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Dr Prakash Kripakaran

Senior Lecturer


Telephone: 01392 726581

Extension: (Streatham) 6581

Prakash is academic lead for the civil and structures research group at Exeter. He is a fellow of the Alan Turing Institute. He is also a member of the vibration engineering section and the centre for water systems. He is programme lead for MSc Civil Engineering.

Prakash received his undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and his Masters and PhD in civil engineering from North Carolina State University in the USA. Prior to joining Exeter, he worked briefly as a post-doctoral researcher at the applied computing and mechanics laboratory at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland.


Prakash’s research interests are broadly in the design and management of bridge structures and other civil infrastructures. He is particularly interested in the application of novel technologies like drones/UAVs, BIM, AR/VR and computer vision as well as state-of-the-art computing techniques based on AI/data analytics for civil and structural engineering problems such as structural design, bridge management, infrastructure resilience to flooding and structural health monitoring.

Prakash has significant experience in

  • the experimental and numerical modelling of flow and scour (erosion) around hydraulic structures such as bridge piers;

  • the use of applied computing techniques including machine learning and data mining for civil and structural engineering applications;

  • the development of finite element modelling-based and data-driven strategies for interpreting measurements from bridge structural health monitoring; and

  • the application of heuristic and mathematical optimization methods for structural design problems (e.g. design of trusses and moment-resisting steel frames).

Below is a list of recently completed projects. 

  • Risk assessment of masonry bridges under flood conditions: Hydrodynamic effects of debris blockage and scour, EPSRC grant (£634k): Flooding-induced scour is a leading cause of bridge failures around the world. Scour effects can be further worsened by debris accumulations. This EPSRC-funded project examined the scour consequences of debris accumulations via experiments and numerical modelling. The project developed a novel method for assessing debris-induced scour risk that is currently being embedded within UK national guidance for bridge practitioners. Further details can be found here

  • Embedding techniques for assessing debris-induced scour within practice, EPSRC IAA grant (£35k): This EPSRC impact acceleration award project, partly funded by Devon County Council, transferred knowledge outcomes of aforementioned EPSRC project to practice. It led to a novel practical method for assessing the risk of formation of debris accumulations at bridges using satellite imagery and historical bridge inspection data. The method was trialled on Devon County Council's portfolio of over 3,000 bridges, and is now included within the revised scour assessment standards of Highways England. 

  • Fatigue monitoring in metallic bridges, PhD (Jalil Kwad): This project, undertaken in collaboration with Devon County Council, investigated the fatigue damage due to vehicle loading in metallic bridges under traffic loading. The Bascule Bridge in Exeter served as a case study, and strain and acceleration data were collected both under quasi-static conditions and during a planned load test using appropriate field instrumentation. A key outcome is a hybrid approach for tracking in-situ fatigue damage at a weld detail through integrating real-time field deformation data with high fidelity (numerical) connection model.

  • Temperature effects in bridges, PhD (Rolands Kromanis): Dealing with the thermal influence on structural response is critical to detect anomalies from measurements collected by bridge  monitoring systems. This project explored the use of machine learning techniques for modelling thermal response, and signal processing techniques for subsequently detecting anomalous events from measurement time series devoid of thermal response. This novel temperature-based measurement interpretation approach was trialled on a laboratory truss structure and a NPL footbridge. Importantly, the importance of thermal movements was illustrated on the bearings of the Cleddau bridge using field data. 

  • Detecting delimitation of externally-bonded FRP in concrete structures using ultrasonic methods, £5k, IStructE award: This project investigated the application of nonlinear ultrasonics for structural assessment in collaboration with Theta Technologies. The research award from the IStructE was employed for evaluating the strength of externally-bonded FRP retrofits using nonlinear ultrasonics. 

MSc Dissertations 

I also regularly supervise MSc dissertations on topics related to civil infrastructure monitoring and management, with a few examples listed below.

  • Optimisation of metal lightweight infill walls with finite element modelling, Eirini Marinaki (2019-20)

  • Predicting bridge pier scour using empirical equiations,  Yuchen Yao (2019-20)

  • Wavelet based damage detection of expansion joints, Zhehui Qian (2018-19)

  • TMDs for vibration control in cable-stayed bridges, Xinghai Deng (2018-19)

  • Modelling structural behaviour of multi-span masonry arches, Scott Trowbridge (2018-19)

  • Debris-induced scour around bridge piers, Antoneta Verushi (2018-19)

Academic and Industry links

Prakash is on the editorial board of the following journals: Advanced Engineering Informatics, Frontiers in Built Environment - Structural Sensing, Control and Asset Management, and Proceedings of the ICE - Engineering and Computational Mechanics. He is a member of the EPSRC peer review college, and a reviewer for several leading journals such as engineering structures, computers and structures, and journal of civil structural health monitoring.

Prakash has strong links with industry stakeholders ranging from asset owners such as Network Rail, Highways England and Devon County Council to consultants (e.g. JBA Consulting Ltd, HR Wallingford, Bill Harvey Associates) to stakeholder groups such as ADEPT and CIRIA. His work on debris-induced bridge scour has been incorporated in bridge management procedures of Devon County Council and within UK national guidance for scour risk assessment of road bridges. 

Prakash has active research links with a number of overseas universities and research institutions such as IISc Bangalore (India), Stony Brook (USA), and Twente university and Norwegian Geotechnical Institution in Europe.