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Dr Keith Seffen PhD MA CMath MIMA MAIAA

Dr Keith Seffen, PhD MA CMath MIMA MAIAA

University Reader in Engineering

Fellow of Corpus Christi College

Keith Seffen is accepting applications for PhD students.

Cambridge University
Engineering Department
Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1PZ

Office Phone: +44 1223 764137


Dr Seffen is University Senior Lecturer in Engineering, specialising in Structures, at Cambridge University Engineering Department (CUED). He is a member of the Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering Division (Division D). He is an Official Fellow of Corpus Christi College, where he has been Director of Studies, undergraduate Tutor, postgraduate Tutor, Acting Tutor for Advanced Students, Deputy Senior Tutor and Acting Senior Tutor for the undergraduate cohort. Previously, he was Lecturer in Smart Structures and Materials in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UMIST (1999-2001, now part of the University of Manchester) and Research Associate in the Engineering Design Centre at CUED (1997-1999). His PhD (1993-1997) was performed under the supervision of Prof. Pellegrino in the Deployable Structures Group. Keith Seffen read the Engineering Tripos at Cambridge University (1990-1993) and gained a first class degree. He was born, bred and educated in Northern Ireland.


Subject groups/Research projects

Advanced Structures:

Non-linear, large-displacement behaviour of shells, including buckling, localisation and multistability; inextensible behaviour of ultra-thin plates and shells; textured and corrugated plates and shells; bending and membrane growth and actuation in shells

Structures for the Biological Sciences:

morphogenesis problems including: shape due to growth in natural structures; principles of growth; localisation and non-uniformity in growing structures; confined growth (packagaing) of elastic structures

Structural Dynamics:

Deployment dynamics of Gossamer spacecraft

Structural Theory:

Large displacement deformation and buckling of strip-like shells; wrinkling of thin membranes

Research Interests

Dr Seffen's research considers how to make structures change shape in dramatic ways without causing failure.  Such "reconfigurability" underpins many shape-changing processes in Nature, such as growth, and can provide novel properties in Engineering structures.



Dr Seffen teaches across all four years of the Engineering Tripos. He also supervises in a variety of papers for a number of Colleges.

Other Professional Activities

He is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the Institute of Maths and its Applications (IMA). He is also a Chartered Mathematician (CMath).