Thomas Brown

Professor Emeritus

Department of Civil Engineering


Calgary, 1974


McGill University, 1970

BSc (Honors)

Edinburgh, 1968

Contact information

Research and teaching


Ice Loads on Conical Structures: Through measurement of the ice forces on two of The Confederation Bridge piers, and observation of the corresponding behavior of the ice and the actual ice conditions, to develop methods to predict the ice forces that may then be applicable to offshore structural systems.

Statistical Analysis of Ice Forces: To use the observed ice forces on The Confederation Bridge piers and the prevailing ice conditions (severity), to assess and validate the design ice load criteria for the bridge.

Structural Health Monitoring: To develop a database system that allows for the performance monitoring of structures subject to discrete or periodic loading events, in which the potential for damage or degradation of performance is cumulative rather than continuous.

Shear Properties of Ice Rubble: To carry our laboratory experiments to determine the shear strength of ice rubble, and to define the behavior of ice rubble in punch tests.

Earthquake Analysis and Design: To develop simplified methods for analysis for earthquake effects on structures that incorporate the initiation and development of non-linear behavior.


Dr. Brown has over 35 years experience in structural engineering and design. His research is in the areas of finite elements, structural dynamics, earthquake engineering, structural steel design, and ice mechanics and engineering. His most recent research as both a practicing engineer, and as a Professor, has been in the areas of ice mechanics and Arctic engineering. In these areas, he has been involved in a number or major initiatives to bring more rigorous methods to the probabilistic determination of ice forces on offshore structures. These included the determination of the design ice forces for The Confederation Bridge, and the subsequent instrumentation of the bridge to observe the ice behavior and measure the resulting forces. The results from these programs are now being widely followed. In structural dynamics and earthquake engineering, he has developed models for the non-linear dynamic response of complex offshore structures subject to ice loads that included the effects of structure feedback. In structural design of steel structures, he has carried out both experimental and theoretical research in the behavior of steel structure components and cold-rolled structural steel components.

Dr. Brown has over 20 years of full-time consulting on the structural implications of ice forces, advanced structural analysis and design, and dynamic effects. For ten years he was a principal consultant to The Government of Canada for ice effects on The Confederation Bridge. He is currently providing advice on ice forces for bridge piers on behalf of several clients.

Dr. Brown currently serves on the CSA Canadian Advisory Committee K157 on Offshore Structures, and on an ISO Technical Panel on Ice Forces on Offshore Structures.


2002 - received the CSCE 2001 Pratley Award for his paper titled: "A Probabilistic Approach to Analysis of Ice Loads for the Confederation Bridge," co-authored by I. Jordaan and K.R. Croasdale and published in the Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, August 2001.

2001 - Diploma of the Husband Prize from the Institute of Structural Engineers for his paper "Ice Loads on the Piers of Confederation Bridge, Canada."

1999 - Made a Fellow of CSCE

1999 Common Curriculum Teaching Excellence Award

1999 Department Teaching Excellence Award