Irving J. Oppenheim    

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Professor of Architecture



2500-ft above the ground on El Capitan, Yosemite Valley.  (More climbing images can be found at


Research Interests

Structural mechanics, building design, robotics, and infrastructure sensing.

Educational Background

B.E. 1968, The Cooper Union, M.S. 1970, Lehigh University, Ph.D. 1972, Cambridge University

Research Activities

My research activities over the years started with earthquake response of structures, the economic losses associated with the performance of water and transportation systems following earthquakes, and earthquake-induced fire losses.  I then studied the synthesis of structural systems in architecture, the behavior of historical masonry structures (vaults, arches, and domes), and tensegrity structures.  In the field of robotics I directed research on path planning, geometric reasoning, force-cognitive excavation, tools to find energy-optimal manipulator paths, control of manipulators with flexible links, and dynamically stable (balancing) robots.  I also directed work that used spatial grammars in processing spatial constraints in robot task planning applied to coal mining, and rule-based programming applied in simulation and planning for robotized building construction.  Most recently I have been working on devices for civil infrastructure sensing, including MEMS ultrasonic phased arrays, MEMS transducers for acoustic emission testing, inductively-coupled wireless transducers, a microsensor to measure chloride concentration, surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices for wireless chemical sensing, SAW devices for wireless strain sensing, SAW and bulk wave devices (combined with microfluidics) to separate microparticles and cells, and ultrasonic monitoring of piping systems under field conditions of operating and environmental variations.

Selected Publications, 2000-present.

Oppenheim, I. J., and W. O. Williams, “Geometric Effects in an Elastic Tensegrity Structure,” Journal of Elasticity, Vol. 59(1), 2000.

Oppenheim, I. J., and W. O. Williams, “Damping and vibration control in a three-bar tensegrity structure,” Journal of Aerospace Engineering, Vol. 14(3), 2001. 

Oppenheim, I. J., and W. O. Williams, “Vibration of an Elastic Tensegrity Structure,” European Journal of Mechanics A/ Solids, Vol. 20, 1023-1031, 2001. 

Smith, J., J. Hodgins, I. Oppenheim, and A. Witkin, "Modeling Truss Structures using Optimization," SIGGRAPH, San Antonio, July 2002.

Oppenheim, I., Jain, A., and Greve, D., “Electrical characterization of coupled and uncoupled MEMS ultrasonic transducers,” IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, 297-304, March 2003.  

Oppenheim, I., Jain, A., and Greve, D., “MEMS ultrasonic transducers for the testing of solids,” IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, 305-311, March 2003.

Oppenheim, I. J., and W. O. Williams, “Vibrations and Design of Tensegrity Structures,” Revue Francaise de Genie Civil, 377-389, July 2003.

Nieuwenhuis, J., Neumann, J., Greve, D., and Oppenheim, I., “Generation and detection of guided waves using PZT wafer Transducers,” IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control. Vol. 52 (11), pp. 2103-2111, 2005. 

Ozevin, D., Greve, D. W., Oppenheim, I. J., and Pessiki. S. P., “Resonant capacitive MEMS acoustic emission transducers,” Smart Mater. Struct. 15 (2006) 1863-1871. 

Cao, F., Greve, D. W., Oppenheim, I. J., and VanBriesen, J., “Microscale Chloride Sensor,” Electrochemical Society Fall Meeting, Cancun, Mexico, October 2006.

Greve, D. W., Sohn, H., Yue, C. P., and Oppenheim, I. J., “An inductively-coupled Lamb wave transducer,” IEEE Sensors Journal, Vol. 7 (2), 295-301, February 2007.

Greve, D. W., Zheng, P., and Oppenheim, I. J., “Transition from Lamb waves to longitudinal waves in plates,” Smart Mater. Struct. 17 (2008) 035029.

Harris, A. W., Oppenheim, I. J., and Greve, D. W., “MEMS-based high-frequency vibrations sensors,” Smart Mater. Struct., 20 (2011) 075018.

Zheng, P., Chin, T.-L., Greve, D., Oppenheim, I., Malone, V., Cao, L., “High Temperature Langasite SAW Oxygen Sensor,” IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, 58(8), 1538-1540, 2011.

Ying, Y., Garrett, J. H., Harley, J., Oppenheim, I. J., Shi, J., & Soibelman, L. (2013). Damage detection in pipes under changing environmental conditions using embedded piezoelectric transducers and pattern recognition techniques. Journal of Pipeline Systems Engineering and Practice, 4(1), 17-23.

D. W. Greve, T.-L. Chin, P. Zheng, P. Ohodnicki, J. Baltrus, and I. J. Oppenheim, "Surface Acoustic Wave Devices for Harsh Environment Wireless Sensing," IEEE Sensors Journal, 13(6), 6910-35, 2013.

Oppenheim, I. J., Greve, D. W., & Chen, A. F. (2013). A Flexible Insert for Wireless Strain Sensing. SPIE Smart Structures/NDE conference (8695-70).

Liu, C., Harley, J., O'Donoughue, N., Ying, Y., Altschul, M. H., Berges, M. E., Garrett, J. H., Greve, D. W., Moura, J. M. F., & Oppenheim, I. J. (2013). Ultrasonic Scatterer Detection In A Pipe Under Operating Conditions Using PCA. AIP Conference Proceedings 39h Annual Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation, 1511, 1454-61.

Gong, P., Patton, M. E., Greve, D. W., Harley, J. B., Liu, C., & Oppenheim, I. J. (2014). Alkali-silica reaction (ASR) detection in concrete from frequency dependent ultrasonic attenuation. AIP Conference Proceedings 40th Annual Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation, 1581(33), 909-916.

Oppenheim, I. J., Dauson, E. R., Greve, D. W., & Gregory, K. B. (2013). Microparticle Transport and Concentration with Surface Acoustic Waves. SPIE Smart Structures/NDE conference (8692-44).

Dauson, E. R., Gregory, K. B., Greve, D. W., & Oppenheim, I. J. (2014). Surface acoustic wave action on microfluidic channels and microparticles. SPIE Smart Structures/NDE conference, (9061-02).

Dauson, E. R., Oppenheim, I. J., Gregory, K. B., & Greve, D. W. (2014). Microparticle separation using a PMMA channel at an oblique angle to a SAW field. IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium, 1952-1955.

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