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Long Phan (Fed)

Dr. Long Phan is currently serving as Leader of the Structures Group in the Materials and Structural Systems Division (MSSD) of the Engineering Laboratory (EL).   At NIST, Dr. Phan has provided technical leadership and conducted research on a wide range of topics, including performance of structures and materials subject to extreme hazards (fire, earthquake, hurricane wind and storm surge, tornado wind and debris, and ice-floes impact).  He has also conducted several field investigations of damage to the built environment caused by accidents and natural or man-made disasters to derive lessons for improvement in building code, standard, and practice.  He published widely in the areas of structural and material engineering, with over 100 technical papers in refereed journals and conferences.

Dr. Phan led many field damage assessments caused by tornadoes, including the Jarrell, Texas tornado (May 1997), the Central Florida tornado (February 1998), the Central Alabama tornado (April 1998), and the Spencer, South Dakota tornado (June 1998).  His publications on the Jarrell, Texas tornado (The Fujita Tornado Intensity Scale: A Critique Based on Observations of the Jarrell Tornado of May 27, 1997 (NIST TN 1426), and Tornado Aftermath, Questioning the Tool (ASCE Magazine, 1998)) provided the rationale for the transformation of the original Fujita scale (F scale) to the much improved Enhanced Fujita scale (EF scale) that was officially adopted by the National Weather Service in 2007.  Dr. Phan was appointed the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Investigator responsible for the structural engineering and building performance aspect of the May 2011 Joplin tornado investigation and served as the primary author of the NIST Joplin tornado final report’s Chapter on Performance of Buildings, Designated Safe Areas, and Lifelines and the recommendations related to tornado-resistant design of buildings.  He developed and served as Principal Investigator of the Joplin Recommendations Implementation project, which outlined a detailed roadmap for the technical work that is required for development of the first-ever Tornado Wind Speed Maps for characterization of the tornado hazards to underpin the tornado-resistant design framework for buildings in the U.S.  

Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Dr. Phan was selected as a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) team investigating the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.  He led the structural fire analysis of the Pentagon structure to evaluate its performance, and subsequently coauthored ASCE’s ThePentagon Building Performance Report (ASCE, January 2003) and related journal publications. 

Dr. Phan also served as principal member on a multi-agency team that included NIST, FEMA, USACE, FHWA, HUD, and NOAA responsible for performance assessment of physical structures, including flood protection systems, bridges, buildings, and infrastructure that were affected by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.  He was the primary author of the Performance of Physical Structures in Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita: A Reconnaissance Report and recommendations related to hurricane storm surge hazard characterization. Following the publication of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita report, Dr. Phan developed the concept of risk-consistent design requirement for hurricane hazards, with consideration of local topography and bathymetry of the region of interest, and a science-based methodology for computation of risk due to combined effects of hurricane hazards, as well as a methodology to incorporate effects of waves set-up on storm surge simulation for use in developing risk-consistent design criteria for coastal structures.

Dr. Phan is active in the codes and standards arena, chairing standard and technical committees, serving on policy committees, and organizing national workshops.  He was elected and is serving as Member of Executive Committee of ASCE/SEI Codes and Standards Activities Division (CSAD ExCOM) for the 2022 – 2026 term. He is also serving as voting member of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Committee 318-25.  Dr. Phan  chaired ACI Standard Committee 216, Fire Resistance and Fire Protection of Concrete and Masonry Structures (two three-year terms, 2000-2006), where he led the development of ACI 216.1-07.  He was elected Fellow of ACI in 2010.  He also served as member of ASCE 7-22 Wind Load Sub-Committee (WLSC) and is currently serving as member of ASCE 7-28 WLSC.  He chaired ASCE Fire Protection committee (2007-2010), served as member of ASCE/SFPE Standards Committee 29: Structural Design for Fire Conditions, and was Senior Member of RILEM Committee on High Temperature Concrete.


Dr. Phan is the recipient of several NIST awards, including:  the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) Gold Medals (for conception, research, development, and standardization of first-ever tornado hazard maps and tornado loads methodology for U.S. building design, 2022, and for conducting the Federal investigation of the May 2011 Joplin Tornado that resulted in 16 recommendations to save lives and reduce losses, 2014); US DOC Silver Medals (for innovative research to measure and quantify effects of ASR on safety of nuclear power plants for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2022, and for conducting the reconnaissance of the performance of physical structures during Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, 2007); US DOC Bronze Medals (for research providing the technical basis for the Enhanced Fujita Tornado Intensity Scale following the 1997 Jarrell Texas tornado, 2006, and for significant contributions to the design of lightweight concrete structures used in Arctic offshore facilities, 1990), and the Engineering Laboratory’s Communication Award (for outstanding communication of the comprehensive study documenting the findings of the NIST-led technical investigation of the May 22, 2011, Joplin Tornado, 2015).  He has also received several external awards, including: the ACI Arthur J. Boase Award (for research on the response of high strength/high-performance concrete structures to extreme loads, the effect of ASR on reinforced concrete material properties and structural capacities, and committee work to transfer research result into practice, 2019); the ACI Wason Medal for Materials Research (2004); and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers R&D Center’s Award (for Valuable Contribution to the Pentagon Rebuilt Retrofit Program, 2002).


Created October 9, 2019, Updated February 29, 2024