About SEM

L_sem_sidebarThe Structural Engineering and Materials Program of the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech provides graduate study and research opportunities in a broad range of subject areas in structural engineering and structural materials. The objective of the program is to provide a quality education that is well-balanced in theoretical and practical considerations. There is a general emphasis on application of computer techniques and on experimental research. The research program in structural engineering and structural materials at Virginia Tech spans a number of subject areas.

Representative subjects include the following:

– Wind and earthquake engineering
– Response of structures to blast and fire loads
– Performance based design
– Forensic engineering
– Development of structural engineering software
– Nonlinear structural analysis using the finite element method
– Computer-aided structural design and optimization
– High performance computing
– Structural stability
– Inelastic behavior of materials and structures
– Behavior and design of composite floor systems
– Composite connections
– Design and performance of industrial buildings
– Serviceability of structures
– Cold-form steel member design
– Fatigue and fracture
– Behavior of bridge structures
– Development and use of high performance materials (concrete, steel, composites) in structures
– Assessment of physical condition of concrete bridge components:
– Cost effective repair of bridges
– Protection, repair, and rehabilitation of reinforced concrete bridges exposed to aggressive environments

The Thomas Murray Structures and Materials Research Laboratory has approximately 17,000 sq. ft. of high quality experimental research space. Experimental facilities for the Program include one of the largest structural engineering research laboratories in the country. It includes 9,000 sq. ft. of high bay research space, a 30 ft. by 62 ft. reaction floor, servo controlled closed loop testing systems, and an extensive array of support equipment. The facility is designed for full-scale testing of structural components and systems.

The laboratory also houses the necessary equipment for evaluation of the performance of concrete and asphalt. Concrete and concrete- making materials performance evaluation equipment include rapid and critical dilation freezing and thawing cabinets, a computer-driven microscopic air void analysis apparatus, corrosion rate measuring devices, state-of the-art image analysis system, petrographic microscope, and facilities for wet chemical analysis.

The Structural Engineering and Materials Program offers the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Structural Engineering and Structural Materials. Both thesis and non-thesis M.S. options are available. Financial aid is available in the form of teaching and research assistantships for outstanding applicants. Additionally, for students with exceptional records, a limited number of tuition rebates and monthly stipend supplements are available.