Vicki L. Brown

Vicki L. Brown, PhD, PE

  • Professor

Affiliated Programs

Education

  • PhD, Civil Engineering (1988)
    University of Delaware (DE)

About Me

My technical expertise is in the application of high-performance fiber-reinforced polymer composites for reinforced concrete structures, and I serve on the editorial board for the ASCE Journal of Composites in Construction.

I am a fellow of the American Concrete Institute, a past member of the board of directors of the Philadelphia section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).

I am actively involved with student outreach efforts in all these organizations and am particularly proud of the award-winning engineering girls camp that I organize each year to introduce high school girls to the possibilities of a career in engineering. The camp is a joint effort between Widener and the Philadelphia Section of the Society of Women Engineers, and over the past 15 years more than 2,000 high school girls have attended Widener's Engineering Mini-Camp which won Dow-Corning's national "Outstanding Outreach Event" in 2009.

Research Interests

My research interests are focused on the characterization and use of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites as a substitute for steel in reinforced concrete construction. My work encompasses both internal reinforcement for new construction and external reinforcement for strengthening and repair of existing structures, contributing to the development of an innovative technique for mechanically-fastening FRP laminates to the tension soffit of concrete beams.

As a fellow of the American Concrete Institute, I was recently appointed chairman of the ACI international committee that is tasked with developing code language for the design of structural concrete reinforced with FRP bars.

Media Expertise

  • Concrete design
  • The use of advanced composite materials in construction
  • Reinforced concrete structures

Publications

  • Napoli, Annalisa, Lawrence C. Bank, Vicki L. Brown, Enzo Martinelli, Fabio Matta, and Roberto Realfonzo. "Analysis and Design of RC Structures Strengthened with Mechanically Fastened FRP Laminates: A Review." Elsevier Composites Part B 55, (2013): 386–399.
  • Brown, Vicki L., Andrew Dinh, and Giovanna Iacono. "Flexural Behavior of Mechanically-Fastened FRP-Strengthened Concrete Members." Presentation at the ACI Special Publication 275: Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on Fiber-Reinforced Polymer in Reinforced Concrete Structures (FRPRCS-10). Farmington Hills, MI, 2011.
  • Bakis, C.E., L.C. Bank, Vicki L. Brown, E. Cosenza, J.F. Davalos, J.J. Lesko, A. Machida, S.H. Rizkalla, and T.C. Triantafillou. "Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites for Construction State-of-the-Art Review." ASCE Journal of Composites for Construction, 6, no. 2 (2002): 73–87.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

American Concrete Institute (ACI), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)

Awards

  • Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching (1994)
  • ASCE Philadelphia Section Outstanding Civil Engineering Educator (2005)
  • American Concrete Institute Fellow (2008)

In the Media

Noteworthy

  • Engineering Faculty Awarded More Than $200,000 from Manufacturing PA Innovation Program

    Faculty in the School of Engineering have been awarded grant funding through the Manufacturing PA Innovation Program. Funded in part by the Department of Community and Economic Development, this fellowship program pairs graduate and undergraduate students with local manufacturers on research projects to develop new technologies and advance innovation statewide. 

    Three Widener engineering projects have been selected to participate in the 2024 initiative:

    1. Babak Eslami, associate professor, and Kamran Fouladi, associate professor and associate dean, mechanical engineering.

      Associate Professors Eslami and Fouladi are working with industrial partner American Additive Manufacturing to enhance durability and repeatability of 3D printing with Polyeth-ether ketone (PEEK) polymer. During this project, a Widener student-research team are modeling the industrial 3D printers used by American Additive Manufacturing to perform computational fluid dynamics study to have a better understanding of flows around the parts. Multi-scale material characterization will be performed on 3D printed parts in order to develop the optimum printing condition for PEEK.

    2. John Suarez, associate professor, electrical engineering.

      Associate Professor John Suarez and his student-research team will develop a radio-frequency system for sensing roadway nonuniformities in front of vehicles. The system is intended to operate in vehicles moving at relatively high speeds. The nonuniformities of greatest interest are potholes or other defects in the road which can damage vehicles or create unsafe conditions. Dr. Suarez’s group will work with Dorman Products, an industry leader in aftermarket automotive products located in Colmar, Pennsylvania.

    3. Xiaochao Tang, associate professor, and Vicki Brown, professor, civil engineering.

      Associate Professor Xiaochao Tang and Professor Vicki Brown along with a team of student-researchers are working to create a low-carbon sustainable alternative for concrete, the most widely used construction material. Cement, a key component of concrete, is a highly energy-intensive product that releases a large amount of carbon dioxide when produced. In collaboration with two partners, the Delaware County Reginal Water Quality Control Authority (DELCORA) in Chester, Pennsylvania and Conewago Manufacturing, LLC in Hanover, Pennsylvania, this project will utilize sewage sludge ash, a byproduct from DELCORA's wastewater treatment facility, to create an inorganic polymer binding agent, known as geopolymer, at ambient or slightly elevated temperatures. This project will potentially enable repurposing the ash, which would otherwise be disposed of in landfills, for beneficial reuse at scale. The project will also utilize Conewago's concrete mix and testing facility to characterize the geopolymer product and cast pilot scale test bed. 

    The Manufacturing PA project was financed [in part] by funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development.

    Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/engineering-faculty-awarded-more-200000-manufacturing-pa-innovation-program

  • Engineering Professor Honored for Distinguished Service and Leadership

    Vicki L. Brown, distinguished university professor, was honored by the American Concrete Institute (ACI) for her scholarly contributions to the organization and the overall civil engineering community. Brown, who has served on School of Engineering's faculty for more than four decades, received the 2023 Delmar L. Bloem Distinguished Service Award which celebrates noteworthy work on ACI technical committees. The award was given at the 2023 ACI Concrete Convention in California and recognized Brown “for outstanding leadership of ACI Subcommittee 440-H, FRP-Reinforced Concrete.”

    Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/engineering-professor-honored-distinguished-service-and-leadership

  • Distinguished University Professor Designation goes to Engineering Professor

    School of Engineering faculty member Vicki Brown has been honored with the distinguished university professor designation. The recognition honors individual faculty members of distinction and represents the university’s commitment to recognizing excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service throughout faculty members’ careers. The honor was announced at the 2022 faculty awards program. 

    To be eligible for the designation, a faculty member must hold a tenured appointment at the rank of professor and be clearly identified by students and colleagues as an outstanding teacher.  They must also have national or international recognition for scholarly research activities, and have made significant contributions as a leader at the university or in the faculty member’s profession or academic discipline. The designation has a three-year term.

    Brown has been an active member of the university faculty for 41 years, including 18 as chair of the Civil Engineering Department, successfully guiding it through three accreditation visits under her leadership.

    Brown has also played an active role in university faculty governance and has served several times on the Faculty Council Executive Committee. She was instrumental in the development of the laboratory curriculum, and in infrastructure for the undergraduate civil engineering program.

    Brown’s belief that “in-the-classroom learning” is most effective when combined with “real-world learning,” she seeks out opportunities to provide students with networking experiences – taking them to professional society meetings and continually challenging them in a supportive environment.

    She also established and administers student competitions at national and international levels for the American Concrete Institute. One of Brown’s most visible and important contributions is the development and execution of the Engineering Girls Camp. Given the under-representation of females in the engineering field, her efforts to bring young women interested in engineering together with female engineers and female engineering students has impacted numerous young women and helped them gain the confidence to pursue a traditionally male-dominated field.

    In addition, Brown has made a significant impact in her area of expertise – the use of fiber reinforced polymers as a substitute for steel in reinforced concrete. She serves as chair of an international committee tasked with developing design codes for FRP-reinforced structural concrete. 

    Share link: https://www.widener.edu/node/27661