Brent Phares


Bridge Research Engineer, BEC





Research Associate Professor, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering


InTrans, BEC, MTC

About Brent

Dr. Phares has over 18 years of experience in the field of civil and structural engineering. After his graduation from Iowa State University, he worked as a consultant for the Federal Highway Administration with an assignment at the Turner-Fairbanks Highway Research Center. Two of the many products of his work include 1) An evaluation of NBIS-style bridge inspections and 2) a guideline/specification manual for the ultrasonic inspection of bridge pins. These publications have had a lasting impact on bridge evaluation.

Dr. Phares returned to ISU in 2001 as a research engineer and has served in many leadership positions since that time, currently as a bridge research engineer and research associate professor, where he oversees multiple researchers and more than 20 graduate students. Additionally, he collaborates with faculty from across ISU, the United States, and beyond. Dr. Phares is known as an international expert in the use of quantitative data in bridge evaluation. He has also become a national player in the field of accelerated bridge construction through his work with the Iowa Department of Transportation, where he serves as an on-demand consultant. He is known for his ability to integrate outreach into research to meet the needs of the academic community as well as the needs of transportation practitioners and other stakeholders.


  • PhD, Structural Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 1998 
  • MS, Structural Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 1996 
  • BS, Civil Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 1994 

Professional Experience

  • Iowa State University, Bridge Engineering Center, 2001–present
    • Director, Bridge Engineering Center
    • Co-director, National Center for Wood in Transportation
    • Research associate professor, Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
  • Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., Engineer III, McLean, VA, 1998–2001 

Selected Research Projects

  • Condition-based Maintenance and Management of Aging Transportation Infrastructure 
  • Testing, Performance Evaluation, and Documentation of the Little Silver Creek Bridge: An Accelerated Innovation Deployment AID Project Using Accelerated Bridge Construction
  • Determination of Codified Impact Factor for Permit Vehicles
  • Assessing Bridge Characteristics as a Tool for Prediction of Use and Importance as Roosting Habitat for Bats
  • Investigation of the Causes of Transverse Bridge Deck Cracking
  • Laboratory Investigation of Bridge Strip Seal Joint Terminations
  • Evaluation of Bridge Deck Epoxy Injection Processes, Iowa Department of Transportation
  • Development of Techniques for Minimizing Glulam Deck Relative Deflections, Forest Products Laboratory
  • Development of a Moisture Sensor for the National System of Timber Bridges, Forest Products Laboratory
  • Design, Construction, and Testing of Field Implemented Timber Bridge Deck Concepts: Phase III, Forest Products Laboratory
  • Development of Smart Timber Bridge Concepts: Phase II, Forest Products Laboratory
  • Study of the Impacts of Implements of Husbandry on Bridges, Multiple State Departments of Transportation 

Selected Publications

  • Deng, Y., B.M. Phares, L.F. Greimann, and J. Hoffman, “Behavior of Curved and Skewed Bridges with Integral Abutments”, Volume 109, pp 115–136, Journal of Constructional Steel Research, June 2015. 
  • Sari, K., S. Laflamme, C. Song, D. Qiao, B.M. Phares, and J. Li, “Smart Sensing Skin for Detection and Localization of Fatigue Cracks”, in-press, Smart Materials and Structures.
  • Seo, J., B.M. Phares, A. Abu-Hawash, T.J. Wipf, and J. Dahlberg “A Framework for Statistical Distribution Factor Determination of Steel-Concrete Composite Bridges Under Farm Traffic”, Engineering Structures, Volume 69, June 2014, pp 72–82.
  • Hoffman, J. and B.M. Phares “Thermal Load Design Philosophies for Horizontally Curved Girder Bridges with Integral Abutments”, 10.1061/(ASCE)BE.1943-5592.0000573, 04014008, 2013.
  • Chang, B., B.M. Phares, and H. Zou “Thermal Analysis of a Highway Overhead Support Structure”, Number 2406, pp 32–41, the Transportation Research Record, 2014.
  • Gopalakrishnan, K., M. Govindarasu, D.W. Jacobson, and B.M. Phares “Cyber Security for Airports”, International Journal for Traffic and Transport Engineering, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 365–376, 2013.
  • Chang, B., P.P. Sarkar, and B.M. Phares “A Time-Domain Model for Predicting Aerodynamic Loads on a Slender Support Structure for Fatigue Design” American Society of Civil Engineers Journal of Engineering Mechanics, Vol. 136, No. 6, 2010.
  • Lu, P., B.M. Phares, L.F. Greimann, and T.J. Wipf “Bridge Structural Health Monitoring System Using Statistical Control Chart Analysis”, Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Number 2172, pp 123–131, Washington, DC, 2010.
  • Chang, B., B.M. Phares, P.P. Sarkar, and T.J. Wipf “Development of a Procedure for Fatigue Design of Slender Support Structures Subjected to Wind Induced Vibration”, Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No 2131, pp 23–33, Washington, DC, 2010.
  • Wipf, T.J., B.M. Phares, F.W. Klaiber, A.H. Al-Saidy, and Y. Lee, “Strengthening Steel Girder Bridges with CFRP Plates”, Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Transportation Research Record 11-S, pp 435–447, 2005.
  • Hosteng, T.K., B.M. Phares, T.J. Wipf, M. Ritter, and D.L. Wood “Live Load deflection of Glued-Laminated Timber Girder Bridges”, Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Transportation Research Record 1928, pp 174–182, 2005.
  • Phares, B.M., G.A. Washer, D.D. Rolander, B.A. Graybeal, and M.E. Moore “Routine Highway Bridge Inspection Condition Documentation Accuracy and Reliability” Journal of Bridge Engineering, Vol. 9, No. 4, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2004. 

Professional Affiliations, Honors, and Service

  • Voting member, American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association Committee on Timber, Committee 7, 2005–present 
  • Secretary, Transportation Research Board Committee A2C05(1), Subcommittee on Nondestructive Evaluation of Structures, 1998–present 
  • Team Coordinator, Performance Definitions and Measurement, Federal Highway Administration Virtual Team on Structural Health Monitoring, 2004–present
  • Transportation Research Board Committee A2C05,Committee on Dynamics and Field Testing of Bridges, voting member, 1999–2003; friend of committee, 1997–1998, 2003–present
  • Voting Member, American Concrete Institute Committee 342, Evaluation of Concrete Bridges and Bridge Elements, 1997–present
  • Secretary, Transportation Research Board Committee A2C01, Committee on General Structures, 2004–present
  • Voting member, Transportation Research Board Committee A2C01, Committee on General Structures, 1998–present
  • Associate Member ACI Committee 228, Nondestructive Testing of Concrete, 1998–present
  • Member, American Society of Civil Engineers, 1990–present 

Completed Research

In-Progress Research