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Thomas Schumacher
Thomas Schumacher

PhD, PE, Associate Professor


Thomas Schumacher is currently an Associate Professor in the field of Structural Engineering. After earning his undergraduate degree in Switzerland, he worked as a structural and project engineer for a consulting firm for five years. He left design practice in 2004 to expand his education abroad and earned M.S. and PhD Degrees from Oregon State University in 2006 and 2010, respectively. Before joining PSU in 2015, he was a faculty member at the University of Delaware for five years. Dr. Schumacher is a licensed professional engineer (PE) and active in committees of the American Concrete Institute (ACI).

Schumacher’s primary research interest involves the development of new sensing methodologies for non-destructive testing (NDT) and structural health monitoring (SHM) of civil infrastructure. In particular, he is interested in seismology-based approaches such as moment tensor inversion (MTI) to analyze acoustic emission (AE) data from concrete fracture. These approaches aim to quantify and classify ongoing fracture processes in a material. Additionally, he collaborates with faculty at the University of Delaware to develop a novel distributed carbon nanotube (CNT)-based sensor. CNTs can be dispersed into a fabric to form a self-sensing layer, which is highly sensitive to strain and also able to sense micro-damage across its area. Moreover, these layers can be integrated into structural fiber composites to produce integrated strengthening/sensing solutions for rehabilitation purposes. Finally, he is interested in video-based monitoring approaches. These have several advantages in that they can be applied remotely and offer a full-field view of the structure. His additional research interests include the behavior and durability of concrete structures, structures subject to extreme events, sustainability, and data analysis and signal processing. His Google Scholar profile has a complete list of his published reports and articles to date. Schumacher's non-destructive testing and monitoring laboratory is located within the iSTAR Laboratory at PSU.

Dr. Schumacher currently offers courses on structural analysis, structural dynamics, and non-destructive testing and monitoring. His teaching philosophy is rooted in ASCE’s ExCEEd instructional model. The core elements of this model consist of the effective use of teaching aids, respect for the different learning styles, maintaining good rapport with every student, use of classroom demonstrations, and providing frequent performance feedback.

In his free time he enjoys exploring the outdoors, running, playing guitar, and spending time with his family and friends.