Since joining the University in 2011 Ashley Thrall and her team in the Kinetic Structures Laboratory have been devoted to developing a wide variety of portable, modular, and deployable structures. From bridges to housing and more, she has been working to design structures that can be rapidly deployed for immediate disaster relief. Vital to restoring needed transportation arteries and other infrastructure, the key elements she and her team are seeking in these structures are diversity (effective in a variety of locations), adaptability (easily adjustable for short- or long-term relief), and load-carrying capacity. Recent projects in the lab include designing mobile origami-inspired shelters, developing framework for transitional bridges, and investigating prefabricated high-strength rebar systems with high-performance concrete for accelerated construction of safe nuclear facilities.
Thrall is the Myron and Rosemary Noble Assistant Professor of Structural Engineering and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the International Association of Shells and Spatial Structures, and the International Network for Structural Art. She was awarded the National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award in 2014.