Adrian Brügger

Director of Robert A. W. Carleton Strength of Materials Laboratory; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics; Associate Research Scientist in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics

608 S.W. Mudd
Mail Code 4709

Tel(212) 854-8782
Fax(212) 854-6267

Research Interests


Adrian Brügger's research interests are in the quantification of the internal mechanics of multibody systems in failure-critical structures. Brügger uses neutron diffraction (nDif) as an elastic strain measurement tool to penetrate deeply into bulk materials and layers of a multi-body system without disturbing the internal mechanics of the sample. A true understanding of the internal mechanics of critical load-carrying systems allows us to generate more accurate and confident analytical models, which will in turn optimize current strategies to ensuring the safety of critical infrastructure worldwide.


Brügger is active in various field projects focusing on major infrastructure health monitoring, damage detection, and damage mitigation; this effort includes vibration instrumentation and condition assessments on various large bridges (Manhattan Bridge, Verrazano Narrows Bridge, etc.) and sensitive structures (New York Times Building, numerous galleries in the Metropolitan Museum of Art). Most notably, he has been a critical contributor to various research and industry projects focusing on the deterioration of critical infrastructure including but not limited to: Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge main cable forensic studies, FHWA full scale bridge cable accelerated corrosion experiments, MTA/PANYNJ bridge cable dehumidification project, and the MTA/PANYNJ fire effects on main cables of suspension bridges.

Brügger is using neutron diffraction in new ways to study structures and materials critical to the built environment. The civil engineering applications of nDif are in their infancy, and therefore harbor significant potential. Future applications of particular interest include 1) general non-destructive stress measurement in infrastructure, 2) residual stress & contact force mapping of multi-body systems (cables, anchoring systems, etc.), 3) eigenstrain analysis of complex geometries under thermal loading (turbine engine parts, etc.), 4) cementitious materials and composites, 5) polymers with a crystalline phase, and 6) phase change characterization of structural materials under high temperature (fire) conditions. Brügger maintains a strong collaborative relationship with both the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source and High Flux Isotope Reactor as well as the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center with the aim of making nDif more accessible to the civil, mechanical, and aerospace engineering communities.

Adrian Brügger graduated from Columbia University with a BS in civil engineering in 2004 and an MS in 2005, both with a concentration in structural engineering. He received a Ph.D. in civil engineering, with a focus on mechanics of materials and health monitoring in 2017.

Brügger serves as the Director of the Robert A. W. Carleton Strength of Materials Laboratory, a Columbia University center with a trifold mission of teaching, research, and materials testing. The Carleton Laboratory is the preeminent experimental research center of the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. The state-of-the-art strength of materials laboratory supports not only the research and teaching of the Department but also performs critical testing for the global engineering community.


  • Manager, Robert A. W. Carleton Strength of Materials Laboratory, 2008-2017
  • Director, Robert A.W. Carleton Strength of Materials Laboratory, 2017-present


  • American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE) – Member
  • American Concrete Institute (ACI) – Member
  • Materials Research Society (MRS) – Member
  • Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI) – Member
  • ASTM International – Member
  • Transportation Research Board (TRB) – Affiliate Member
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory SNS+HFIR – User
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory LANSCE – User


  • Lee, S.Y., S. Coratella, A. Brügger, B. Clausen, D. Brown, K. Langer, M.E. Fitzpatrick, I.C. Noyan. Boundary Effects in the Eigenstrain Method. Experimental Mechanics [DOI 10.1007/s11340-018-0378-3]
  • Brügger, A., S.Y. Lee, J.A.A. Mills, R. Betti, I.C. Noyan. Partitioning of Clamping Strains in a Nineteen Parallel Wire Strand. Experimental Mechanics [DOI 10.1007/s11340-017-0276-0]
  • Mei, F., I.C. Noyan, A. Brügger, R. Betti, B. Clausen, D. Brown, and T. Sisneros. Neutron Diffraction Measurements of Stress Redistribution in Parallel Seven-Wire Strands after Local Fracture. Experimental Mechanics (2013) 53: 183-193 [DOI 10.1007/s11340-012-9621-5]
  • Fraraccio, G., A. Brügger, and R. Betti. Experimental studies on damage detection in frame structures using vibration measurements. Shock and Vibration (2010) 17: 697-721 [DOI 10.3233/SAV-2010-0516]
  • Noyan, I.C., A. Brügger, R. Betti, and B. Clausen. Measurement of Strain/Load Transfer in Parallel Seven-wire Strands with Neutron Diffraction. Experimental Mechanics (2010) 50: 265-272 [DOI 10.1007/s11340-009-9313-y]
  • Fraraccio, G., A. Brügger, and R. Betti. Identification and Damage Detection in Structures Subjected to Base Excitation. Experimental Mechanics (2008) 48: 521-528 [DOI 10.1007/s11340-008-9124-6]