Iowa State’s Laflamme, MIT professor co-author structural engineering textbook

Laflamme_Textbook on Structural Motion Engineering_071114

Assistant Professor Simon Laflamme holds a magnetorheological damper, an advanced mechanism that can be used for damping vibrations in buildings.

Civil, construction and environmental engineering Assistant Professor Simon Laflamme and his former Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) thesis supervisor, Professor Jerome Connor, recently co-authored a textbook on structural motion engineering.

Laflamme_Structural Motion Engineering cover_071114The book, aptly titled “Structural Motion Engineering,” reviews formulas and theory based on several topics: calibration of the stiffness of structural columns and beams, passive damping systems, active damping systems, and semi-active damping systems to control for structural motion.

One can pre-order the book now on Amazon or with the publisher, Springer.

“The future of structural design lies in a motion-based approach,” Laflamme said. The strength-based approach, which considers load capacity of a structural system, is a traditional design method; however, with progress in construction techniques and materials, structures are becoming more flexible, and structural motion (from wind and earthquakes, for example) is becoming a critical, often governing aspect in design.

“Constructing lighter structures typically is economical, but these structures are prone to vibrations,” Laflamme said. “It results in a need to suppress these vibrations directly through the structural design phase.” The goal is to make buildings safer and more comfortable for occupants, he said.

The textbook will be used in MIT structural engineering courses this fall. Laflamme plans to develop an Iowa State course based on the book in the foreseeable future.

Laflamme earned a civil engineering doctorate at MIT in 2011, where he completed his dissertation, under Connor’s direction, on the control of large-scale structures with large uncertainties.


  1. Russell Hopley CE '53 says:

    This is indeed a timely and important subject – “Structural Motion Engineering”. I am happy to see the results of this being addressed in the curriculum in structural engineering design.
    Having had experience in the design of large offshore oil and gas drilling and production platforms which are subjected to repeated wind and wave forces and normal design loads, it is doubly important to incorporate the effects of tectonic forces existing in earthquake prone areas. This indeed is a necessary further step ahead to include these motion generated forces for safe and efficient design in addition to the normal structural design based on load capacity.
    I am happy that this is now being addressed by the leading civil engineering universities including ISU.

    Russell Hopley
    BSCE ISC ’53

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