Associate Professor Piaras Kelly

BSc, DPhil

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Head of Department


Piaras completed a BSc in Mathematical Physics at University College, Dublin (1987), majoring in numerical analysis. He obtained a PhD (DPhil) from the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford (1993), carrying out a theoretical study of the strength of components made of bonded dissimilar materials.

In 1995, he joined the Oxford Orthopaedic Engineering Centre at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Hospital, UK, to study failure of knee prostheses and damage to human articular cartilage. During this period, he co-authored the book “Solution to Crack Problems” which was based on techniques developed in the preceding years. He re-joined the Solid Mechanics group at Oxford as a Research Fellow, carrying out work on the development of plasticity around propagating cracks.

Piaras joined the Department of Engineering Science at The University of Auckland as a lecturer in 1999. Since then, amongst other things, he has worked on the constitutive modelling of fibrous materials and the mathematical modelling of composite materials manufacturing processes. He has over 80 publications in the fields of Composite Materials, Textile Mechanics, Biomechanics, Geomechanics and Fracture Mechanics.


DPhil in Engineering, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
BSc in Mathematical Physics, University College Dublin, Ireland

Research | Current

  • Thermomechanical modelling of materials
  • Earthquake Engineering (effect of earthquakes on structures)
  • Mathematical modelling and computational techniques for manufacturing processes, in particular for the manufacture of high performance composite materials
  • Design and development of knee implants 
  • Geomechanics of soils and clays
  • Causes and development of osteoarthritis in the human knee

Research groups

Teaching | Current

  • BIOMENG 221 - Mechanics of Engineered and Biological Materials
  • ENGSCI 313 - Mathematical Modelling 3ECE
  • ENGSCI 343 - Mathematical and Computational Modelling in Mechanics
  • ENGSCI 344 - Modelling and Simulation in Computational Mechanics
  • ENGSCI 740 - Advanced Continuum Mechanics

Postgraduate supervision

Willsen Wijaya (PhD) -  Numerical prediction of the permeability of textile reinforcements: textile geometry modelling, compaction simulation, and flow simulation

Mehdi Saeidi (PhD)  - Numerical and experimental investigation of a wew load-sharing implant for early-onset knee osteoarthritis

Tino Hermann (PhD)  - Airflow based quality measurements of semi-finished textiles

Sabri Mohd Hussin (PhD)  - Wear prediction in an Externally Articulating Knee Prosthesis (EAKP)

John Allen (PhD) - Elastoplastic analysis for earthquake engineering

Khashayar Khanlari (PhD) - Mechanical and tribological characterization of Nitinol-60 parts manufactured by different powder metallurgy processes

Elinor Swery (PhD) - Numerical prediction of fibre preform permeability for enhanced process modelling of advanced composite structures

Areas of expertise

  • Mechanics of Fibrous Materials
  • Composite Materials Manufacturing
  • Earthquake Engineering
  • Geomechanics
  • Mechanics of Osteoarthritis in the Human Knee Joint
  • Development of Knee Prostheses

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Wilson, A., Kelly, P. A., Quenneville, P. J. H., & Ingham, J. M. (2014). Nonlinear In-Plane Deformation Mechanics of Timber Floor Diaphragms in Unreinforced Masonry Buildings. Journal of Engineering Mechanics, 140 (4)10.1061/(ASCE)EM.1943-7889.0000694
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jason Ingham, Pierre Quenneville
  • Gupta, A., Kelly, P. A., Ehrgott, M., & Bickerton, S. (2013). A surrogate model based evolutionary game-theoretic approach for optimizing non-isothermal compression RTM processes. Composites Science and Technology, 84, 92-100. 10.1016/j.compscitech.2013.05.012
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Simon Bickerton
  • Gupta, A., Kelly, P. A., Bickerton, S., & Walbran, W. A. (2012). Simulating the effect of temperature elevation on clamping force requirements during rigid-tool Liquid Composite Moulding processes. Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, 43 (12), 2221-2229. 10.1016/j.compositesa.2012.08.003
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Simon Bickerton
  • Kelly, P. A. (2011). Transverse compression properties of composite reinforcements. In P. Boisse (Ed.) Composite Reinforcements for Optimum Performance (pp. 333-366). Woodhead Pub Ltd.
  • Kelly, P. A. (2011). A viscoelastic model for the compaction of fibrous materials. Journal of the Textile Institute, 102 (8), 689-699. 10.1080/00405000.2010.515103

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 3, Room 337
New Zealand