Y. Frank Chen, Ph.D., P.E.

Professor of Civil Engineering, School of Science, Engineering, and Technology
Office Phone
Office Location
Olmsted Building, W236

(Updated: July 1, 2019)

Dr. Chen is currently Tenured Professor of The Pennsylvania State University. He earned his B.S.C.E. degree from Cheng Kung University (Taiwan, 1979) and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from The University of Minnesota (1985 & 1988 respectively), all in civil engineering. His primary research area is structures. Dr. Chen specializes in dynamic soil-structure interaction, computational methods, limit states design, seismic design and retrofitting, condition-based structural assessment, resistant design for dynamic loads, metal structures, bridge engineering (highway & railway), foundation engineering, vibrations, and composite structures. He has been the PI or Co-PI for a number of research projects funded by various organizations domestically and internationally. The total research expenditure has surpassed $6 million USD covering more than 33 completed research projects. His publication record includes 190 refereed papers (135 SCI + 55 EI), 2 ACI manuals (ACI341.2R-14 & ACI341.4R-16), 33 plus research reports, 1 book, 3 book chapters, and 1 patent. Dr. Chen’s research interests also include the following areas: full/large scale testing, innovative construction and energy efficient materials, smart/intelligent structures, protective technology and structures, sustainable engineering, geo-environmental engineering, and use of AI in civil engineering.

Dr. Chen received a number of awards including Outstanding Research Award from The Pennsylvania State University (twice), Research Fellow from National Sciences Council/Taiwan (multiple times), Daniel P. Jenny Research Award from Prestressed Concrete Institute (twice), Excellence in Transportation Design/Construction Awards from Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (three times), Outstanding Scholar Award from Central University (Taiwan),  Research Fellow from Japan Society for Promotion of Science (twice), Outstanding Alumni Award from Cheng Kung University (Taiwan), Distinguished International Expert under Shanxi Hundred Talents Program (China), and Distinguished Professor from Chang’An University, Central South University, Chongqing University, and Tsinghua University (all in China). He is also an Academic Peer of Kyushu University (Japan) and a member of Academic Council of Steel Research Center at Chongqing University (China).

Dr Chen’s teaching experience includes: Undergraduate courses- soil lab., structural analysis, Newtonian mechanics, mechanics of materials, structural steel design, and foundations; Graduate courses- design of metal structures, advanced foundation design, structural design for dynamic loads, earthquake resistant design and retrofitting of bridges (developed), bridge design by LRFD method (developed), and finite element analysis. He is also capable of teaching the following courses: mathematical methods in engineering, numerical analysis, vibrations, plastic design, soil dynamics, elasticity theory, structural reliability, and deep foundations. Dr. Chen has more than 60 graduate students completing the degree requirements under his direct supervision.

Dr. Chen has been actively involved with various technical committees/organizations, including ASCE Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering, ASCE Steel Bridge Committee, ACI Committee 442 (Response of Concrete Buildings to Lateral Forces), ACI Committee 341 (Earthquake Resistant Design of Reinforced Concrete Bridges), Association for Bridge Design & Construction, Advisory Board for the Center for Bridge Engineering Research at Central University (Taiwan), and International Association for Jointless Bridges. He is also an editor for Materials Testing (Germany) and Journal of Structural Integrity & Maintenance (UK). He has been frequently invited to give lectures, professional seminars, training courses, short courses, and workshops domestically and internationally. Dr. Chen has been actively doing collaborative research internationally and has hosted a number of visiting scholars.

Dr. Chen is a registered professional engineer, a certified bridge inspector, and an active technical consultant to various organizations in the USA and abroad on various projects. He has maintained close connections with the industry and engineering community for more than 30 years. He has also been asked to serve as an expert witness in several occasions.

Dr. Chen’s administrative experience includes: Director for Research Institute of Modern Bridge & Tunnel Technologies at Taiyuan University of Technology (China); Coordinator for the Graduate Programs for Engineering & Sciences at Penn State Harrisburg, Assistant Director for the Center for Bridge Engineering Research at Central University (Taiwan), and Associate Chair for the Civil Engineering Program at Penn State Harrisburg. He has served on a variety of campus committees at various levels of capacity with several of them acting as the chair.


Structural Analysis and Design; Resistant Design for Dynamic Loads (wind, earthquake & impact); Numerical Analysis and Computational Methods; Condition-Based Structural Assessment; Limit States Design; Bridge Engineering; Dynamic Soil-Structure Interaction; Foundation Engineering; Innovative Structural Materials and Systems; Evaluation, Rehabilitation, Retrofitting and Hazard Mitigation for Civil Infrastructures; Vibrations; Composite Structures.


  • Outstanding Research Award, Penn State Harrisburg, USA, 1993 & 2017
  • Research Fellow, National Sciences Council, Taiwan, Summer 1993
  • Teaching Fellow, The Ministry of Education, Taiwan, Summer 1994
  • Daniel Jenny Research Award, Prestressed Concrete Institute, Chicago, USA, 1993 & 1995
  • Excellence in Transportation Design/Construction Award, PennDOT, USA, 1994, 1996 & 2004
  • Outstanding Scholar, Dept. of Civil Eng., Central University, Taiwan, 1997
  • Teaching Fellow, National Sciences Council, Taiwan, Sep. 2004-Jan. 2005
  • Research Fellow, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Japan, 2006 & 2016
  • Outstanding Alumni Award, Cheng Kung University, Taiwan, 2010
  • Distinguished International Expert, Shanxi Hundred Talents Program, China, 2013
  • Distinguished Professor, Central South University, China, 2013-Present
  • Distinguished Professor, Chang’An University, China, 2014-Present
  • Distinguished Professor, Chongqing University, China, 2015-Present
Research Interests

Seismic Area: Spatially Varying Ground Motion; Seismic Induced Earth Pressure; Energy

Dissipation Methods and Devices

Innovative Bridge Technologies and Systems

Integrated Design and Construction

Software Development

Structural Stability and Reliability

High Performance Materials (Steel & Concrete)

Performance under Extreme Loading or Environmental Conditions

Smart/Intelligent Structures

Testing: Nondestructive; Wind Tunnel; Full/Large Scale

Protective Technology and Structures

Composite Structures

Geo-environmental Engineering

Sustainable/Green engineering

Energy efficient materials

Use of AI in Civil Engineering



Wu, H. Y., H. G. Lei, Y. F. Chen, and J. Y. Qiao. Comparison on corrosion behaviour and mechanical properties of structural steel exposed between urban industrial atmosphere and laboratory simulated environment, Construction and Building Materials, 211, 228-243 (2019).

Liu, J. P., L. Cao, and Y. F. Chen. Vibration performance of composite steel-bar truss slab with steel girder, Steel and Composite Structures, 30(6), 577-589 (2019).

Cheng, G. Z., X. H. Zhou, J. P. Liu, and Y. F. Chen. Seismic behavior of circular tubed steel-reinforced concrete column to steel beam connections, Thin-Walled Structures, 138, 485-495 (2019).

Zhou, X. H., G. Z. Cheng, J. P. Liu, Y. L. Yang, and Y. F. Chen. Shear transfer behavior at the circular tubed column-steel beam interface, Thin-Walled Structures, 137, 40-52 (2019).

Liu, J. P., T. X. Xu, Y. Guo, X. D. Wang, and Y. Frank Chen. Behavior of circular CFRP-Steel composite tubed high-strength concrete columns under axial compression, Composite Structures, 211, 596-609 (2019).

Zhong, X. G., T. Y. Zhang, C. Chao, X. J. Shu, M. Y. Shen, and Y. F. Chen. New non-destructive dynamic tensile testing of prestressing fine-rolled screw-threaded steel bars, Engineering Structures, 182, 153-163 (2019).

Liu, J. P., L. Cao, and Y. F. Chen. Analytical solution for free vibration of multi-span continuous anisotropic plates by the perturbation method, Structural Engineering and Mechanics, 69(3), 283-291 (2019).

Wang, Y. H., J. Yu, J. P. Liu, and Y. F. Chen. Experimental study on assembled monolithic steel-concrete composite beam in positive moment, Engineering Structures, 180, 494-509 (2019).

Wang, Y. H., J. Yu, J. P. Liu, and Y. F. Chen. Shear behavior of shear stud groups in precast concrete decks, Engineering Structures, 187, 73-84 (2019).

Zhou, X. H., Y. Zhao, J. P. Liu, Y. F. Chen, and Y. L. Yang. Bending experiment on a novel configuration of cold-formed U-shaped steel-concrete composite beams, Engineering Structures, 180, 124-133 (2019).

Liu, J. P., X. Li, X. Z. Zang, X. D. Wang, and Y. F. Chen. Seismic behavior of shear-critical circular TSRC columns with a shear span-to-depth ratio of 1.3, Thin-Walled Structures, 134, 373-383 (2019).

Liu, J. P., Y. Zhao, Y. F. Chen, S. Q. Xu, and Y. L. Yang. Flexural behavior of rebar truss stiffened cold-formed U-shaped steel-concrete composite beams, Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 150, 175-185 (2018).

Cao, L., J. P. Liu, and Y. Frank Chen. Theoretical and numerical study on the natural frequencies of bridges with corrugated steel webs, Structures, 15, 224-231 (2018).

Wang, Y. H., Q. Wu, J. Yu, Y. F. Chen, and G. B. Lu. Experimental and analytical studies on elastic-plastic local buckling behavior of steel material under complex cyclic loading paths, Construction and Building Materials, 181, 495-509 (2018).

Li, J., J. P. Liu, L. Cao, and Y. F. Chen. Vibration behavior and serviceability of arched prestressed concrete truss due to human activity, International Journal of Structural Stability and Dynamics, 18(12), 1850146(1-21) (2018).

Liu, J. P., Y. Teng, Y. S. Zhang, X. D. Wang, and Y. F. Chen. Axial stress-strain behavior of high-strength concrete confined by circular thin-walled steel tubes, Construction and Building Materials, 177, 366-377 (2018).

Liu, J.P, X. Li, X. Z. Zang, Y. F. Chen, and X. D. Wang. Hysteretic behavior and modified design of square TSRC columns with shear studs, Thin-Walled Structures, 129, 265-277 (2018).

Jiao, J. F., X. Ma, H. G. Lei, and Y. F. Chen. Experimental and numerical study on complex multi-planar welded tubular joints in umbrella-type space trusses with long overhangs, International Journal of Steel Structures, 18(5), 1525-1540 (2018).

Cao, L., J. P. Liu, and Y. F. Chen. Vibration performance of arch prestressed concrete truss girder under impulse excitation, Engineering Structures, 165, 386-395 (2018).

Jiang, L. Z., Z. Huang, Y. F. Chen, Y. Luo, and W. B. Zhou. Experimental study on the seismic performance of concrete filled steel tubular laced columns, Steel and Composite Structures, 26(6), 719-731 (2018).

Li, B.Y., Y. L. Yang, Y. F. Chen, W. Cheng, and L. B. Zhang. Behavior of connections between square CFST columns and H-section steel beams, Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 145, 10-27 (2018).

Chen, J. Y., Y. F. Chen, X. W. Shi, Y. X. Zhao, and T. Y. Li. Study on hysteresis behavior of traditional timber structures by full-scale tests, Advances in Structural Engineering, 21(2), 287-299 (2018).

Li, J., R. Zhang, J. P. Liu, L. Cao, and Y. F. Chen. Determination of the natural frequencies of a prestressed cable RC truss floor system, Measurement, 122, 582-590 (2018).

Liu, W. S., G. L. Dai, Z. W. Yu, Y. F. Chen, and X. H. He. Interaction between continuous welded rail and long-span steel truss arch bridge on high-speed railway under seismic action, Structure and Infrastructure Engineering, 14(8),1051-1064 (2018).

Zhou, X. H., G. Z. Zheng, J. P. Liu, D. Gan, and Y. F. Chen. Behavior of circular tubed-RC column to RC beam connections under axial compression, Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 130, 96-108 (2017).

Zhou, X. H., X. Z. Zang, X. D. Wang, J. P. Liu, and Y. F. Chen. Seismic behavior of circular TSRC columns with studs on the steel section, Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 137, 31-36 (2017).

Zhou, X. H., G. Z. Zheng, J. P. Liu, D. Gan, and Y. F. Chen. Connections between RC beam and square-tubed RC column under axial compression experiments, Steel and Composite Structures, 23(4), 453-464 (2017).

Zhou, X. H., J. Li., J. P. Liu, and Y. F. Chen. Dynamic performance characteristics of pre-stressed cable RC truss floor system under human-induced loads, International Journal of Structural Stability and Dynamics, 17(4), 1750049-1 to 20 (2017).

He, X. H., T. Wu, Y. F. Zou, Y. F. Chen, H. Guo, and Z. W. Yu. Recent development of high-speed railway bridges in China, Structure and Infrastructure Engineering, 13(12), 1584-1595 (2017).

Zhou, X. H., J. P. Liu, J. Li, L. Cao, and Y. F. Chen. Vibration behavior of prestressed cable reinforced concrete truss system caused by jumping and hopping, ASCE Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, 31(5), 04017068-1 to 04017068-12 (2017).

Dai, G. L., H. Ge, W. S. Liu, and Y. F. Chen. Interaction analysis of Continuous Slab Track (CST) on long-span continuous high-speed rail bridges, International Journal Structural Eng. and Mechanics, 63(6), 713-723 (2017).

Liu, Y. Z., W. J. Wang, Y. F. Chen, and H. F. Ji. Residual stress-strain relationship for thermal insulation concrete with recycled aggregate after high temperature, Construction and Building Materials, 129, 37-47 (2016).

Zhou, X. H., L. Cao, Y. F. Chen, J. P. Liu, and J. Li. Acceleration response of pre-stressed cable RC truss floor system subjected to heel-drop loading, ASCE Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, 30(5), 04016014-1 to 8 (2016).

Nie, R. S., W. M. Leng, Q. Yang, and Y. F. Chen. An improved instrumentation method for PHC piles, Geotechnical Engineering, 169(6), 494-508 (2016).

Zhou, X. H., J. P. Liu, X. D. Wang, and Y. F. Chen. Behavior and design of slender circular tubed-reinforced-concrete columns subjected to eccentric compression, Engineering Structures, 124, 17-28 (2016).

Wang, C. S., L. Duan, Y. F. Chen, and S. C. Wang. Flexural behavior and ductility of hybrid high performance steel I-girders, Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 125, 1-14 (2016).

Zhou, X. H., L. Cao, Y. F. Chen, J. P., and J. Li. Experimental and analytical studies on the vibration serviceability of pre-stressed cable RC truss floor systems, Journal of Sound and Vibration, 361, 130-147 (2016).

Liu, Y. J., Y. F. Chen, W. J. Wang, and Z. Li. Bond performance of thermal insulation concrete under freeze-thaw cycles, Construction and Building Materials, 104, 116-125 (2016).

Qiao, G. F., T. Y. Li, and Y. F. Chen. Assessment and retrofitting solutions for a historical wooden pavilion in China, Construction and Building Materials, 105, 435-447 (2016).

Hsu, W. T., D. M. Lue, and Y. F. Chen. Design aid for moment strength of built-up crane runway girders, International Journal of Steel Structures, 12(3), 403-417 (2012).

Chen, Y. Assessment of the current US seismic displacement requirements for bridges in a low-moderate seismic zone, Engineering Structures, 26, 1365-1379 (2004).

Chen, Y. Practical analysis and design of mechanically-stabilized earth walls -- I. Design philosophies and procedures, Engineering Structures, 22(7), 793-808 (2000).

Chen, Y. Distribution of vehicular loads on bridge girders by the FEA using ADINA: modeling, simulation, and Comparison, Computers and Structures, 72, 127-139 (1999).

Chen, Y. Finite element analysis for walking vibration problems for composite precast building floors using ADINA: modeling, simulation, and comparison, Computers and Structures, 72, 109-126 (1999).

Chen, Y. Assessment on pile effective lengths and their effects on design: I. Theory, Computers and Structures, 62(2), 265-286 (1997).

Chen, Y. and A. Aswad. Stretching the span capability of prestressed concrete bridges under AASHTO LRFD, ASCE Journal of Bridge Engineering, 1(3), 112-120 (1996).

Chen, Y. Modeling and analysis methods of bridges and their effects on seismic responses: I. Theory, Computers and Structures, 59(1), 81-98 (1996).

Chen, Y. Refined and simplified methods of lateral distribution for bridges with unequally spaced girders: II. Applications, Computers and Structures, 55(1), 17-32 (1995).

Chen, Y. Dynamic analysis and response of large reinforced concrete conduits in inhomogeneous soil strata, Computers and Structures, 56(2/3), 475-483 (1995)

Aswad, A. and Y. Chen. Impact of LRFD Specification on load distribution of prestressed concrete bridges, PCI Journal, 39(5), 78-89 (1994).

Chen, Y. and A. Aswad. Vibration characteristics of double tee building floors, PCI Journal, 39(1), 84-95 (1994).

Chen, Y. Interface effects on box-type reinforced concrete structures: I. Theory, Computers and Structures, 42(3), 383-390 (1993).

Chen, Y. On static and dynamic refined analysis of reinforced concrete bridges, Computers and Structures, 47(4/5), 601-613 (1993).

Chen, Y. and T. Krauthammer. Seismic effects on large RC lifelines: Part I. Theory, Computers and Structures, 42(2), 129-135 (1992).

Chen, Y. and T. Krauthammer. A combined ADINA-finite difference approach with substructuring for seismically induced nonlinear soil-structure interaction problems, Computers and Structures, 32(3/4), 779-785 (1989).

Krauthammer, T. and Y. Chen. Soil-structure interface effects on dynamic interaction analysis of reinforced concrete lifelines, Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 8(1), 32-42 (1989). Krauthammer, T. and Y. Chen. Free field earthquake ground motions: effects of various numerical simulation approaches on dynamic soil-structure interaction results, Engineering Structures, 10(2), 85-94 (1988).

Krauthammer, T. and Y. Chen. Dynamic soil-structure interaction of rectangular reinforced concrete lifelines, Engineering Structures, 8, 181-190 (1986).


B.S.C.E; M.S.; Ph.D. (Minnesota)