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Professor Theodore L. Karavasilis MEng, MSc, PhD

Professor of Structures and Structural Mechanics

Professor Theodore L. Karavasilis's photo

Professor Karavasilis holds the Chair in Structures and Structural Mechanics in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences of the University of Southampton. He is member of the Infrastructure Research Group.

Resilience-based design of steel and steel-concrete composite buildings and bridges under multiple extreme hazards, service loading, and environmental effects

Previously he served as Associate Professor in Structural Engineering (2013-2016) and Assistant Professor in Structural Engineering (2011-2013) in the School of Engineering of the University of Warwick (UK); as Departmental Lecturer in Civil Engineering (2010-2011) in the Department of Engineering Science of the University of Oxford (UK); and as Post-Doctoral Research Associate – NEES Scientist (2007-2010) in the ATLSS (Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems) Research Center of Lehigh University (PA, USA). He holds a PhD (2007) in Structural Engineering from the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of Patras (GR).

He is expert in Structural Resilience with a particular focus on Steel and Steel-Concrete Composite Buildings and Bridges under multiple extreme hazards, service loading, and environmental effects.

Professor Karavasilis is member of the international working group WG7 of IABSE; member of the BCSA steel connections group; member of a panel working on EC8-Part 1 for BS525/8; member of the Editorial Board of Steel and Composite Structures, an International Journal; member of the Editorial Board of Earthquakes and Structures, an International Journal; reviewer for research councils in the UK and abroad; reviewer for more than 20 international scientific journals; inventor of a demountable shear connector for precast steel-concrete composite bridges (WO 2016/135512 A1; international patent application published on 1st of September 2016); author/co-author of more than 100 publications in Journals, Conferences, and Books; Chartered Civil Engineer in Greece; structural engineering consultant in Europe and Asia; and recipient of the Best Steel Structures Paper Award as co-author of a paper published in the proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Steel and Aluminium Structures (ICSAS 2016, Hong Kong).

Visit Professor Karavasilis's ResearchGate and Google Scholar web pages.

Research interests

  • Multi-hazard resilience-based design of steel and steel-concrete composite structural systems
  • Structural design for sustainability and life-span extension
  • Earthquake-resilient low-damage steel frames
  • Demountable precast steel-concrete composite bridges
  • Smart damage-free steel joints and connections
  • Passive energy dissipation devices for structural vibration control
  • Performance-based earthquake engineering
  • Bridge engineering
  • Fatigue assessment and fracture simulation of steel structural components
  • Nonlinear modelling and analysis of steel structures
  • Large-scale structural testing
  • Real-time hybrid simulation for dynamic testing of large structural systems

Research statement

Research activities mainly focus on steel and steel-concrete composite structures and cover both buildings and bridges under multiple extreme hazards, service loading, and environmental effects. Recent projects have developed structural systems with the inherent potential to overcome the socio-economic losses related to structural damage and deterioration, e.g. (i) steel frames with damage-free joints and dampers that help buildings to return to service within an acceptable short, if not immediate, time after strong earthquakes or windstorms; and (ii) demountable steel-concrete composite bridges with replaceable decks that minimise repair time in case of deterioration due to excessive service loading or environmental effects. These challenging goals are achieved through integrated experimental and computational research that utilises smart structural detailing, state-of-the-art constitutive material models, advanced nonlinear finite element analysis, and large-scale static and dynamic testing of structural components and systems. Our structural resilience research benefits from a direct interaction with other research centres of excellence worldwide, steel industries, structural engineering consultants, infrastructure stakeholders, and government agencies.

Examples of research projects

Novel demountable precast steel-concrete composite bridges for resilient and sustainable bridge infrastructure

Full-scale (10 m) demountable steel-concrete composite bridge beam test
Full-scale (10 m)demountable steel-concrete composite bridge beam test

During the last two decades, rapid deterioration of bridges has become a major issue due to various reasons including increase in traffic flow and weight of vehicles compared to those considered in initial design; harsh environmental conditions; use of de-icing salts especially in countries with cold climates; poor quality of construction materials; and limited maintenance. Bridge maintenance aims to ensure serviceability along with safety of users and typically involves inspection, repair, strengthening or replacement of the whole or part of a bridge. These operations result in direct economic losses (e.g. material and labor costs) as well as in indirect socio-economic losses due to disruption of traffic flow such as travel delays, longer travel distances, insufficient move of goods, and business interruption. Depending on the type of bridge and scale of the maintenance operations, indirect losses might be several times higher than direct losses and constitute one of the major challenges that bridge owners, decision makers, and bridge engineers face. Based on push-out tests, full-scale beam tests, and advanced numerical simulations, we develop smart structural details that drastically reduce the time and cost required for replacing any deteriorating structural component (e.g. steel beam, shear connector, concrete slab) of a precast steel-concrete composite bridge.

Development and standardization of low-damage post-tensioned self-centering steel frames for multi-hazard mitigation

Post-tensioned self-centering steel frames avoid inelastic deformations in beams and eliminate residual drifts as the result of gap openings developed in beam-column interfaces and recentering capability due to post-tensioned bars that clamp beams to the columns. Based on full-scale experiments and advanced numerical simulations, we develop practical self-centering connections incorporating very-easy-to-replace energy dissipaters and post-tensioned bar systems that avoid undesirable failures under large drifts. Apart from beam-column connections, we have developed damage-free rocking steel column bases equipped with friction-based energy dissipative devices. We work on the standardization of self-centering steel frames within the framework of Eurocode 8 for seismic resistance as well as on the assessment of their progressive collapse resistance in case of extreme column(s) removal scenarios. We have recently initiated research work towards the assessment of the fire and post-earthquake fire assessment of post-tensioned beam-column connections.

Full-scale post-tensioned beam-column joint test
Full-scale post-tensioned beam-column joint test
FEM simulation of the rocking behaviour of a simplified damage-free steel column base joint
FEM simulation of a rocking column base







Passive dampers and braces for optimum performance-based vibration control in tall steel slender buildings

Tall slender steel buildings are a special class of structural systems that have unique performance objectives and are typically designed using sophisticated analysis and design tools. Damage and disruption of occupancy in tall buildings after strong earthquakes and large floor accelerations under wind excitations are unacceptable risks that should be mitigated, since tall buildings are occupied by a large number of people and typically provide a range of important services to urban areas of high population density. Current design codes do not provide design procedures that specifically address the design requirements of tall slender buildings. In this project, we focus on the optimum performance-based wind and seismic design of tall steel buildings; having as primary objective to optimally design energy dissipation devices for achieving buildings which use less steel weight without compromising structural performance under seismic and wind excitations. In addition, the project explores the use of passive dampers for the retrofit of existing tall steel buildings designed with less strict performance objectives that do not meet the current resilience standards of stakeholders and modern societies.

Full-scale shaking table steel frame specimen (bay width: 5 m, storey height: 3 m) equipped with a visco-plastic brace (tests were conducted at the Seismic Simulator Facility of the Univ. of Patras)
Full-scale shaking table steel frame specimen

Research group

Infrastructure Group

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Book Chapters



CENV6134: Earthquake Engineering and Seismic Design of Steel Buildings (Module Lead)

FEEG1002: Mechanics, Structures and Materials

Post-Doctoral Research

PhD students and Post-Doctoral Researchers interested in conducting post-doctoral research in collaboration with Professor Karavasilis are welcome to contact him. Competitions for post-doctoral research fellowships are available every year. We have been successful in winning and managing Marie-Curie Post-Doctoral Fellowships (FP7, Horizon 2020 programs). Other funding opportunities may exist.

Current/Former Post-Doctoral Researchers

  • Dr D Pantousa (2017-now)
  • Dr T Lou (2017-now)
  • Dr F Freddi (2015-2017)
  • Dr C Dimopoulos (2015-2017)
  • Dr G Kamaris (2013-2016)
  • Dr A Tzimas (2013-2015)
  • Dr G Vasdravellis (2010-2012)


PhD Research

Undergraduate and graduate students interested in conducting research towards a PhD under the supervision of Professor Karavasilis are welcome to contact him. Funding opportunities and scholarships may exist.

Current/Former PhD students

  • Eirini Tzouka (2017-now)
  • N BAE (2015-now)
  • X Huang (2014-now)
  • M Baiguera (2014-2017)
  • ASH Suwaed (2013-2017)
  • K Kariniotakis (2013-2017)
  • V Kamperidis (2013-2016)
  • A Dimopoulos (2013-2016)
  • 2017 Academic Supervisor. Dawson Construction UoS - Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). Innovative UK. Academic Lead: Dr MP Byfield. £140,000
  • 2017 Principal Investigator (Scientist in Charge). Resilient steel frame against fire and seismic hazards. IF Marie-Sklodowska Curie Fellowship (for Dr D Pantousa). Horizon 2020 program. €185,000
  • 2017 Principal Investigator (Scientist in Charge). Time-dependent design and assessment of prestressed steel-concrete composite bridges with external FRP tendons. IF Marie-Sklodowska Curie Fellowship (for Dr T Lou). Horizon 2020 program. €195,00
  • 2016 Principal Investigator (Scientist in Charge). Earthquake-resilient self-centering steel frame. IF Marie-Sklodowska Curie Fellowship (for Dr F Freddi). Horizon 2020 program. €185,000
  • 2016 Principal Investigator (Scientist in Charge). Sustainable braced frame for multi-hazard mitigation. IF Marie-Sklodowska Curie Fellowship (for Dr C Dimopoulos). Horizon 2020 program. €185,000
  • 2014 Principal Investigator (Scientist in Charge). Novel minimal-damage seismic-resistant steel frame. IEF Marie-Curie Post-Doctoral Fellowship (for Dr G Kamaris). FP7 program. €225,000
  • 2013 Principal Investigator (Scientist in Charge). Sustainable steel-concrete composite frame for multi-hazard resistant-design. IEF Marie-Curie Fellowship (for Dr G Vasdravellis). FP7 Program. €275,000
  • 2013 Principal Investigator. Hybrid energy dissipative brace for performance-based wind and seismic design of structures. Proof-of-Concept Fund, Strategic Impact, Univ. of Warwick, UK. £40,000
  • 2013 Principal Investigator. Novel shear connector for demountable precast steel-concrete composite bridges. Higher Education Innovation and CUSP Initiative Funds, Strategic Impact, Univ. of Warwick, UK. £56,500
  • 2012 Principal Investigator. Resilient and sustainable steel frame with novel post-tensioned connections and rate-dependent passive dampers for multi-hazard resistant design. Engineering and Physical Research Council (EPSRC), UK. £125,000
  • 2011 Principal Investigator. Damage-free seismic-resistant steel frame with passive dampers and self-centering devices. Royal Society, UK. £15,000
  • 2010 Co-Investigator. Performance-based design of buildings for earthquake conditions using next-generation elastomeric dampers. Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance (PITA). $53,760 (PI: Prof. JM Ricles, Lehigh Univ., USA)
Professor Theodore L. Karavasilis
Engineering, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton. SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number: 7/5017

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