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Photo of Ansari, Farhad

Farhad Ansari, PhD

UIC Distinguished Professor

Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke Professor of Civil Engineering

Civil, Materials, and Environmental Engineering


Research Interests

Professor Ansari’s main area of research is in the application of optical fiber sensors for structural health monitoring.  He has consulted on and designed structural monitoring systems for bridges around the world, including New York’s Brooklyn Bridge; Lingotto Bridge in Turin, Italy; New York’s Manhattan Bridge; several cable-stayed bridges in China; and numerous other bridges in the United States including the I-5 Lambert Road box girder bridge in Sacramento, California,  as well as Kishwaukee Bridge and Thornton Quarry Bridges in Illinois. Professor Ansari and his students perform fundamental research in structural engineering, sensor technologies, nondestructive testing and mechanics.  A major portion of his work involves forensic investigations of bridges and other types of structures.  His recent work in Italy pertained to the post collapse analysis of the Morandi Polcevera viaduct in Genoa, Italy.


Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Civil Structural Health Monitoring, JCSHM, Published by Springer

Research Laboratory

Our expertise is in structural health monitoring of civil infrastructure systems. We develop strategies for forensic analysis of bridges, buildings and other types of civil infrastructure facilities such as pipelines, and tunnels. Our capabilities are unique since we are structural engineers with expertise in fiber optic sensors. Depending on the application, we may either use discrete (FBG) or distributed sensors (BOTDA, Rayleigh, MZ, etc). The range of our structural health monitoring activities include design of the sensor system and wiring for the structure and problem to be solved; installation of the sensor system in the structure; installation of the interrogation unit and data acquisition system in the field; installation of the software specific for the parameters to be monitored; remote real time monitoring of the sensor data; analysis and recommendations. Examples of our projects can be found in our laboratory site.  As an academic entity, the most important product of our laboratory is our students, post doctoral fellows and visiting scholars. Our students will all develop unique expertise in sensors, NDT, and structural health monitoring by the time of their graduation.

Selected Publications

  1. Gong S, Feng X, Zhang G, Ansari F. (2022),”Distributed detection of internal cavities in concrete-filled steel tube arch bridge elements.” Journal of Structural Health Monitoring. May 2022. doi:1177/14759217221088457
  2. Zhao, L., Tang, F., Li, H.-N., & Ansari, F. (2022),” Characterization of OFDR distributed optical fiber for crack monitoring considering fiber-coating interfacial slip,” Journal of Structural Health Monitoring.
  3. Yuan, B., Yu, Y., Morgese, M., and Ansari, F., (2022),” Theoretical and Experimental Studies of Micro-Surface Crack Detections Based on BOTDA,” Sensors, 22(9) 3529;
  4. Morgese, Marco Domaneschi, Farhad Ansari, Gian Paolo Cimellaro, and Daniele Inaudi, (2021),” Improving Distributed Fiber-Optic Sensor Measures by Digital Image Correlation: Two-Stage Structural Health Monitoring,” American Concrete Institute, Journal of Structural Engineering, Vol. 118, No. 6, PP. 91 – 102
  5. Tochaei, E.N.. Fang, Z., Taylor, T., Babanejad, S., and Ansari, F.,(2021),”Structural Monitoring and remaining life estimation of typical welded crack details in the Manhattan Bridge,” Engineering Structures, Vol. 231,
  6. Fang, Z., Su, H., and Ansari, F., (2021),”Modal analysis of structures based on distributed measurement of dynamic strains with optical fibers,” Journal of Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, Vol. 159,
  7. Oskoui E., Taylor T., and Ansari, F. (2021),” Reference-Free Dynamic Distributed Monitoring of Damage in Multispan Bridges,” ASCE, J. Structural Engineering, Vol. 147, No. 1,, DOI: 1061/(ASCE)ST.1943-541X.0002858
  8. Song Q., Yan G., Tang G., and Ansari F.,(2021),”Robust principal component analysis and support vector machine for detection of microcracks with distributed optical fiber sensors,” Journal of Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, Vol. 146, No. 1,
  9. Song, Q., Zhang, C., Tang, G., and Ansari, F. (2020),”Deep learning method for detection of structural microcracks by brillouin scattering based distributed optical fiber sensors,”Smart Materials and Structures, Vo. 29, No. 7,
  10. Domaneschi, C. Pellecchia, e. De Luliis, G.P. Cimellaro, M. Morgese, A.A. Khalil, and F. Ansari, (2020),”Collapse Analysis of the Polcevera Viaduct by the Applied Element Method,” Engineering Structures, Vol. 214,
  11. Tochaei, E.N., Taylor, T., and Ansari, F.,(2020),”Effects of near-field ground motions and soil-structure interaction on dynamic response of a cable-stayed bridge,” Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, Vol. 133,
  12. Li, P.F., Li, H.N., Li, G., Ansari, F., Li,C.,(2020)”Out-of-Plane seismic behavior of cast-in-situ composite wall with metal tailing porous concrete,” Engineering Structures, Vol. 210,
  13. Maurizio Morgese, Farhad Ansari, Marco Domaneschi, Gian Paolo Cimellaro (2020), “Post collapse analysis of Morandi’s Polcevera viaduct in Genoa Italy,” Journal of civil structural health monitoring, Vol. 10, No. 1,
  14. WeiDing, Zhi WeiLi, Yu JinZhang, FarhadAnsari, ShiYi (2020),” Double Mach-Zehnder acoustic emission interferometer for detection of damage in structures,” Optics Communications, Vol. 459, No. 15,
  15. Oskoui, E., Taylor, T., and Ansari, F., (2019), “Method and sensor for monitoring weight of trucks in motion based on bridge girder end rotations,” Journal of Structure and Infrastructure Engineering, DOI: 10.1080/ 15732479.2019.1668436
  16. Qingsong, S., Chen, Y., Oskoui, E, Fang, Z., Taylor, T., Tang, G., Zhao, X., and Ansari, F., (2019), “Microcrack detection of steel beam surface using stacked auto-encoders on massive full-scale sensing strains,” Journal of Structural Health Monitoring, DOI:10.1177/1475921719879965
  17. Oskoui, E.A., Taylor, T., and Ansari, F.,(2019), “Method and monitoring approach for distributed detection of damage in multi-span continuous bridges,” Engineering Structures, Vol. 189, PP. 385-395.
  18. Kong Y, Du TY, Wang YQ, and Ansari F, (2019),” Analysis the Temperature Effect on the Output Polarization Degree of the Fiber Lyot Depolarizer, Journal of Optik, IJLEO,, Vol. 179, PP. 617-623.

Service to Community

2019 – present - Panel member, ResearchAssessment Exercise (RAE), Built Environment, University Grants Committee (UGC) of Hong Kong.

2018 – 2024 - IDEA Program, Oversight Panel member, National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP)

2012 – 2018 - Department Academic Advisor – Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering – Hong Kong Polytechnic University

2017- 2018 - Department Academic and Research Assessment Committee Member– University of New Mexico, Civil Engineering

2016 - 2017 - University of Western Florida, Advisor to the College of Engineering for establishment of civil engineering department

2013 – 2014 - State University of New York, Stony Brooke, Advisor to the College of Engineering for establishment of civil and environmental engineering program

2006 – 2009 - Technical Board Member of Fibersensing, Porto, Portugal

Professional Leadership

President (2009 - 2014), International Society for Structural Health Monitoring of Intelligent Infrastructure – ISHMII (

Committee Chair, ASCE Engineering Mechancis Committee Chair on “Experimental Analysis and Instrumentation

Notable Honors

2019-2020, Presidential Fellow, University of Illinois System

2018, Aftab Mufti Medal for achievements in civil structural health monitoring, ISHMII - International Society for Health Monitoring of Intelligent Infrastructure

2015, UIC Distinguished Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago

1997, Nova Award, Construction Innovation Forum (CIF)


Ph.D. Civil Engineering (1983) University of Illinois at Chicago

M.S. Civil Engineering (1979) University of Colorado

B.S. Civil Engineering (1976) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Professional Memberships

Fellow of ISHMII, International Society for Structural Health Monitoring of Intelligent Infrastructure,” (2009-2014)

Member American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

Intellectual Property


Patent Number 5,082,371, Farhad Ansari, ”Method and Apparatus for Measuring Entrained Air in Concrete,”
Issued 1992


Patent Number 9,109,883, Farhad Ansari, Asad Bassam,” High Resolution Large Displacement/Crack Sensor,” Licensed to Technica.
Issued 2015


Patent Number, 9010176, Farhad Ansari, Amirhossein Iranmanesh,” Scour Sensor and Method of Using Same,”



Issued 2015