Faculty Highlight: Mohammed Alnaggar
The nation’s deteriorating infrastructures are the core subject of Dr. Alnaggar’s research. His experience covers a wide range of research topics spanning from detailed material constitutive modeling to large structural scale applications that include: meso-scale and macro-scale modeling of quasi-brittle materials; physical and chemical modeling of aging and deterioration effects on materials including shrinkage, creep, thermal and Alkali-Silica reaction effects; fracture mechanics; continuum mechanics; nonlinear constitutive modeling of materials; analysis of cable supported structures and high rise buildings; neural networks; control of structures; and automatic parameter identification.
Dr. Alnaggar is mainly interested in aging and deterioration of concrete material and infrastructures. His research combines state of the art physics based constitutive models that simulate the effect of a multitude of physical and chemo-physical phenomena on concrete aging and deterioration.
He applies state of the art physics based computational mechanics techniques to model aging and deterioration both at the fine mesoscale and macroscopic scale using both discrete and continuum models. His recently published paper on alkali silica reaction has drawn considerable attention in the technical community and enabled collaboration in multiple projects within and outside his CEE department at Northwestern University where he got his PhD.
Prior to his PhD studies, for his master, he developed a novel approach to compensate time delay in active control of seismically excited structures using Neural Networks.
He currently plans to assess and simulate the response of aging infrastructures and their response to severe loading conditions including fire, impact, blast, wind and earthquakes. This will be achieved by building rigorous physically-based models that can predict materials strength degradation over time. The formulations will start at the fine scale (including nano/micro/meso scales) as needed for a good understanding of the initiation and progression of damage. Then, the results obtained at small scale will be used to enhance the capabilities of macroscopic continuum models to simulate structural performance.
He also has a strong teaching background. For him, engineers are the optimizers of the world and so they deserve a special consideration when taught, in both curricular content and methods of teaching. In Egypt, he was responsible for developing and teaching two elective courses for the senior undergraduate students on High Rise Building Design and Computer Aided Design of Structures. he was also trained on 6 leadership courses for excellence in research and teaching in Egypt.
In addition, he had 8 years of part time exposure to the profession, in which he designed a wide range of structures including stadiums, steel bridges and especially high-rise buildings in the Gulf area. Such an experience had a big impact on his teaching capabilities and philosophy.