Ashley P. Thrall
Summary of Activities/Interests
Dr. Thrall’s primary research interest is the design and optimization of kinetic structures. Her Ph.D. dissertation, entitled “Design and Optimization of Linkage-Based Movable Bridge Forms,” focused on developing new forms for movable bridges utilizing linkages as the main structural and kinematic elements. The research methodology has included using physical shape-finding techniques to develop new conceptual designs that utilize mechanical advantage to minimize power demands. The geometry and the section profiles of each conceptual design are optimized for minimum self-weight and minimum force for operation. At Notre Dame, Dr. Thrall and her Kinetic Structures Laboratory are investigating a variety of kinematic structures with the aim of developing rapidly deployable infrastructure for disaster relief.
Dr. Thrall is also interested in technical, visual, and historical analyses of major works of structural art – meaning structures that are efficient (minimum material consistent with safety), economic (competitive construction cost with minimal maintenance), and elegant [Billington, David P., The Tower and the Bridge: The New Art of Structural Engineering. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985.]. Her research in this area has highlighted the works of Othmar Ammann, Gustave Eiffel, and Felix Candela.
Dr. Thrall is currently recruiting graduate students. If you are interested in pursuing an advanced degree related to her research interests, please contact her directly.
Ph.D. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University (2011)
M.A. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University (2009)
M.S.E. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University (2008)
B.A. Physics, Vassar College (2004)
Fellowships, Honors, and Awards:
SEI Young Professional Structures Congress Scholarship (2012)
International Association of Shells and Spatial Structures Hangai Prize (2011)
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Structural Engineering Traveling Fellowship (2011)
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2008-2011)
Norman J. Sollenberger Fellowship (2010)
Vassar College Graduation with Departmental Honors (2004)
Vassar College Graduation with General Honors (2004)
Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship (2003)
Honor Societies: Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society
Recent Journal Publications
Russell, B.R. and Ashley P. Thrall. "Portable and Rapidly Deployable Bridges: Historical Perspective and Recent Technology Developments." Accepted for publication in ASCE Journal of Bridge Engineering.
Thrall, Ashley P., Ignacio Paya-Zaforteza, James K. Guest, and Sigrid Adriaenssens. " Structural Optimization of Deploying Structures Comprised of Linkages." Accepted for publication in ASCE Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering.
Thrall, Ashley P., Kyrsten L. Bréa, and David P. Billington. 2012. “The Maria Pia Bridge: A Major Work of Structural Art.” Engineering Structures. 40: 479-486.
Thrall, Ashley P., Sigrid Adriaenssens, Ignacio Paya-Zaforteza, and Theodore P. Zoli. 2012. “Linkage-Based Movable Bridge Forms: Design Methodology and Three Novel Forms.” Engineering Structures 37: 214-223.
Thrall, Ashley, P. 2011. "Shape-Finding of a Deployable Structure Using Simulated Annealing." Journal of the International Association for Shells and Spatial Structures (IASS) 52(4): 241-247.
Thrall, Ashley P. and Maria E.M. Garlock. 2010. “Analysis of the Design Concept for the Iglesia de la Virgen de la Medalla Milagrosa.” Journal of the IASS 51: 27-34.
Thrall, Ashley P. and David P. Billington. 2008. “Bayonne Bridge: The Work of Othmar Ammann, Master Builder.” American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Journal of Bridge Engineering 13: 635-643.
Recent Conference Papers and Presentations
Thrall, Ashley P., Sigrid Adriaenssens, Ignacio Paya-Zaforteza, and Theodore P. Zoli. 2012. “A Linkage-Based Movable Bridge Form: Design and Optimization.” Presented at the annual meeting for the ASCE Structures Congress, Chicago, Illinois, March 29-31.
Thrall, Ashley P. 2011. "Shape-Finding of a Deployable Structure Using Simulated Annealing." Paper presented at the annual meeting for the IASS, London, United Kingdom, September 20-23.
Thrall, Ashley P., Sigrid Adriaenssens, and Theodore P. Zoli. 2011. "Applications of Linkages for Movable Bridge Design." Abstract presented at the Structural Morphology Group International Seminar, London, United Kingdom, September 17-18.
Thrall, Ashley P. and Ignacio Payá-Zaforteza. 2010. “Optimization of a Deploying Pantograph Structure Using Heuristic Algorithms.” Paper presented at the annual meeting for the IASS, Shanghai, China, November 8-12.
Thrall, Ashley P., David P. Billington, and Theodore P. Zoli. 2010. “Analysis of Eiffel’s Maria Pia Bridge.” Paper presented at the annual meeting for the ASCE Structures Congress, Orlando, Florida, May 12-15.
Thrall, Ashley P. and David P. Billington. 2009. “A Study of the Evolution of Arch Forms: Eiffel’s Maria Pia Bridge and Ammann’s Bayonne Bridge.” Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the New York City Bridge Conference, New York, New York, August 17-18.
Thrall, Ashley P., Maria E.M. Garlock, and David P. Billington. 2008. “Analysis of Iglesia de la Medalla Milagrosa.” Paper presented at the annual meeting for the IASS, Acapulco, Mexico, October 27-31.