Sashi K. Kunnath, Ph.D., P.E., F.SEI, Dist.M.ASCE, a distinguished professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California at Davis, has been honored with inclusion by ASCE in its 2023 class of distinguished members for outstanding contributions to advancing performance-based earthquake engineering and disproportionate collapse analysis, his dedicated mentoring of future engineers, and his steadfast service to ASCE and the profession.
Kunnath became internationally recognized early in his career for his research on the nonlinear analysis and response simulation of reinforced concrete structures. He is unquestionably one of the leading researchers and scholars in structural and earthquake engineering. With his doctoral research he developed the computer program IDARC (Inelastic Damage Analysis of Reinforced Concrete structures), which was transformative in advancing research on nonlinear analysis of concrete structures to earthquakes and other extreme loads.
Among numerous other contributions are several papers that describe novel formulations for modeling cyclic plasticity under random earthquake loadings. Building on fundamental theoretical plasticity concepts, Kunnath and his collaborators have developed systematic formulations that are scalable and shown to capture well data from tests of structural materials, components, and systems. Kunnath has extended these models to phenomenologically simulate the effects of reinforcing bar buckling and fracture, which is a commonly observed damage state in concrete structures subjected to extreme earthquakes. Most recently, he and colleagues have been formalizing these modeling concepts in a new type of nonlocal formulation that helps ensure consistency in nonlinear analyses of structural components, where the underlying behavior is sensitive to localized softening and degradation.
Kunnath has served as editor-in-chief of the ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering and on the board of directors of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Center. He is a member of several ASCE/SEI standards committees. At UCD, he has also served as department chair (2009-2015) and as vice chair in charge of graduate studies (2007-09). He has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal papers and over 150 conference papers and reports, as well as chairing/co-chairing technical sessions and symposia at conferences and delivering invited or keynote lectures in at least 12 countries. He has supervised numerous postdoctoral scholars and 15 Ph.D. students.
His major research and service awards include ASCE’s 2012 Norman Medal, 2009 Richard Torrens Award, and 2008 Raymond Reese Research Prize. He received ACI’s Structural Research Award (currently Chester Paul Siess Award) in 2001 and is a fellow of ACI.
After his degrees from Bangalore University (India) and the Asian Institute of Technology (Thailand), he obtained his doctorate from State University of New York at Buffalo.