Structural Engineering & Computational Mechanics Group

Team

Staff

Dr Christina McLeod

Dr Christina McLeod

Senior Lecturer | UKZN
mcleodc@ukzn.ac.za | 031 260 1059

Dr McLeod is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Civil Engineering and Programme Co-Ordinator. She is also Module coordinator for 4th year Design Projects. Her research interests are focused on reliability and sustainability of structures, cracking in water retaining structures, design code regulations in the framework of deterministic and probabilistic analysis as well as evaluation of existing design codes towards accurate, crack models for water retaining concrete structures. She is also involved with research on fire protection systems and sustainable materials.

Dr McLeod has supervised several post-graduate students. She has an extended experience as a structural designer, she is registered as a Candidate Engineer (ECSA, South Africa) and she is working towards registering as a Professional Engineer. 

Prof Georgios A Drosopoulos

Prof Georgios A Drosopoulos

Honorary Associate Professor | UKZN

After completion of a post-doctoral research programme in Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany and Technical University of Crete, Greece, Prof. Drosopoulos was appointed as a Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering at UKZN (July 2016). In November 2019, he was promoted to Associate Professor.
From November 2020, Prof. Drosopoulos has a Lecturer position, at University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Preston, UK.

Prof Drosopoulos is the organizer and head of the Structural Engineering and Computational Mechanics group. He has published several articles in international journals, book chapters and conferences proceedings and he has participated in several research projects as Principal Investigator and Collaborator. He also serves as a reviewer in various scientific journals. Prof. Drosopoulos has supervised several undergraduate and post-graduate (MSc and PhD) student dissertations.

Prof Drosopoulos is a C-3 rated scientist with the National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF). In 2018 and 2019 he was voted Best Lecturer in Civil Engineering.

His research focuses on problems related to data-driven analysis for structural mechanics, contact mechanics, multi-scale homogenization for the investigation of the microscopic level of composite materials, non-linear finite element analysis of masonry structures, auxetic materials, topology optimization and homogenization, non-linear finite element analysis for steel structures. Recently his research focuses on the structural evaluation and optimization of Graphene and Carbon-Nanotube reinforced composite materials.

Dr Moses Kiliswa

Dr Moses Kiliswa

Senior Lecturer | UKZN

Dr Moses Kiliswa is a highly skilled Professional Forensic/Structural Engineer and Material Scientist. He holds an award-winning PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, a MSc in Civil (Structural) Engineering from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and a Bachelors’ (Hons) Degree in Civil and Structural Engineering from Moi University, Kenya. Dr Kiliswa is a Licenced Professional Engineer with Engineers Board of Kenya, a Corporate Member of the Institution of Engineers of Kenya, a Scientific Committee Member of RILEM (TC 253 MCI STAR), a Member of the American Concrete Institute, and a Member of the Concrete Society of Southern Africa.

He was appointed to the position of Senior Lecturer, Structural Engineering, in the School of Engineering, University of KwaZulu-Natal in January 2018. Prior to this appointment, Dr Kiliswa worked in academia and industry, both in South Africa and Kenya. He has over 5 years of experience in academia, teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Kenya. He also has over 12 years of industry experience, where he has handled a variety of projects including wind farms, telecommunication towers, high-rise buildings, dams, among others.

Dr Kiliswa’s main research interest is in durability of concrete in aggressive environments. He uses microstructural characterization techniques in developing or improving the performance of concrete mixtures. Because of his expertise, he acts as a Journal Reviewer for Cement and Concrete Research, Materials and Structures, and Royal Society of Chemistry.

Dr Kiliswa is an ardent sports fun, and enjoys playing field hockey

Dr Oladimeji Benedict Olalusi

Dr Oladimeji Benedict Olalusi

Senior Lecturer | UKZN
olalusio@ukzn.ac.za | 031 260 2130

Dr Olalusi is an award-winning Senior Lecturer and a Chartered Professional Engineer with several years of experience. He is currently a Chartered Professional Structural Engineer with Engineer Australia (CPEng) and a Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ). His expertise includes structural reliability/safety & risk analysis, forensic structural engineering, assessment of existing structures, innovative concrete materials, applied data analytics & artificial intelligence. Benedict is an NRF-Rated Researcher in South Africa.

He currently serves as a technical committee/board member for several groups and institutes, including the Concrete Institute of Australia (CIA) and the International Federation of Structural Concrete (fib). He has published several journal publications in structural engineering and received numerous national and international awards. In 2021, he was announced as South Africa’s Top Young Concrete Researcher.

Research Collaborators

Professor, Department of Accounting and Finance, Dean of the School of Management and Economics, Technological Educational Institution of Epirus, Greece

Professor Foutsitzi, completed her PhD studies at University of Ioannina, Greece, in 1996. Since 2012 works as a Professor and Dean of the School of Management and Economics, Technological Educational Institution of Epirus, Greece.
Her research interests are focused on Mathematical Modeling and Simulation (Thermoelasticity, Electroelasticity), Smart Materials and Structures, Variational Methods (Variational Inequalities), Finite Element Method, Design and Control of Smart Structures, etc. She has participated in several research projects, being a reviewer of several international journals. She has published several articles in international journals and conferences proceedings.

Deputy Rector of the Technical University of Crete, Greece

After his Habilitation and venia legendi for mechanics, Department of Civil Engineering, Carolo Wilhelmina Technical University, Braunschweig, Germany, Professor Stavroulakis worked for some years as an Associate Professor of Mechanics, at University of Ioannina, Greece. Since 2005 he works as a Professor at Department of Production Engineering and Management, Technical University of Crete, Chania, Greece.

Professor Stavroulakis has published numerous books, international journal articles and conferences proceedings. He is an editor and reviewer in several international journals. He has also organized several international conferences and he participates in several research projects.

His research interests are related to the study of non-smooth and possibly nonconvex problems in mechanics and technology by adopting tools of non-smooth analysis and optimization. The mathematical models have the form of variational and hemivariational inequalities. Applications include unilateral contact effects, friction, elastoplasticity, semi-permeability and flow in networks.

In addition, he works with optimal selection of shape, materials or control which requires parametric modeling and efficient numerical optimization tools. Shape as well as topology optimization methods for structures, materials or mechanisms are investigated. His research also focuses on the design of new composites which require the development of powerful numerical homogenization tools. Materials with innovative properties (like auxetics with negative Poisson’s ratio, or chiral microstructures) are also studied and proposed for certain applications

Technical University of Crete, Greece

Dr Tairidis completed his PhD studies in 2016. His research focuses on control problems applied to composite smart structures. Several optimization procedures are used for this research. Dr. Tairidis has published several articles in international journals and conferences proceedings.

Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, Technical University of Crete

After completed her PhD studies at Technical University of Crete, Greece, Dr. Stavroulaki was appointed Lecturer in the Department of Sciences, Technical University of Crete (2005). Since 2013 she works as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture, Technical University of Crete. She has published several books, papers to refereed scientific journals and conference proceedings and she is a member of the Scientific Committee and the organizing committee of conferences.
The main part of her scientific research refers to the seismic behaviour of unreinforced masonry buildings with various floor systems, structural systems, strengthening techniques, material models. Also static and dynamic finite analysis and studies of restoration and conservation of specific buildings, old historic stone bridges, preserved buildings, specific traditional structural systems as rainwater dry stone cisterns are included.

Technical University of Crete, Greece

Dr Kaminakis completed his PhD studies in 2015. His research focuses on the creation and implementation of non-linear topology optimization codes, in the framework of the finite element analysis. Auxetic materials analysis and design are studied. Several optimization techniques are used for the numerical implementation of the optimization procedure. Dr. Kaminakis has published several articles in international journals and conferences proceedings.

Dr Koutsianitis finished his PhD studies in 2020. His research focuses among others on band gap problems, control algorithms applied to smart structures and non-linear finite element analysis of masonry structures. He has published several articles in international journals and conferences proceedings

PhD students

BEng, MEng, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Supervisor: Professor Georgios A Drosopoulos

Mr Motsa started his PhD studies in 2020, in the topic of numerical modelling of masonry structures, including among others, masonry arch bridges.

He has been author of publications in international journals and conferences proceedings. Mr Motsa finished his undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering, UKZN, in 2017. In 2018 he completed his MSc studies on the concept of non-linear finite element analysis for masonry structures. Unilateral contact-friction interfaces between stones were simulated and the response of masonry structures with potential cracks was evaluated. In 2019, his MSc dissertation was awarded with Cum Laude.

BEng, UKZN, MEng, Wits, South Africa 

Supervisor: Professor Georgios A Drosopoulos

Mr Thango started his PhD studies in 2021 in the topic of numerical investigation of blast actions on masonry structures. Mr Thango has significant professional exprerience and he is Pr. Eng. with ECSA.

BEng, MSc University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Supervisor: Professor Georgios A Drosopoulos

Mr Jeawon started his PhD studies in 2021, in the field of numerical modelling of nanocomposite materials.

Mr Jeawon completed his MSc research in 2020, in the field of nanocomposite materials. His MSc dissertation was awarded with Cum Laude. Goal of his research was the structural evaluation of graphene reinforced nanocomposites, using finite element analysis and optimization principles.    

Masters students

BEng, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Supervisors: Professor Georgios A Drosopoulos, Dr Christina McLeod, Dr Benedict Olalusi

Mr Gopal started his MSc studies in 2021, in the topic of numerical modelling of fibre reinforced concrete.

Mr Chukwuemeka startred his MSc studies in 2021, in the topic of data-driven structural analysis for composite structures.

Former post-graduate students

BEng, MEng, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Supervisor: Dr Christina McLeod

Ms Mwamba completed her MSc on 2016 (Cum Laude), under the supervision of Dr McLeod, Civil Engineering programme, UKZN. Her MSc research was related to the design of water retaining structures, using both deterministic and probabilistic approaches for the evaluation of existing code regulations for these types of structures.

BEng, MEng, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Supervisor: Professor Georgios A Drosopoulos

Ms Singh finished her undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering, UKZN, in 2015. Her undergraduate dissertation was awarded the first prize in a national competition in 2016 (undergraduate supervisor: Dr Elena Friedrich, Civil Engineering programme, UKZN).
In 2017 she completed her MSc in the structural evaluation of steel structures under fire conditions. Non-linear finite element models were developed for the investigation of the impact of fire protection systems on steel connections.
Ms Singh’s MSc dissertation was awarded Summa Cum Laude.

BEng, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Supervisor: Professor Georgios A. Drosopoulos

Mr Phakwago completed his MSc studies in 2020, in the field of finite element analysis modelling of steel bridges. He finished his undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering, UKZN, in 2017. His undergraduate dissertation related to numerical investigation of masonry arches was awarded one of the top student prizes (supervisor Prof Drosopoulos)

BEng, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Supervisor: Professor Georgios A Drosopoulos

Mr Nene completed his MSc studies in 2020, in the field of structural analysis of multi-storey steel structures under fire actions. He finished his undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering, UKZN, in 2018. His undergraduate dissertation was related to numerical investigation of steel structures under fire conditions (supervisor Prof Drosopoulos). 

BEng, MEng, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa 

Supervisor: Professor Georgios A. Drosopoulos

Mr Naidoo finished his undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering, UKZN, in 2016.  In 2018 he completed his MSc studies, on the concept of the structural evaluation of vibration reduction systems (base isolation) used to reduced earthquake’s impact on structures. The main idea of this research was the investigation of auxetic mechanisms as base isolation systems. Auxetic mechanisms are defined and numerically tested, using non-linear finite element analysis models. Past earthquakes were also used to test the impact of auxetic base isolators on the dynamic response of structures. In 2019 Mr. Naidoo’s MSc dissertation was awarded Cum Laude.

BEng, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Supervisor: Professor Georgios A Drosopoulos

Mr Moonsamy completed his MSc in 2020, in the field of numerical evaluation of low cost houses using nonlinear finite element analysis. His MSc studies were financially supported by Professor Derek Stretch. Mr Moonsamy finished his undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering, UKZN, in 2018. His undergraduate dissertation related to numerical investigation of masonry walls using MATLAB nonlinear finite element codes incorporating the Extended Finite Element method (XFEM) was awarded 86% (supervisor Prof Drosopoulos). 

BEng, MEng, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Supervisor: Professor Georgios A Drosopoulos

Mr Anashpaul completed his MSc studies in 2020 in the field of numerical modelling and optimization of composite materials. Mr Anashpaul developed numerical codes in Matlab, which were used for the evaluation of the minimum weight optimization problem, for Carbon Nanotube, Fibre reinforced composite laminates.

BEng, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Supervisor: Professor Georgios A Drosopoulos

Mr Mhlongo finished his MSc research in 2020, in the field of nanocomposite materials. Goal of his research was the structural evaluation of graphene or carbon-nanotubes reinforced nanocomposites, using finite element analysis. Proper micromechanics equations were used to determine effective material properties for nanocomposites. Then, a laminate composite structure was simulated in commercial finite element software. Investigations of buckling and/or eigenfrequency as well as the influence of different boundary conditions on the structural response, were considered.