Faculty Profile

John S Popovics

Civil and Environmental Engineering
John S Popovics
John S Popovics
2129e Newmark Civil Engineering Bldg
205 N. Mathews
Urbana Illinois 61801
(217) 244-0843

Administrative Titles

  • Co-Director, Societal Risk Management Program

Primary Research Area

  • Construction Materials


  • Ph.D., Engineering Science & Mechanics, The Pennsylvania State University, 1994
  • M.S., Civil Engineering, Drexel University, 1990
  • B.S., Civil Engineering, Drexel University, 1988


John S. Popovics holds B.S. and M.S. degrees (Drexel University 1988 and 1990, respectively) in civil engineering, and a Ph.D. (The Pennsylvania State University 1994) in engineering science and mechanics. He has been on the faculty of the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois since January 2002. He has also held the positions of Research Assistant Professor at Northwestern University, Assistant Professor at Drexel University, Guest Scientist at the German Federal Materials Research Institute (BAM-Berlin), Visiting Professor at the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain and Visiting Researcher, Laboratoire Centrale des Pont et Chauss￿ (LCPC) in France.

Dr. Popovics teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses on materials properties, construction material corrosion and durability, concrete technology, and non-destructive testing.

Dr. Popovics is a member of the Acoustical Society of America, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Academy of Mechanics, and he is a named Fellow of the American Concrete Institute and the American Society for Nondestructive Testing. He participates as a voting member in five technical committees and currently serves as chair in two committees in these societies. He serves as associate editor of the Journal of Nondestructive Testing. He is affiliated with the Center for Advanced Cement-Based Materials (ACBM).

Dr. Popovics was the recipient of the National Science Foundation's CAREER award (1999), the American Society of Nondestructive Testing Fellowship Award 2012 and several teaching and advising awards from the University of Illinois.

Academic Positions

  • Department Affiliate, Mechanical Science and Engineering, UIUC, 2014-present
  • Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, UIUC, 2007-2015
  • Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, UIUC, 2002-2007
  • Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, Drexel University, 1999-2001
  • Research Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering, Northwestern University, 1995-1998

Major Consulting Activities

  • The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB), Washington DC. (2008-2015)
  • The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia PA, 2013

Professional Registrations

  • Registered Professional Engineer, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 2001

Research Statement

Dr. Popovics has two primary research interests. The first is non-destructive evaluation, imaging and sensing, where he applies mechanical and magnetic field phenomena to assess the condition of infrastructure materials and structures. His second research interest is degradation processes of infrastructure materials, particularly corrosion. His research findings have been published in five chapters in books, 75 articles in refereed technical journals, and more than 80 conference proceedings.

Research Interests

  • wave propagation
  • vibration
  • ultrasonic testing
  • structural health monitoring
  • sensor technology
  • numerical simulation
  • non-linear material response
  • non-destructive evaluation
  • material characterization and measurements
  • match curing for concrete

Books Edited or Co-Edited (Original Editions)

  • Health Monitoring Systems and Sensors for Assessing Concrete, ACI SP-252, The American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI. 2008 (co-edited with M. Basheer)
  • Selected Landmark Papers in Concrete Materials Research, ACI SP-249, The American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI. 2008 (co-edited with R. Detwiler, K. Folliard, J,. Olek, L. Snell)

Chapters in Books

  • Eiras,J.N.,Kundu, T.,Popovics, J.S. and Pay￿J. ￿Cement-based material characterization using nonlinear single impact resonant acoustic spectroscopy (NSIRAS),￿ in Nonlinear Ultrasonic and Vibro-Acoustic Techniques for Nondestructive Evaluation, T. Kundu ed., Springer, 2019. pp.487-508.
  • Abraham O and J.S. Popovics, ￿Impact echo for the evaluation of concrete structures,￿ in Nondestructive Evaluation of reinforced concrete structures, C. Maierhofer ed, Woodhead Publishing Ltd., Cambridge, 2010. Chapter 21.
  • Holt, A.E., and J.S. Popovics, ￿Infrastructure Applications of Ultrasonic Testing,￿ in Nondestructive Testing Handbook: Volume 7: Ultrasonic Testing, 3rd edition, P.O. Moore, D. Kishoni and G.L. Workman eds, American Society for Nondestructive Testing, Columbus OH, 2007. Chapter 13.
  • Naik, T.R., V.M. Malhotra and J.S. Popovics, ￿The ultrasonic pulse velocity method,￿ in CRC Handbook on Nondestructive Testing of Concrete, 2nd edition, V.M. Malhotra and N.J. Carino eds, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 2004. Chapter 8.

Selected Articles in Journals

  • Choi, H., Bittner J. and Popovics, J.S. "Comparison of Ultrasonic Imaging Techniques for Full-Scale Reinforced Concrete," Transportation Research Record, No. 2592, 126-135, 2016. DOI: 10.3141/2592-14
  • Hall, K.S. and Popovics, J.S. "Part 2: Air-coupled ultrasonic tomography applied to concrete elements," Smart Structures and Systems, Volume 17, Number 1, 31-43, 2016. DOI:10.12989/sss.2016.17.1.031
  • Hall, K.S. and Popovics, J.S. "Part 1: Fully air-coupled ultrasonic tomography of solids," Smart Structures and Systems, Volume 17, Number 1, 17-29, 2016.DOI:10.12989/sss.2016.17.1.017
  • Eiras,J.N., Kundu, T., Popovics, J.S., Monz￿., Borrachero, M.V. and Pay￿J. "Effect of carbonation on the linear and nonlinear dynamic properties of cement based materials," Optical Engineering, Volume 55, Number 1, 011004, 2015. DOI:10.1117/1.OE.55.1.011004
  • Ham, S. and Popovics, J.S. "Application of contactless ultrasonic toward automated inspection of concrete structures" Automation in Construction, Volume 58, pp. 155-164, 2015. DOI:10.1016/j.autcon.2015.07.018
  • Eiras,J.N., Popovics, J.S., Borrachero, M.V., Monz￿., and Pay￿J. "The effects of moisture and micro-structural modifications in drying mortars on vibration-based NDT methods," Construction and Building Materials, Volume 94. pp. 565-571, 2015. DOI:10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2015.07.078
  • Choi, H. and Popovics, J.S. "NDE Application of air-coupled ultrasonic tomography to a full-scale concrete structure," IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, Volume 62, Number 6, pp. 1076-1085. 2015.
  • Popovics, J.S. and Subramanaiam, K.V.L. "Review of ultrasonic wave reflection applied to early-age concrete and cementitious materials" Journal of Nondestructive Evaluation, Volume 34, Number 1, 267, 2015
  • Suraneni, P., Struble, L.J, Popovics, J.S. and Chung, C. "Set time measurements of self-compacting pastes and concretes using ultrasonic wave reflection," ASCE Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, Volume 27, Number 1, 04014117, 2015.
  • Ham, S. and Popovics, J.S. "Application of micro-electro-mechanical sensors contactless NDT of concrete structures," Sensors, Volume 15, Number 4, pp. 9078-9096, 2015.

Articles in Conference Proceedings

  • Song, H., Popovics, J.S. and Park, J. "Development of an automated contactless ultrasonic scanning measurement system for wavefield imaging of concrete elements" Proceedings of the IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium. Washington DC. 2017 doi:10.1109/ULTSYM.2017.8092489
  • Ham, S. and Popovics, J.S. "Fast Lamb Wave Energy Shift Approach Using Fully Contactless Ultrasonic System to Characterize Concrete Structures QNDE paper," in Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation Volume 34, AIP Conference Proceedings 1650, Melville, NY. 2015. doi:10.1063/1.4914601
  • Eiras J.N., Kundu. T., Popovics, J.S., Monz￿.V., Soriano, L. and Pay￿J., "Evaluation of frost damage in cement-based materials by a nonlinear elastic wave technique " in Proceedings of SPIE Conference, March 2014.
  • Popovics, J.S., Ham, S., Ghasr, M.T. and Zoughi, R., "Comparison of Synthetic Aperture Radar and Impact-Echo Imaging for Detecting Delamination in Concrete" in Proceedings of the 40th Annual Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation Conference, Conference Proceedings 1581, vol. 33A, pp. 866-871, American Institute of Physics, Melville, NY.2014.
  • Oh, T. and Popovics, J.S., "Effective Presentation of Impact-Echo Data for Bridge Deck NDE" in Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation, Volume 33, edited by D.O. Thompson, American Institute of Physics, Melville, NY. 2013.
  • Eiras J.N., Kundu. T., Popovics, J.S., Monz￿.V., M. Borrachero, M. and Pay￿J., "Monitoring material nonlinearity and attenuation variations in mortar subjected to freezing-thawing cycles" in Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Acoustical Society of America, 2013.
  • Popovics, J.S., Oh, T. and Arndt R.W. "Rapid Seismic Scanning for Bridge Deck NDE" in proceedings of 6th International Conference on Bridge Maintenance, Safety and Management. Lake Como Italy, July 2012.
  • Eiras, J.N., Soriano, L., Popovics, J.S., Borrachero, M.V., Monzo, J.M. and Paya￿, J., "Nonlinear impact resonant acoustic spectroscopy to discern mechanical damage in cement-based materials" Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Experimental Mechanics, Editors: J.F. Silva Gomes and Mário A.P. Vaz, Porto Portugal, July 2012
  • Clem, D.J., Popovics, J.S., Schumacher, T., Oh,T., Ham, S. and Wu, D., "Understanding the impulse response method applied to concrete bridge decks" in Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation, Volume 32, edited by D.O. Thompson, American Institute of Physics, Melville, NY. 2012.
  • Eiras, J.N., Popovics, J.S., Borrachero, M.V., Monz￿.M. and Pay￿J., "Vibration spectrum analysis to characterize Portland cement based materials with different water/cement ratios" 53th Congresso Brasilero do Concreto in Florianopolis (Brazil). 2011 (in Spanish)

Invited Lectures

  • ￿The state-of-the-art in nondestructive testing of concrete￿
  • ￿Nondestructive evaluation of airport pavements by stress wave-based techniques￿
  • ￿Nondestructive testing of concrete structures￿
  • ￿Non-destructive evaluation of concrete structures￿
  • ￿Non-destructive determination of concrete elastic constants from vibration frequencies of cylinders￿
  • ￿Non-destructive determination of concrete elastic constants from vibration frequencies of cylinders: theory and application￿
  • ￿NDE tutorial session￿
  • ￿New directions in concrete non-destructive evaluation￿
  • ￿NDE techniques for foundations￿
  • ￿Concrete NDE using mechanical waves: overview and recent trends￿

Other Publications

  • Popovics, S., Silva-Rodrigez, J.S. Popovics, and V. Martucci, ￿Behavior of ultrasonic pulses in fresh concrete,￿ New Experimental Techniques for Evaluating Concrete Material and Structural Performance SP-143, pp. 207-225, D.J. Stevens and M.A. Issa, eds., American Concrete Institute, Detroit, MI, 1994.
  • Popovics, S. and J.S. Popovics, ￿The foundation of a computer program for the advanced utilization of w/c and air content in concrete proportioning,￿ Concrete International, Volume 16, Number 12, pp. 21-26, December 1994.
  • Popovics, S. and J.S. Popovics, ￿Computerization of the strength vs. water-cement ratio relation for the 21st century,￿ Concrete International, Volume 17, Number 4, pp. 37-40, April 1995.
  • Popovics, S. and J.S. Popovics, ￿Novel aspects in computerization of concrete proportioning,￿ Concrete International, Volume 18, Number 12, pp. 54-58, December 1996.
  • Popovics, J.S. and K. V. Subramaniam, ￿Discussion of ￿Free vibrations of thick hollow circular cylinders from three-dimensional analysis￿,￿ ASME Journal of Vibrations and Acoustics, Volume 120, Number 2, p. 637, April 1998.
  • Popovics, J.S., K.V. Subramaniam, and S.P. Shah, ￿Vibrational resonances in finite length concrete cylinders,￿ Topics in Nondestructive Evaluation Series ￿ NDT&E of Infrastructure, Volume 2, ASNT, pp. 97-109, Columbus, OH, 1999.
  • Gontar, W.A., J.P. Martin, and J.S. Popovics, ￿Effects of cyclic loading on Chloride permeability of plain concrete,￿ Condition Monitoring of Structures, F. Ansari, ed., ASCE, 2000.
  • Popovics, J.S., ￿Ultrasonic tests for concrete structures,￿ Materials Evaluation, Volume 63, Number 1, pp. 50-55, 2005. (Invited paper)
  • Popovics, J.S., Gibson, A. and Gallo, G., ￿Development of nondestructive methods for measurement of slab thickness and Modulus of Rupture in concrete pavements,￿ Final Research Project Report VTRC 06-CR9, Virginia Transportation Research Council, Charlottesville, VA. 2005.
  • Al-Qadi, I.L., Popovics, J.S., Jiang, K. and Xie, W., ￿Structural assessment ofconcrete bridge piers using ground penetrating RADAR, ultrasonic pulse velocity and impact-echo,￿ Final Project Report IHR-R2, Illinois Department of Transportation, Springfield, IL. 2006.

Journal Editorships

  • Editor, Special Issue on Non-destructive Evaluation of Civil Engineering Materials, ASCE Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, Volume 15, Number 3, June, 2003
  • Editor, Special Issue on outstanding papers from 2003 NDT-CE Berlin Conference, RILEM Concrete Science and Engineering/Materials and Structures, Volume 38, Number 283, 2005.
  • Co-Editor, Special issue on Advanced Sensing Technologies for NDE and SHM of Civil Infrastructure, Smart Structures and Systems, to appear 2014.
  • Associate Editor, ASCE Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering (American Society of Civil Engineers). January 2001 - January 2012.
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Nondestructive Evaluation. June 2011 - present.
  • Appointed to Editorial Board of the Korean Society of Nondestructive Testing, 2012
  • Appointed to the Scientific Advisory committee for the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation at Iowa State University, 2013

Professional Societies

  • Fellow and member, American Society for Non-Destructive Testing
  • Member, American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Fellow and member American Concrete Institute
  • Member, American Academy of Mechanics
  • Voting member, RILEM, Committee INR. 2001 - 2005
  • Voting member, RILEM, Committee ATC-185. 2001 - 2004
  • Voting member, American Concrete Institute, Committee on Structural Health Monitoring. 2006 ￿ present. I serve on a sub-committee that is preparing a new state-of-the-art document on Structural Health Monitoring.
  • Voting member, American Concrete Institute, Publications Committee. 2004 ￿ 2013
  • Voting member, American Concrete Institute, Committee on Research. 2000 ￿ present
  • Voting member, American Concrete Institute, Committee on Nondestructive Testing of Concrete. 1995 - present.

Service on Department Committees

  • Co-director: Societal Risk Management curriculum program within the civil and environmental engineering department of Illinois, 2012 - present
  • Head: Materials area within department, 2009-2015
  • Member: CEE Undergraduate affairs and outcomes assessment committee, 2004-present
  • Member: External advisory committee for the Annual Structural Engineering Conference, 2004-present
  • Member: CEE faculty search committee (position in structures group), 2006
  • Member: CEE department advisory committee, 2005-2010, 2012-present
  • Chair: CEE department advisory committee, 2009-2010, 2015-2016
  • Member: CEE department graduate affairs committee, 2009-present
  • Member: CEE department curriculum committee, 2006-present
  • Member: CEE department ad-hoc promotion and tenure committee, 2008, 2015, 2016, 2018

Service on College Committees

  • Member: Academy for Excellence in Engineering Education, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Member: Engineering IT Governance Committee, 2012-2013
  • Member: CEE department head search committee, 2014
  • Member: UIUC engineering ￿ physics liaison committee, 2004-present
  • Member: UIUC Engineering Open House committee, 2004-present

Service on Campus Committees

  • Member: Senate committee on student discipline, 2012-2014
  • Member: Center for Writing Studies campus advisory committee, 2012-2014 and 2016-2017
  • Participant: GradMentoring@Illinois program, 2011, 2012
  • Participant: UIUC Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP), 2003, 2006

Service to Federal and State Government

  • National Science Foundation, MRI Review Panel, 2000
  • Invited panelist for DOE workshop on high level waste tank inspection, 2002
  • Invited panelist for NSF International Workshop on Preservation of Historic Structures with FRP Composites, Lecce Italy, June 2004
  • Invited panelist for NSF US - Poland Workshop on Concrete Materials and Structures, Warsaw and Krakow Poland, May 2004
  • Invited workshop participant for NSF 2nd ANCRiSST Workshop, Geongju, Korea, August 2005
  • National Science Foundation, External Proposal Review, 2006 and 2010
  • Invited panelist for SHRPII Technical Review Session, August 2007 and January 2010
  • National Science Foundation, Unsolicited Proposal Review Panel, 2012, 2010, 2009 (twice), 2006 (twice), 2002
  • National Science Foundation, CAREER Proposal Review Panel, 2018, 2002
  • Invited panelist and presenter at Department of Energy Light Water Reactor Sustainability workshop, July 2012

Other Outside Service

  • Research award application reviewer for PSC-CUNY, 2002.
  • Research award application reviewer for UIUC Research Board, 2006.
  • Member of advisory panel for SPIE 2003 Smart NDE and Health Monitoring of Structural and Biological
  • Member of advisory panel for NDT-CE conference held in Berlin, September 2003
  • Member of advisory panel for NDT-CE conference held in France in July 2009
  • John Wiley & Sons Inc., technical manuscript on Structural Health Monitoring, 2003
  • Wave Motion: 1996 ￿ present
  • Ultrasonics: 2004-present
  • The US Transportation Research Board 2005- present
  • Structural Health Monitoring ￿ An International Journal: 2005- present

Teaching Honors

  • Recipient of Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising ( 2004 )
  • Recipient of ASCE Outstanding Instructor Award (2004)
  • Recipient of the Rose Award for Teaching ( 2006)
  • Recipient of ASCE Outstanding Instructor Award (2008)
  • Recipient of Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising (2013)
  • Recipient of ASCE Outstanding Instructor Award (2013)
  • Recipient of College of Engineering Teaching Excellence Award (2014)
  • Included on list of teachers ranked as "excellent" (Fall 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2015, Spring 2015, Spring 2014, Fall 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2011, Fall 2010, Spring 2010, Fall 2009, Fall 2008, Spring 2008, Fall 2007; Spring 2007; Fall 2006; Fall 2005; Spring 2005; Fall 2004; Fall 2003; )

Research Honors

  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2001)
  • 2012 ASNT Research Fellowship Award (￿May 2012)

Public Service Honors

  • Inducted as a Fellow to the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) (April 2014)
  • Inducted as a Fellow to the American Concrete Institute (ACI) (2008)

Other Honors

  • 2014 ASNT Faculty Grant Award (April 17, 2014)