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Personal profile

Research interests

My research activity focuses mainly on the response of structures to random loading and includes stochastic modelling of earthquake induced vibrations and novel vibration control strategies (such as the ViBa). There are five research strands I currently undertake:

1) Vibration control of existing structures - development of the Vibrating Barrier (ViBa) device

2) Stochastic modelling of earthquake induced ground motion

3) Stochastic analysis of linear and nonlinear behaving structures

4) Structural identification and health monitoring

5) Computational stochastic mechanics

 Probably my most significant achievement is demonstrated by the research on vibrating barriers. The research has been supported by the EPSRC first grant :  “Vibrating Barriers for the control of seismic waves (ViBa)”. EP/K004867/1, 2013-2014 (PI: P. Cacciola), and has been published in various leading peer-reviewed journal publications (see Research Output below). Notably, this research also resulted in a motion for a European Parliament resolution on the importance of the building sector in relation to seismic activity explicitly mentioning my research achievement : “whereas at the Built Environment and Civil Engineering Department of the University of Brighton, the ViBa vibrating barrier has been invented, an instrument which absorbs the impact of an earthquake by 40-80% and can be inserted into existing buildings without modifying them” (B8-0964/2015).

Scholarly biography

I am Principal Lecturer (since January 2013) and Civil Engineering Subject Leader at the University of Brighton.

I conducted my PhD studies at the University of Messina, in partnership with the University of Catania (both in Italy) on the stochastic analysis of structures with passive control systems. After the PhD (2002), I was employed as Research Fellow at the University of Messina working on: i) the theoretical and experimental analysis of structures under random loadings (2002-2006), and ii) modelling cyclical behaviour of soils via Finite Element codes (2007-2009).

During this period I was also a visiting researcher at Rice University in Houston (USA) working with Professor P.D. Spanos on the stochastic analysis of hysteretic systems (2003) and at the Laboratoire de Mechanique des Structures Industrielle Durables (LaMSID; Clamart, France, now called IMSIA) researching the simulation of ground motion acceleration time histories used for the seismic analysis of nuclear power plants (2009). The latter position was fully supported by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).

I joined the University of Brighton in 2009 as Senior Lecturer. After the appointment I covered various roles within the School such as Course Leader and responsible for the accreditation of Civil Engineering courses, Assistant Head of the School (Head of the Division of Built Environment and Civil Engineering) and Interim Head of the School (February- August 2016).

Approach to teaching

I teach Structural and Stress analysis at Year 1, Dynamics of Structures at Year 3 and Random Vibrations of Structures at Year 4

I always try to incorporate my research activity with the modules I teach, pushing the boundaries of knowledge so to stimulate my students' imagination, creativity and critical thinking. My students are always asked to propose solutions and present their views to open challenges. Particularly in the final year project, the students are encouraged to act as young researchers with the ambitious aim that their contribution might also be published for the benefit of the scientific community.

Supervisory Interests

Interest in the supervision of research in structural dynamics and random vibration, including the stochastic modelling of earthquake induced vibrations and innovative vibration control strategies.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Catania


  • TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
  • Structural Engineering
  • Earthquake Engineering
  • Dynamics of Structures
  • Random Vibrations
  • Vibration Control

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Pierfrancesco Cacciola is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Linear systems Engineering & Materials Science

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Research Output 2000 2019

  • 42 Conference contribution with ISSN or ISBN
  • 24 Article
  • 12 Chapter
  • 4 Paper

A Multi Scale Approach for the Ground Motion Modelling in Urban Areas

Tombari, A. & Cacciola, P., 2019, (Accepted/In press).

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

Open Access
Wave propagation
Monte Carlo simulation

Seismic protection of the Messina Cathedral Bell Tower through Vibrating Barriers

Andreozzi, M., Tombari, A., Lampropoulos, A. & Cacciola, P., 9 Sep 2019.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

Open Access
Soil structure interactions
Vibration control
Dynamic response
Identification (control systems)

A ground motion model in proximity of vibrating building

Cacciola, P. & Tombari, A., 2018, (Accepted/In press).

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

Open Access

A Vibrating Barrier with Grounded Inerter For Non-Invasive Seismic Protection of Existing Structures

Cacciola, P., Giaralis, A. & Tombari, A., 18 Jun 2018, 16th European Conference on Earthquake Engineering (16ECEE).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNResearchpeer-review

Open Access
Soil structure interactions
Vibration control
Equations of motion
Transfer functions

Design of the vibrating barrier device for a cluster of building under stochastic excitation

Cacciola, P., Tombari, A. & Coronado Jimenez, J., 2018, (Accepted/In press).

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

Open Access