation Center (UTC) Standard Federal Region 1 "Durability Center," led by UMaine (Prof. H. Dagher, CEE), 2018~2023, Co-PIs: S. Faraji (CEE), X. Wang (ECE), Z. Mao (ME), and R. Nagarajan (PE).
  • U.S.DOT Project, " Quantitative Sensing of Bridges, Railways, and Tunnels with Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles," 2014~2016, Co-PIs: N. Gartner (CEE), C. Niezrecki (ME), Y. Raptis (ME), D. Manegold (PSI), D. Lai (LR Tech)
  • U.S.DOT Project, " Multi-modal Remote Sensing System (MRSS) for Transportation Infrastructure Inspection and Monitoring," 2010~2013, Co-PIs: S. Faraji (CEE), P. Avitabile (ME), C. Niezrecki (ME), F. Ansari (Univ. Illinois Chicago), J. Tyson (Trilion)

Dielectric Modeling of Construction Materials


Sensing Textiles for Civil Infrastructure Monitoring

The goal of this project is to develop a civil infrastructure monitoring system that will allow monitoring of infrastructure in a proactive manner and enable damage detection to existing infrastructure in its early stages, thereby minimize maintenance costs, environmental impacts and disruptions to the population. In addition, this system would also help to detect adverse impact to existing civil infrastructure (buildings, pipelines, bridges and tunnels, rail lines) that can occur during trenchless operations that occur underground during installation of new structures (pipelines, tunnels) needed to support economic growth. In this project, sensing textiles will be developed for use in strain monitoring and/or crack detection in civil infrastructure, geotechnical structures, and composites with the primary focus in year one being civil infrastructure applications such as bridges, pipelines and tunnels. Commercially available sensing optical fibers will be used with commercially available interrogation technology. The optical fibers will be converted into wide area sensing textiles using Saint Gobain ADFORS`s proprietary laminated laid scrim technology. Lab and in-field testing will be done at UMass Lowell and through application partners in the industry with whom close working relationship will be established to ensure that the solutions are validated by end customers from early stages of the development.

This research project is supported by Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA).

News about this project:

09/28/2017: Researchers to Develop Sensing Fabrics for Monitoring Civil Infrastructures

09/29/2017: 'Sensor-laden' textiles monitor infrastructure, Textile Evolution (T.EVO)

02/06/2018: Next Generation of Fabrics will Protect Public, EurekAlert / AAAS

02/12/2018: UMASS Lowell partners on buildings and bridges research, Advanced Textile Source

02/12/2018: GoLocal LIVE interview on the Sensing Textiles project (YouTube video), GoLocal TV


Research Highlights

Photogrammetric Techniques for Evaluation and Analysis of Concrete Structures and Specimens (N. D'Amico, 2016)

A Model for Predicting Mass Loss of Steel Reinforcement Undergoing Accelerated Corrosion (J. Owusu Twumasi, 2015)

Finite Element Analysis for the Damage Detection of Light Pole Structures (Q. Tang, 2014)

Simulated Transient Electromagnetic Response of GFRP-Wrapped Concrete Cylinders using Radar NDE

  • Yu, T., B. Boyaci, F.H. Wu. A parametric study of the transient electromagnetic response of GFRP-wrapped concrete cylinders. Research in Nondestructive Evaluation (RNDE) 2013; 24 (3): 125-153; doi:10.1080/09349847.20.2012.713162 (pdf)

Geometric Analysis of Ground Penetrating Radar Signals for Condition Assessment of Concrete Structures (B. Boyaci, 2010)

Determination of the Dielectric Constants of Hydrated Cement Paste and Cement Mortar (I.C. Solak, 2011)

Monitoring and Modeling of Early-Age Cement Hydration Heat in Concrete using Fiber Optic Sensors (A. Chow, 2013)

Structural Health Monitoring of a Truss Bridge using Model Test and Numerical Simulation (J. Otchere Nyarko, 2013)

Modeling Half-cell Potential Measurements of Corroded Reinforced Concrete Slabs for Corrosion Detection (J. Wilson, 2013)


Presentations on Various Topics by SERG Members

Introductuon to engineering (Lowell High School, 2009)

Determining the optimal parameters in a distant radar NDE technique for debonding detection of GFRP-concrete systems (SPIE SS/NDE Conference, 2009)

Introduction to inspection techniques for civil infrastructure (Lowell High School, 2010)

Damage inspection of fiber reinforced polymer-concrete systems using a distant acoustic-laser NDE technique (SPIE SS/NDE Conference, 2010)

Failures of civil infrastructure (AIST, Tsukuba, Japan, 2010)

Design, manufacturing and application of structural concrete (AIST, Tsukuba, Japan, 2010)

About research -- A very brief introduction (SERG Summer Seminar, 2014)

Signal processing -- Time and freeuqncy representations (SERG Summer Seminar, 2014)

2D finite difference time domain numerical simulation (SERG Summer Seminar, 2014 / J. Owusu Twumasi)

Finite element analysis for the damage detection of light pole structures (SERG Summer Seminar, 2014 / Q. (Paul) Tang)

Calculus of Variations (SERG Summer Seminar, 2014)

Theory and applications of dielectric materials -- Part I (SERG Summer Seminar, 2014)

Theory and applications of dielectric materials -- Part II (SERG Summer Seminar, 2014)

Image processing using Matlab (SERG Summer Seminar, 2014)

Ultrasonic testing of concrete (SERG Summer Seminar, 2014)

Determining the optimal parameters in a distant radar NDE technique for debonding detection of GFRP-concrete systems -- Mathematical morphology approach (SERG Summer Seminar, 2015)

Photogrammetric 3D modeling (SERG Summer Seminar, 2015)