Alessandro Palmeri

Dr Alessandro Palmeri

Dott Ing (Civil Eng) | CEng MICE | PhD (Struct Eng) | PGCert (High Edu Pract) | FHEA

  • Reader in Structural Engineering and Dynamics
  • Group Lead, Structures & Materials

Research and expertise

I am a professionally qualified Civil Engineer, both in Italy and the UK, with over 20 years of experience in Structural Engineering research and practice.

Working at the blurred interface between theoretical developments and engineering applications, I am internationally recognised as a leading scholar in Structural Dynamics and Stochastic Mechanics. My research is mainly concentrated around two areas of investigation, namely:

  • Analysis, design, optimisation, and control of structures exposed to dynamic actions, using a combination of analytical, numerical, and experimental techniques, with applications to Bridge, Earthquake and Wind Engineering.
  • Strategies to quantify the effects of uncertainties on Structural Engineering problems, including Random Vibration theory, with applications to Structural Health Monitoring and Risk-Based Design.

I have published more than 120 peer-reviewed research outputs, which have attracted > 1k citations from > 50 countries/territories. I am regularly invited to deliver lectures in other academic institutions and international conferences.

I have led education and research projects funded by a range of public organisations, including the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Science Research Council), the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the IStructE (Institution of Structural Engineers).

I have a solid track record of impactful collaborations with industrial partners (see the “Profile” tab for more details), with funding competitively secured for PhD and EngD studentships, knowledge transfer and other forms of partnerships.

Since 2006, I have supervised 14 doctoral students to successful completion, both in Italy and the UK, on a variety of Structural Engineering topics. Recent doctoral theses include:

Current research activity

I am particularly interested in structural design problems where different sources of uncertainty affect complex phenomena of dynamic interactions, including fluid-structure, soil-structure, and primary-secondary interaction. Current investigations in my research team include:

  • Dynamic interaction between river flow and vegetation stems (modelled as geometrically nonlinear multi-degree-of-freedom structures), in collaboration with Dr Tim Marjoribanks.
  • Mathematical modelling of wave-structure interaction with application to offshore engineering, in collaboration with Dr Emiliano Renzi, from the Department of Mathematical Sciences.
  • New generation of seismically resilient metal ceilings, in collaboration with Dr Mariateresa Lombardo and SAS International – This knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) is spotlighted as successful case study in this University’s webpage. The appointed KTP associate, Dr Laura Fiorin, is now Project Leader in the Systems Development Team at British Gypsum.
  • Optimisation of mass dampers with viscoelastic memory, in collaboration with Prof Elena Mele, from the University of Naples Federico II.
  • Seismic dynamics of rocking structures on non-rigid foundations, in collaboration with Prof Nicos Makris, from the Southern Methodist University, USA.
  • Steel-concrete composite bridges under moving loads: health monitoring, vibration control, and energy harvesting, in collaboration with Dr Mariateresa Lombardo.
  • Gradient viscoelasticity computational models for the structure-soil-structure interaction (SSSI) problems in earthquake engineering, in collaboration with Dr Mariateresa Lombardo.
  • Wavelet analysis and stochastic generation of accelerograms, in collaboration with Prof Giuseppe Muscolino, from the University of Messina.

Completed research projects

I enjoy working on both blue-sky ideas, which require the development of new theoretical frameworks, and applied projects, enabling the practical fruition of prior research. In addition to the doctoral projects listed above, examples of previous research projects include:

  • Advances in foundation design and assessment for strategic renewable energy”, EngD project of Dr Paul Dallyn, co-funded by E.On and developed in collaboration with Dr Ashraf El-Hamalawi – As part of this project, a new experimental protocol has been designed and applied to quantify the rate of wear development in plain steel-concrete connections under wet and washing conditions, similar to those experienced in monopile foundations for offshore wind energy converters (results have been published here); furthermore, a data-driven model has been established to assist in planning the maintenance and retrofitting interventions in offshore wind farms (see the journal paper here).
  • Monitoring 3D vibrations in structures using high resolution blurred imagery”, PhD project of Dr David McCarthy, developed in collaboration with Prof Jim Chandler – This award-winning research has shown that long-exposure blurred images can be used to quantify the amplitude of vibration in Civil Engineering structures. The proposed approach is radically different with respect to other non-contact techniques of vibration measurement; as such, it can be used synergistically with them to increase the robustness of the measurements.
  • Static and dynamic analysis of multi-cracked beams with local and non-local elasticity”, developed in collaboration with Dr Alice Cicirello and Dr Mariateresa Lombardo – This line of inquiry started with Dr Cicerllo’s research internship as visiting MSc student in my previous institution (University of Bradford, UK) and continued with Dr Marco Donà’s PhD project at Loughborough University. In a first stage, a new, physically based computational model was formulated and numerically validated to represent concentrated damage in slender (Euler-Bernoulli) and short (Timoshenko) beams in bending; in a second stage, the model was successfully applied to buckling and vibration analyses, including the effects of non-local elasticity.
  • TREViS – Tailoring Nano-Reinforced Elastomers to Vibrating Structures”, co-funded by the EPSRC (Ref No EP/I033924/1) – In this project, a new computational model has been developed for the vibration analysis of sandwich beams with a viscoelastic core. The appointed Research Associate, Dr Evangelos Ntotsios, is now Research Fellow at the University of Southampton’s ISVR (Institute of Sound and Vibration Research).

Prospective PhD students

I welcome applications from candidates interested in my core areas of research. Please note:

  • You can apply through the Loughborough University’s dedicated webpage.
  • To ensure that your application reaches me, please select the research programme “Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering (Full Time)” and indicate “Dr Alessandro Palmeri” as your preferred supervisor.
  • Doctoral and postdoctoral researchers in my team tend to publish in top-quartile journals, and our work is highly visible and highly cited – As a result, the application process is very competitive.
  • If you have external funding, please make that clear in your application.

Recent publications

Concrete Structures

  • D. Cecini, S. A. Austin, S. Cavalaro & A. Palmeri, 2018, “Accelerated electric curing of steel-fibre reinforced concrete”, Construction and Building Materials 189: 192-204, doi: 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2018.08.183. In the REF 2021 return.

Cracked Beams

  • M. Donà, A. Palmeri & M. Lombardo, 2015, “Dynamic analysis of multi-cracked Euler-Bernoulli beams with gradient elasticity”, Computers and Structures 161: 64-76, doi: 10.1016/j.compstruc.2015.08.013. In the REF 2021 return.

  • M. Donà, A. Palmeri, M. Lombardo & A. Cicirello, 2015, “An efficient two-node finite element formulation of multi-damaged beams including shear deformation and rotatory inertia”, Computers and Structures 147: 96-106, doi: 10.1016/j.compstruc.2014.10.002.

  • M. Donà, A. Palmeri & M. Lombardo, 2014, “Exact closed-form solutions for the static analysis of multi-cracked gradient-elastic beams in bending”, International Journal of Solids and Structures 51(15-16): 2744-2753, doi: 10.1016/j.ijsolstr.2014.02.020. In the REF 2021 return.

  • A. Cicirello & A. Palmeri, 2014, “Static analysis of Euler-Bernoulli beams with multiple unilateral cracks under combined axial and transverse loads”, International Journal of Solids and Structures 51(5): 1020-1029, doi: 10.1016/j.ijsolstr.2013.11.030.

Earthquake Engineering

  • S. Kasinos, M. Lombardo, N. Makris & A. Palmeri, 2020, “Dynamic response analysis of nonlinear secondary oscillators to idealised seismic pulses”, Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics 49(14): 1473-1495, doi: 10.1002/eqe.3313.

  • G. Barone, F. Lo Iacono, G. Navarra & A. Palmeri, 2019, “Closed-form stochastic response of linear building structures to spectrum-consistent seismic excitations”, Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 125: 105724, doi: 10.1016/j.soildyn.2019.105724. In the REF 2021 return.

  • A. de Luca di Roseto, A. Palmeri & A. G.  Gibb, 2018, “Performance-based seismic design of steel structures accounting for fuzziness in their joint flexibility”, Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 115: 799-814, doi: 10.1016/j.soildyn.2018.09.007. In the REF 2021 return.

  • N. Impollonia & A. Palmeri, 2018, “Seismic performance of buildings retrofitted with nonlinear viscous dampers and adjacent reaction towers”, Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics 47(5): 1329-1351, doi: 10.1002/eqe.3020. In the top 10% most cited publications worldwide (source: SciVal). In the REF 2021 return.

  • S. Kasinos, A. Palmeri & M. Lombardo, 2016, “Seismic response of subsystems in irregular buildings”, Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Structures and Buildings 169(8): 643-654, doi: 10.1680/jstbu.15.00032.

  • D. Cecini & A. Palmeri, 2015, “Spectrum-compatible accelerograms with harmonic wavelets”, Computers and Structures 147: 26-35, doi: 10.1016/j.compstruc.2014.10.013.

Stochastic Mechanics

  • S. Kasinos, A. Palmeri, M. Lombardo & S. Adhikari, 2021, “A reduced modal subspace approach for damped stochastic dynamic systems”, Computers and Structures 257: 106651, doi: 10.1016/j.compstruc.2021.106651.

Structural Health Monitoring

  • P. Dallyn, A. El-Hamalawi, A. Palmeri & R. Knight, 2017, “Prediction of wear in grouted connections for offshore wind turbine generators”, Structures 10: 117-129, doi: 10.1016/j.istruc.2017.02.001. “Editor-in-Chief’s Featured Article” for the May 2017 issue of the journal. In the REF 2021 return.

  • D. M. J. McCarthy, J. H. Chandler & A. Palmeri, 2016, “Monitoring 3D vibrations in structures using high-resolution blurred imagery”, Photogrammetric Record 31(155): 304-324, doi: 10.1111/phor.12155. “E. H. Thompson Award for Best Paper” in the 2016 issues of the journal. In the REF 2021 return.

  • P. Dallyn, A. El-Hamalawi, A. Palmeri & R. Knight, 2016, “Experimental investigation on the development of wear in grouted connections for offshore wind turbine generators”, Engineering Structures 113: 89-102, doi: 10.1016/j.engstruct.2015.11.028.

  • P. Dallyn, A. El-Hamalawi, A. Palmeri & R. Knight, 2015, “Experimental testing of grouted connections for offshore substructures: A critical review”, Structures 3: 90-108, doi: 10.1016/j.istruc.2015.03.005. In the top 10% most cited publications worldwide (source: SciVal).

  • S. Kasinos, A. Palmeri & M. Lombardo, 2015, “Using the vibration envelope as a damage-sensitive feature in composite beam structures”, Structures 1: 67-75, doi: 10.1016/j.istruc.2014.10.001. In the REF 2021 return.

Vibration Control

  • G. Pipitone, G. Barone & A. Palmeri, 2020, “Stochastic design of double-skin façades as seismic vibration absorbers”, Advances in Engineering Software 142: 102749, doi: 10.1016/j.advengsoft.2019.102749. In the REF 2021 return.

  • G. Pipitone, G. Barone & A. Palmeri, 2018, “Optimal design of double skin façades as vibration absorbers”, Structural Control and Health Monitoring 25(2): e2086, doi: 10.1002/stc.2086. In the REF 2021 return.

  • A. Palmeri & E. Ntotsios, 2016, “Transverse vibrations of viscoelastic sandwich beams via Galerkin-based state-space approach”, Journal of Engineering Mechanics 142(7): 04016036, doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)EM.1943-7889.0001069.

Teaching

Since 2003, I’ve taught in a wide range of modules for professionally accredited UG (undergraduate) and PG (postgraduate) Civil and Architectural Engineering programmes, both in Italy (from 2003 to 2007) and in the UK (from 2008 to date).

In my lectures, tutorials and assessment, I’ve covered the whole spectrum of Structural Engineering teaching, from the basic principles of structural and stress analysis to the detailed design of structural members according to the Eurocodes; from analytical and numerical methods of structural dynamics to more specialist topics of earthquake engineering. My teaching has also contributed to Engineering Programming and Collaborative Design Projects at various levels, from conceptual design to detailed design and communication strategy.

In response to the constraints posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, I have re-designed and optimised the delivery of all my modules with a blend of on-demand videos, live-online lectures, and in-person tutorials, so that the students’ learning was enhanced rather than impaired. Students’ feedback acknowledged this effort, e.g. students commented “An incredibly high standard of on-demand content was delivered for this module”, “This module adapted to the challenges faced exceptionally well […] The mix between high-quality on-demand and in-person/live-online was just right to support the on-demand learning as required”.

Currently, I contribute to learning and teaching activities across the School’s programmes, including:

Undergraduate

  • CVA103 – Structural Forms and Stress Analysis, in which I deliver some advanced structural mechanics topics such as unsymmetrical bending, complex stresses and strains, composite bending and plastic bending. 
  • CVA104 – Mathematical Modelling of Structures (as module leader) – Drawing from my research expertise, I introduce first-year Engineering students to the use of generalised functions (Dirac’s delta and Heaviside’s unit step) for the structural analysis of beams and cables.
  • CVB106 – Design of Concrete and Masonry Structures, in which I cover the design of masonry walls to Eurocode 6.
  • CVD020 – Structural Dynamics & Earthquake Engineering (as module leader) - The module is aimed at developing students' knowledge and understanding of vibrational problems in Structural Engineering, and to provide them with the basic analytical and numerical tools to assess the dynamic response of structures, with special emphasis on the seismic analysis and design to Eurocode 8.
  • Supervision of UG dissertations on topics aligned with my research interests.

Postgraduate

  • Supervision of PG dissertations on topics aligned with my research interests.

Enterprise

I welcome and actively seek opportunities for enterprise activities, including CDP courses, professional consultancies, specialty laboratory and in-situ testing, in addition to the development of collaborative research through doctoral projects and knowledge transfer partnerships.

I’ve also been proactive in outreach activities aimed at promoting STEM education within local primary and secondary schools.

As Structures & Materials Group Lead, I have secured over £250k of capital funds to enhance the testing capabilities, including:

  • New long-range laser vibrometer for structural health monitoring (up to 300 m of distance).
  • New structural dynamics lab, equipped with an optical table, a twin pair of low-frequency shakers and dedicated data acquisition systems and accelerometers.
  • New test rig for full-scale structural elements, equipped with a twin pair of displacement-controlled 600 kN actuators.

These pieces of equipment have all been used to deliver technical consultancies and development activities requiring specialty laboratory investigations and in-situ testing campaigns. 

In addition to the industry-focussed projects mentioned under the “Research” tab, further examples of enterprise and outreach activities include:

Current projects

  • “Academic champion” for the appointment of Caroline Field as RAEng (Royal Academy of Engineering) Visiting Professor in Structural and Infrastructural Resilience.
  • CPD course “Dynamic response of wind-excited flexible structures”, delivered in collaboration with Dr Giorgio Barone and organised by the IStructE (Institution of Structural Engineers).
  • CPD course on “Resilience-based design of structures”, delivered in collaboration with Caroline Field and organised by the IStructE.

Recently completed projects

  • CPD course “Wind actions on temporary structures”, organised by ETSols (Engineering Training Solutions).
  • Development of a new, Eurocode-compliant design procedure for precast, centrally reinforced concrete panels – This piece of work was completed as part of the EngD project of Dr Gary Robinson, co-funded by Structherm and jointly supervised with Prof Simon Austin. The DAT (Design Assisted by Testing) procedure is detailed here.
  • Software licenses and test rigs funded by Fluor to enhance students’ learning of Structural Engineering concepts.
  • Structural and stress analysis on an “Innovative mounting system for photovoltaic solar panels”.
  • Technical consultancy on the “Effects of removing the apical portion in a circular pipe”.
  • “Tower Tech Challenge” for the 3M “Young Innovators Challenge”, established and judged with Dr Mariateresa Lombardo, featured in local newspapers and online, e.g. here and here.

Profile

Dr Alessandro Palmeri (he/him/his) is a Reader in Structural Engineering & Dynamics in the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering at Loughborough University, UK, where he leads the Structures & Materials Group.

He graduated cum laude in Civil Engineering from the University of Messina, Italy (1999), and received a PhD in Structural Engineering from the University of Catania, Italy (2003). Before joining Loughborough in 2010, he has been: Research Associate at the Mediterranea University of Reggio Calabria, Italy (2003); Research Fellow and Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Messina (2003-07); Lecturer in Civil Engineering at the University of Bradford, UK (2007-09). He is a professionally qualified Civil Engineer in Italy (since 1999) and the UK (since 2021). He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (since 2011) and holds the Italian national qualification as Full Professor in Structural Mechanics (since 2018). 

Author and co-author of more than 120 publications in monographic books, peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, Dr Palmeri has delivered invited lectures in several international conferences and has also been: visiting PhD student at the University of Naples Federico II, Italy (2000), and the University of California at Berkeley, USA (2001); visiting Research Fellow at the University of Patras, Greece (2004); visiting Professor at the Politecnico di Torino, Italy (since 2021).

Dr Palmeri’s research mainly focuses on various applications of Structural Dynamics, including Bridge, Earthquake and Wind engineering, and Probabilistic Methods, including the Risk-Based Design of structures. His work is both computational and experimental.

He has successfully supervised to completion 14 doctoral students on several topics of Structural Engineering and Mechanics. He has secured more than £700k of public research funds from various national and international sponsors. He has conducted research in collaboration with prestigious industrial partners (please see below for more details).

Dr Palmeri’s publications are highly cited, have been recognised with various international awards and feature prominently in the Loughborough University’s REF (Research Excellence Framework) 2021 submission (that is, eleven of his recent papers have been returned to the C13 unit of assessment for “Architecture, Built Environment and Planning”).

In addition to the leadership of the Structures & Materials Group, Dr Palmeri is the School’s Liaison Officer with the IStructE (Institution of Structural Engineers) and a member of the School’s Research Committee and Enterprise Committee (since 2014). He has been an elected member of the University Senate (2017-18) and has led the development of the Structural Engineering thread in the restructured Civil Engineering BEng/MEng (2017-2023) programme and in the new Architectural Engineering BEng/MEng programme (2018-24).

Affiliation to Professional Bodies and Learned Societies

Awards

For research, itemised in reverse chronological order:

  • Loughborough University’s Research Fellowship – Enabling a sabbatical leave for the first semester of the academic year 2021-22.
  • Italian National Qualification (“Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale”) as Full Professor in Structural Mechanics, 2018-24.
  • ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management) level-3 award in “Leadership & Management”, 2017.
  • “THINKlab Award for Best Paper on Research & Innovation” among those presented at The 13th International Postgraduate Conference, in Salford (UK), 2017.
  • “Editor-in-Chief’s Featured Article” for the May 2017 issue of the Elsevier’s journal Structures. The paper can be accessed here.
  • “E. H. Thompson Award for Best Paper” in the 2016 issues of the Wiley’s journal Photogrammetric Record. The paper can be accessed here.
  • First Prize in the IStructE’s Undergraduate Research Grant scheme awarded to Dr Palmeri’s finalist David Newby, working on the seismic rocking of flexible structures, 2012-13 – The winning poster can be accessed here.
  • First Prize in the IStructE's Undergraduate Research Grant scheme awarded to Dr Palmeri's finalists Steve Martinand Thomas Godfrey, working on rubberised concrete structures, 2011-12 – The winning poster can be accessed here.
  • The Young Researcher Fellowship Award for “Exemplary Research in Computational Mechanics”, in occasion of The 3rd MIT Conference on Computational Fluid and Solid Mechanics, held in Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA) and chaired by Prof Klaus-Jürgen Bathe2005.

For teaching & learning, itemised in reverse chronological order:

  • Loughborough University’s 2021 “Teaching Best Practice Award”, jointly received with Dr Mariateresa Lombardo(lead) and Dr Giorgio Barone for “Structural Feeling and Conceptual Design”, an innovative integrated learning framework to promote creativity and engagement.
  • ABCE’s “Teaching Star Award” for CVD020 – Structural Dynamics & Earthquake Engineering (highest students’ rating in the medium-sized category across the whole School, academic year 2019-20).
  • ABCE’s “Teaching Star Award” for CVC013 – Applied Structural Analysis (highest students' rating in the medium-sized category across the whole School, academic year 2015-16).

External activities

For research, itemised in reverse chronological order:

For teaching & learning , itemised in reverse chronological order:

  • Member, Steering Committee, BEng in “Civil Engineering”, University of Messina, Italy, since 2020.
  • External Examiner, MSc in “Advanced Civil and Structural Engineering”, University of Bradford, UK, 2018-21.
  • External Examiner, BEng in “Civil Engineering”, University of Brighton, UK, 2013-17.
  • External Advisor, Periodic review of PG programmes in Civil Engineering and Built Environment, University of Brighton, 2010.

Key collaborators

My research and enterprise activities are conducted with a range of academic and stakeholder partners, including but by no means limited to:

  • Overseas universities:
    Prof Alice Cicirello, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands (stability and vibration of cracked beams);
    Prof Paolo Gardoni, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA (appointed as Visiting Professor in Structural Engineering and Societal Risk Mitigation at Loughborough University – Read the press release here);
    Prof Nicola Impollonia, University of Catania, Italy (seismic retrofitting using dissipative towers);
    Prof Nicos Makris, Southern Methodist University, USA (dynamics of rocking structures);
    Prof Giuseppe Carlo Marano, Politecnico di Torino, Italy (heuristic optimisation);
    Prof Vasant Matsagar, IIT Delhi, India (artificial intelligence for the resilience of nuclear power plants);
    Prof Elena Mele, University of Naples Federico II, Italy (seismic retrofitting using mass damping);
    Prof Giuseppe Muscolino, University of Messina, Italy (random vibration);
    Prof Giacomo Navarra, Kore University of Enna, Italy (random vibration).