Published: 22 October 2013

Article by Surrey lecturer named one of Sciencedirect’s most popular downloads

Pioneering research by Civil Engineering lecturer Stefan Szyniszewski is one of Sciencedirect’s top 25 most downloaded articles.

Dr Szyniszewski’s paper on thin-walled structures outlines research that will help engineers to design stronger yet lighter structures for racing cars, manufacturing ships, space rockets and manufacturing equipment.

The paper has been ranked 10th in the top 25 most downloaded articles on Sciencedirect – the leading scientific on-line database. Sciencedirect catalogues a total of around 11 million articles from 2,500 journals and 11,000 books, offering ‘more discovery with less searching’ for libraries, researchers and industry.

Focusing on the use of metallic foam in the construction of machines that need to be highly resilient yet light – such as racing cars – Dr Szyniszewski’s paper explains how the strength of sandwich panels with metallic foam cores can be accurately predicted. It answers the question of how much weight can be applied to a panel before it buckles, crumbles and fails.

Used between two sandwich plates with steel faces, metallic foam (steel which has been made porous) is the ‘secret ingredient’ that enables stiffer, stronger, more resilient, yet lighter structures. However until now, estimating the strength of these sandwich panels has required advanced computer resources to conduct simulations.

Dr Szyniszewski explains: “My paper proposes a ‘pencil-and-paper’ solution that enhances and builds on existing buckling strength predictions for thin-walled steel panels. This is not only useful for predicting strength, but also for the optimization of the panel properties in order to achieve the very best design.”

He adds: “I’ve often wondered what makes an influential paper. I guess the best answer is it’s the one that readers find most useful and helpful in their research and everyday work. This recognition is truly inspiring, and I am hugely excited about it.”

Prior to joining the University of Surrey as Lecturer in Infrastructure Engineering at the beginning of 2013, Dr Szyniszewski has held research posts at the University of Florida and the John Hopkins University, where he specialised in the structural analysis of structures and materials under extreme loads such as blast and impact. He has also worked as a structural engineer with the Bechtel Corporation.

Dr Szyniszewski’s article, ‘Thin-Wall Structures (Volume 59) - Local buckling strength of steel foam sandwich panels’ can be downloaded at

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