Structural and fire engineering

Key people

At Manchester, we work to understand the safety and resilience of structures, particularly in extreme situations, contributing to improved methods of assessment, design and construction.

We consider the severe demands imposed on structures by fires, earthquakes and impacts, as well as the long-term durability of structures and constructional materials in a variety of environments.

Our research leads to safer and more robust structures through improved understanding of loading conditions, modelling and quantification of the fundamental behaviour of construction materials, improvements in critical structural components such as joints, and understanding of whole structural behaviour.

Our research embraces new structures and structural innovations, as well as the assessment of existing structures for continued use. We also have a long history of providing specialist consultancy for the solution of the most challenging practical problems.

Research methodology

We employ the full range of available research techniques, embracing physical testing, numerical modelling and analytical investigation. Large-scale experimental facilities for structural engineering at Manchester are long-established and these include Materials Testing laboratories, a Heavy Structures laboratory and a Fire Testing facility.  

Our advanced numerical modelling capability is supported by self-developed software for structural and fire engineering research as well as by commercial finite element packages.  Working with colleagues across the School and in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, we access a wide range of other facilities, including, for example, the experimental facilities of the North West Composites Centre, the School of Material Sciences, and numerical modelling using Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH).

Why don't you come and join us?

Available PhD Projects

Key applications

  • Fire engineering of structures. Our research on tensile membrane action and concrete filled steel tubes has led to major industrial applications such as the Shard and Moorgate development.
  • Assessment of structural vibration induced by human movements. Our expertise has been applied to a number of high profile buildings including the London Eye, Wembley Stadium, Ibrox Stadium.

Research focus

  • Characterisation of thermal and mechanical properties of materials at elevated temperatures.
  • Behaviour of structures in fire and development of resilient structural connections and systems to improve structural fire resistance.
  • Durability and structural resilience of coastal structures.
  • Structural vibration and human-structural interaction.
  • Vibration control of nuclear power plants subjected to earthquake actions.
  • Multi-scale modelling of crack growth in fibre reinforced composites.
  • Structural behaviour under impact.
  • Assessment of historic structures.
  • Masonry structures.

Technical consultancy

Our knowledge has been applied to a number of high profile projects.

  • Our numerical modelling helped Ritherdon develop the passively safe road cabinet. Watch a video about this project. 
  • We conducted a vibration assessment of the Wembley Stadium and the London Eye.
  • We measured natural frequencies of the Govan Stand at the Ibrox Stadium before and after its extension.
  • We devised a remedial scheme for floor vibration induced by dance type loads at a night club in Norwich and carried out  a review of the remedial scheme for vibration reduction at the Harlequinns Centre.
  • We ran a vibration assessment of the foundation of a chipper machine.
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