You could say Dr. Ghadir Haikal, a new associate professor in the Structural Engineering and Mechanics group at CCEE, is a juggler of sorts. Her research, which is in the broad area of computational mechanics, juggles a mixture of mathematics, physics and computer methods.
“The goal is to develop computer models of civil engineering buildings, bridges and materials to study structures beyond what we can typically test in a lab,” she said.
She focuses on problems where multiple components interact through an interface — such as the interface between steel and concrete in reinforced concrete.
“Interfaces are very hard to model, and yet they are critical to the assessment of the overall structure as most damage mechanisms start at these interfaces,” Haikal said. “I am also looking to develop new methods that combine machine-learning techniques with our more traditional mechanics- based methodologies to improve speed and efficiency in modeling complex engineering problems.”
She is bringing her intellectual juggling act to CCEE, where she is teaching CE 325: Structural Analysis during the Fall 2022 semester.
Haikal was previously a group leader in the Computational Materials Integrity Section, Materials Engineering Department, Mechanical Engineering Division, at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, and an assistant professor at the Lyles School of Civil Engineering at Purdue University. She earned her master’s and Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign in 2004 and 2009, respectively, and a Bachelor of Civil Engineering in civil (structural) engineering from Tishreen University in Syria in 1998.
Haikal’s awards and honors include being named a distinguished engineer by the American Society of Engineering Education and a Fulbright fellowship alumna.
Haikal said she regards the CCEE program at NC State to be one of the “top programs in the country with fantastic faculty, great resources and excellent students.”
“I look forward to working with students, both through research and in the classroom, growing my research program, and collaborating with other faculty on exciting new projects,” she said.
Haikal is a native of Tartous, Syria — a small city on the Mediterranean coast. She said she is excited to be in North Carolina, as the state’s close proximity to the ocean and mountains reminds her of Tartous.
“The landscape is beautiful, and the Research Triangle area is full of great food, music and interesting places to explore,” she said. In her free time, Haikal enjoys reading, hiking, yoga and learning to play the piano.