Ahmed Elbanna

Ahmed Elbanna
Ahmed Elbanna
  • Donald Biggar Willett Faculty Fellow
  • Associate Professor
(217) 300-4664
2219 Newmark Civil Engineering Bldg

Primary Research Area

  • Structural Engineering

Research Areas

For More Information


Ahmed E. Elbanna holds a Ph.D. in civil engineering (2011) and an M.S. in applied mechanics (2006), both from the California Institute of Technology, and an M.S. in structural engineering (2005) and B.S. in civil engineering (2003) from Cairo University. He joined the faculty in 2013. 

His honors include the National Science Foundation CAREER award, 2018, Fellowship of the National Center of Supercomputing Applications, 2015, the George Housner Fellowship, California Institute of Technology, 2005, and a Certificate of Honor, National Ceremony of Science, Egypt, 2004.


  • PhD. Civil Engineering California Institute of Technology, USA 2011
  • MSc. Applied Mechanics California Institute of Technology, USA 2006
  • MSc. Structural Engineering Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University 2005
  • BSc. Civil Engineering Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University 2003

Academic Positions

  • Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign 2020-present
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign 2013-2020
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Physics, University of California at Santa Barbara 2011-2012

Professional Societies

  • Member of United States Association of Computational Mechanics (2013-present)
  • Member of Society of Engineering Sciences (2013-present)
  • Member of American Physics Society (2013-present)
  • Member of Engineering Mechanics Institute -ASCE (2013-present)
  • Member of American Geophysics Union (2007-present)

Service on Department Committees

  • Member of Graduate Recruitment Weekend (2022-present)
  • Member of Structures Conference Organizing Committee (2022 - present)
  • Chair of Structural Engineering Qualification Exam Committee (2015- present)
  • Member of Graduate Admissions Committee (2014-2015)

Service on Campus Committees

  • Member of the Faculty Senate (2020-present)
  • Computational Science and Engineering Program - Steering Committee Member (2017-present)

Other Outside Service

  • Co-Leader of the Computational Science Disciplinary Group within the Planning Committee of the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) [2019 - present]

Research Interests

  • Modeling Epidemics
  • Friction and fracture
  • Mechanical metamaterials.
  • Mechanics and physics of networked and biological materials
  • Mechanics and physics of earthquakes and granular matter

Research Statement

Our research focuses on problems in theoretical and applied mechanics of solids, in the presence and absence of pore fluids, with special emphasis on fracture, deformation and wave propagation. Currently, we have three major research thrusts:


The long term objective of this research is to link small scale processes in fault zones with large scale dynamic rupture characteristics, wave propagation, seismic and aseismic slip, and long term earthquake cycle models to provide rigorous predictive tools for nonlinear fault dynamics that can ultimately inform next generation seismic hazard models. Our work is contributing to the development of micromechanical models of deformation and failure in granular materials, modeling dynamic ruptures in heterogeneous fault zones and branched fault systems, identification of hydro-thermo- mechanical weakening mechanisms specific to fault gouge, investigation of strain localization and stick-slip dynamics in sheared and vibrated granular layers with breakable particles, and establishment of novel hybrid numerical techniques for multi-scale fault zone dynamics.


The long term objective of this research is to develop a rigorous understanding for the effect of micro-structure and local topology on deformation and failure of networked materials. Specific systems of interest include polymer networks as arising in hydrogels and soft tissues and trabecular networks in human bone. Current efforts focus on multi-scale constitutive modeling and fracture in soft materials including rate dependence, damage evolution, poro-mechanical effects and structure-function relations as well as the development of quasi-continuum models for domain decomposition in fractured lattice-like materials.


The primary objective of this research is to design materials with adaptive, tunable and extreme elastodynamic properties using principles from biology and geophysics that will transform applications in impact resistance, wave modulation, and earthquake engineering. Current efforts focus on theoretical understanding of the nature of mechanical band gaps, elastodynamic response of layered systems, novel applications of transformation elastodynamics, and modeling of negative stiffness structural elements.

To address these challenging topics we use a variety of theoretical techniques stemming from non-equilibrium statistical thermodynamics (shear transformation zone theory), computational mechanics (finite element and boundary integral methods), optimization theory (topology optimization), machine learning, and nonlinear dynamics (stability analysis, reduced order models and chaos theory).

Primary Research Area

  • Structural Engineering

Research Areas

Selected Articles in Journals

Articles in Conference Proceedings

  • "Towards physics based seismic PRA." Ahmed Elbanna,Zahra Mohaghegh, Erbie Kee, Seyed Reihani, Reza Kazemi and Shawn Rodgers. Proceedings of 2013 ANS National Meeting, November 2013

Abstracts (in print or accepted)


  • Donald Biggar Willet Faculty Fellow (2020)
  • 7th Arab American Frontiers of Science, Engineering, and Medicine - Invited Participant (2019)
  • 2019 Journal of Applied Mechanics Paper Award (2019)
  • National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Award (2018)
  • National Center for Super Computing Applications Fellowship (2015-2016)

Teaching Honors

  • Teachers ranked excellent by their students - CEE460 (Fall 2021)
  • Teachers ranked excellent by their students - CEE460 (Fall 2019)
  • Teachers ranked excellent by their students - CEE470 (Fall 2018)