Prof. Luca Susmel

Professor Luca Susmel

Professor of Structural Integrity

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Sir Frederick Mappin Building
Mappin Street, Sheffield, S1 3JD

Telephone: +44 (0) 114 222 5073
Fax: +44 (0) 114 222 5700
Room: E107


  • PhD, Ing., Laurea in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Padova, Italy


In 1997, when I was an undergraduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Padova, Italy, I called in to Professor Bruno Atzori´s office to ask him to supervise my final project. After a quick chat, he proposed that I should do some theoretical work on something strange called "multiaxial fatigue". After getting my degree in Mechanical Engineering, I started doing my PhD in the University of Padova, continuing to work on the problem of estimating fatigue damage in unnotched metals subjected to multiaxial loading paths.

In 2000, having formalised the Modified Wöhler Curve Method, I sent a long e-mail to Professor David Taylor at Trinity College, Dublin, to ask whether I could spend a few months in Ireland investigating, under his supervision, whether it was possible for my multiaxial fatigue criterion to be applied in conjunction with the Theory of Critical Distances. Professor Taylor replied with a very enthusiastic e-mail, and on 12 July 2001 I caught a plane at Venice airport to fly to Ireland: since 2001 I have spent at least 6 months every year lecturing and doing research in the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at Trinity College, Dublin.

In 2005, when I was really enjoying my IRCSET Post-Doc fellowship in Dublin, I was appointed Associate Professor in Structural Integrity at the University of Ferrara, Italy: even if, after taking up the above position, my professional life kept getting busier and busier, I managed to go on with my teaching as well as with my research activities both at the University of Ferrara (Italy), the University of Udine (Italy), and Trinity College, Dublin (Ireland).

Since the end of the 90s, I have been working on different aspects of the Structural Integrity discipline, by mainly focussing my attention on problems related to the static and fatigue assessment of engineering materials and components. In particular, I have attempted to devise engineering methods suitable for designing components (experiencing different kinds of stress concentration phenomena) against fatigue as well as against static failures. According to my modus operandi, I have performed both theoretical and experimental investigations and all the design methods I have formalised so far have always been validated through a systematic experimental work.

In July 2011, after spending a decade working both in Italy and in Ireland, I have settled down in England joining the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering of the University of Sheffield.

My areas of expertise can be summarised as follows:

  • Mechanical properties of engineering materials
  • Design against fatigue under multiaxial fatigue loading
  • Design against uniaxial/multiaxial fatigue in the presence of stress concentration phenomena
  • Material cracking behaviour under uniaxial/multiaxial fatigue loading
  • Fracture Mechanics (under both static and fatigue loading)
  • Uniaxial/multiaxial fatigue assessment of welded components
  • Design against high-cycle fretting fatigue
  • Fatigue assessment of composite materials subjected to multiaxial fatigue loading
  • Static assessment and cracking behaviour of brittle and ductile notched materials
  • Sports Engineering (rowing)

Activities and Distinctions

Editorial advisory boards of scientific international journals

Luca is the Associate Editor of Frattura ed Integrità Strutturale - The International Journal of the Italian Group of Fracture (ISSN 1971-8993)

Luca is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the International Journal of Fatigue, Fatigue & Fracture of Engineering Materials & Structures and The Open Mechanical Engineering Journal.

Special issues of international scientific journals

  • Special Issue on “Advanced in Fracture and Damage Mechanics VI”. Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 348-349, 2007 (Edited by J. Alfaiate, M. H. Aliabadi, M. Guagliano, L. Susmel)
  • Special Issue on “Critical Distance Theories of Fracture”. Engineering Fracture Mechanics, Volume 75, Issue 7, Pages 1695-1890, May 2008 (Edited by D. Taylor, L. Susmel)
  • Special Issue on “Fatigue Assessment of Welded Structures”. International Journal of Fatigue, Volume 31, Issue 1, Pages 1-212, January 2009 (Edited by L. Susmel, F. M. H. Aliabadi, R. Tovo, P. Livieri)

Keynotes and invited lectures

  • Susmel L., Taylor D., On the Use of the Theory of Critical Distances to Post-process Linear-elastic FE Results: A Powerful Tool for the Fatigue Assessment of Mechanical Components. 7th FENet Technology Workshop, Glasgow, UK, 7th October 2004
  • Susmel L., The Theory of Critical Distances: applications in fatigue. In: Proc. of ECF 16, Alexandroupolis, Greece, 2006 (Keynote of the Symposium: The Critical Distance Fracture Mechanics)
  • Susmel L., Taylor D., Tovo R., The Theory of Critical Distances and the estimation of notch fatigue limits: L, a0 and open notches. ICCES, Vol. 1 no. 2, Miami, USA, 3-8 January, 2007, pp. 81-86.
    Invited talk: The Theory of Critical Distances to predict static failures in notched components under both uniaxial and multiaxial loading, University of Plymouth, Faculty of Technology, 6th March 2008.
    Invited talk: Predicting Static Failures in Notched Components subjected to both Uniaxial and Multiaxial Loading by post-processing Linear-Elastic Finite Element Results, University of Brunel, School of Engineering and Design, 24th February 2010.
  • Atzori, B., Meneghetti, G., Susmel, L., Taylor, D., The modified Manson-Coffin curve method applied along with the Theory of Critical Distances to estimate low-cycle fatigue lifetime of notched cylindrical bars: a preliminary investigation. The Ninth International Conference on Multiaxial Fatigue & Fracture (ICMFF9), Parma (Italy), 7 - 9 June, 2010.
  • Susmel, L., Predicting static failures in notched components subjected to both uniaxial and multiaxial loading by post-processing linear-elastic finite element results. Eastern Cape Branch Presentation, SAIMechE, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, 24 November 2010.

Organised conferences and related proceedings

  • Susmel L., Tovo R. (editors), Proceedings of IGF workshop on “Progettazione a Fatica in presenza di Multiassialità Tensionali”, Ferrara, June 6-7, 2005 (ISBN 88-86281-97-8).
  • Atzori B., Susmel L. (editors), Proceedings of IGF workshop on “Progettazione a Fatica di Giunzioni Saldate (… e non)”, Forni di Sopra (UD), March 9-10, 2009 (ISBN: 978-88-95940-24-3).
  • Icoviello F., Susmel L. (editors), Proceedings of IGF workshop on “Problematiche di Frattura nei Materiali per l’Ingegneria”, Forni di Sopra (UD), January 7-9, 2010 (ISBN: 978-88-95940-29-8).
  • James, N., Yates, J., Susmel, L., Iacoviello, F. (editors) Proceedings of the First IJFatigue & FFEMS joint Workshop: Characterisation of Crack Tip Stress Fields. Forni di Sopra (UD), Italy, March 7-9, 2011 (ISBN: 978-88-95940-35-9).
  • Ferro, G., Iacoviello, F., Susmel, L. (editors) Proceedings of the XXI IGF National Conference, Cassino (FR), Italy, June 13-15, 2011. (ISBN 978-88-95940-36-6).

Other relevant activities

  • Since June 2009 Luca is a member of the steering committee of the Italian Group of Fracture (IGF), which is the Italian National delegation of the European Structural Integrity Society (ESIS).
  • Luca was a member of the panel of professors (Collegio Docenti) supervising the activities of the PhD students as well as of the PhD School of Engineering of the University of Ferrara (January 2006-July 2011)
  • Luca, directly working under the supervision of the Dean of the Faculty, was the person in charge of the international contacts/relations of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Ferrara (January 2006-July 2011)
  • Luca was the person in charge of the Formula Student activities at the University of Ferrara (January 2006-July 2011).
  • Since 2009 Luca is a member of Commission XIII (Fatigue Assessment) of the International Institute of Welding, IIW (Chairman: Professor Gary Marquis, Department of Applied Mechanics, Aalto University, Finland).
  • In July 2006 Luca acted as an external examiner to award an European PhD in Structural Integrity - Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials, University of Seville, Spain (Ref. contact: Professor Alfredo Navarro).


Luca Susmel has been involved in numerous projects funded both by the University of Ferrara (ex 60% Projects), by the Italian Ministry of University and Research (PRIN projects), by EU actions (Piano telematico, PRRIITT misura 3.4 azione A – Obiettivo 2), by Irish Research Institutions (IRCSET project) and by private companies (FEMI CZ, FABBRI AMUSEMENT, FILIPPI LIDO s.p.a, L.T.E. LIFT TRUK, VM MOTORI and many others).

Selected Publications


  • Susmel L (2009) Multiaxial Notch Fatigue: From Nominal to Local Stress-Strain Quantities. Cambridge: Woodhead & CRC. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles