Shahrooz Named SEI Fellow

By: Ashley Duvelius

Bahram Shahrooz, PhD and UC CEAS civil engineering professor, was recently named an SEI (Structural Engineering Institute) Fellow.


Bahram M. Shahrooz, PhD, has been named an American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) SEI (Structural Engineering Institute) Fellow. Shahrooz is a civil engineering professor in the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management. His fellow status will be official as of April 5, 2014 at Structures Congress in Boston.

SEI is one of the numerous institutes that comprise the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). ASCE SEI established the SEI Fellow (F. SEI) grade of membership to recognize a select group of distinguished SEI members as leaders in structural engineering.

Shahrooz joined ASCE while he was in graduate school, and he’s been a member of SEI since its inception in 1996. He served as the Chair of ASCE Composite Construction Technical Committee from 2001 to 2004.  Additionally, Shahrooz was Associate Editor of ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering from 1994 to 1996, during which time he oversaw and coordinated the review of technical papers related to concrete and masonry structures.

“As of January 2014, there are only 124 SEI Fellows in the US and Canada out of 25,000+ members of SEI.  I’ll be among roughly 0.5% of the institute’s members who have been recognized for their major contributions to the field of structural engineering.  This is a tremendous honor to have been recognized for my research during the past 25 years at UC,” reflects Shahrooz.

Shahrooz attended Arizona State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he received his BS and MS, respectively. He then went to the University of California at Berkeley and earned his PhD in 1987. All of Shahrooz’ degrees were in civil engineering with an emphasis on structural engineering.

In 1988, Shahrooz joined the prestigious ranks of UC faculty and has enjoyed his 25+ years at the university. “Incidentally, my wife and I drove from Berkeley to Cincinnati.  We arrived on August 8, 1988 around 8 o’clock: 8-8-88 at 8!  We wondered, ‘Is this a coincidence or destiny?’” he recalled.

During his time with UC, Shahrooz has maintained a number of active research programs related to: (a) seismic performance of multistory buildings; (b) development of novel systems to reduce damage due to seismic loads; (c) fundamental studies in the use of advanced composites in civil infrastructures, such as bridge decks; (d) short-term and long-term health monitoring of bridges across Ohio; and (e) application of high-strength concrete and steel in bridges.  He explains, “The field of seismic design and behavior of concrete structures was my ‘first professional love,’ and I’ve always enjoyed pursuing it.”

Dr. Shahrooz (left) points Senator Chris Widener (right) to the control test that fractured a solid concrete pillar at UC's Center Hill facility.

Dr. Shahrooz (left) points Senator Chris Widener (right) to the control test that fractured a solid concrete pillar at UC's Center Hill facility.

A key goal of Shahrooz’ research has been to not only generate fundamental data and push the envelope for better ways to design structures but also to develop knowledge that helps field engineers.

Shahrooz asserts, “I always tell my graduate students that I don’t want to see a voluminous research report that sits on somebody’s bookcase and collects dust.  We need to help engineers design and build safer, more economical, and more durable buildings and bridges.”

One of Shahrooz’ first research projects, funded by the National Science Foundation, was to investigate novel structural systems for high-rise buildings using what is known as coupled core walls, or fuses.  In this system, individual walls are linked together to form a “strong back” for the building enabling it to resist wind and earthquake loads.  The space between these coupled walls is also typically used as elevator shafts.  Shahrooz and his research team published a paper in 1993 that summarized their research results.  This pioneering paper has since been deemed a “classic” in the structural engineering arena and he is now known as the “Father of the Fuse.” 

Since early 1990’s, Shahrooz continued working in the field and has enhanced his original concepts of the fuse.  His system is currently used in One World Trade Center, which is the tallest building in the US. 

In Shahrooz’ field, being “accomplished” is demonstrated by having one’s work appear in building codes—and his research has been used to write major portions of “Seismic Provisions for Structural Steel Buildings,” published by the American Institute of Steel Construction, and also “AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications,” published by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

Shahrooz affirms, “Being able to shape national building and bridge design codes plus publishing technical papers, which are routinely cited by researchers around the world, were instrumental in my election to become an SEI Fellow. Many countries use US building and bridge codes as the key component of their own codes, or use them verbatim.  Therefore, my research has also benefited engineers in other countries. I’ll continue to push the frontier of structural engineering through my research, and educate future faculty and engineers.”

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