Maria Anna Polak

Maria Anna Polak

Contact information

Phone: 519-888-4567 x45325
Location: CPH 2373C

Biography summary

Maria Anna (Marianna) Polak is a Professor and the University Research Chair in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo, Canada. Before joining the faculty at the University of Waterloo, she obtained her doctoral degree from the University of Toronto, Canada, M.A.Sc. from the Cracow University of Technology, Poland and she worked as a consulting structural engineer. Professor Polak is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineering ASCE, International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering IABSE, Transportation Research Board TRB (committee AKB10 - Innovative Highway Structures and Appurtenances) and a Fellow of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering CSCE and the American Concrete Institute ACI, where she is a member of ACI committees: 440 (Fiber Reinforced Polymer), 445 (Shear and Torsion), 564 (3-D Printing), and 435 (Deflections). She is a recipient of prestigious Humboldt Research fellowships in 1999, 2006, 2015 and 2019. She was a visiting professor at the University of Stuttgart, Technical University of Berlin and the University of Wuppertal in Germany, and Cracow University of Technology and Silesian University of Technology, Poland. She is a registered professional engineer in Ontario PEO, Canada.

Professor Polak’s research is in the area of structural engineering and mechanics, constitutive modelling of materials, infrastructure retrofit and monitoring, and nonlinear finite element analysis. Her work has a particular focus on structural concrete; in this regard, some current projects are: punching shear in reinforced concrete slabs, non-destructive detection of damage, fiber reinforced polymers in construction, and 3-D printing of concrete. She works also in an interdisciplinary research group involved in analysis and testing polymeric materials used in construction. Her research includes both large scale laboratory testing and numerical analysis.

Research interests

  • Structural Engineering
  • Characterization of construction materials
  • Punching shear in reinforced concrete slabs
  • Structural concrete reinforced with fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) bars
  • 3-D printing of concrete structures
  • Infrastructure retrofit and monitoring
  • Nondestructive detection of damage
  • Strength and durability of polymers and polymeric composites for construction
  • Trenchless Engineering


  • 1992, Doctorate, PhD, University of Toronto
  • 1984, Master's, MSc, Cracow University of Technology
  • 1982, Bachelor's, BSc, Cracow University of Technology


  • CIVE 414 - Structural Concrete Design
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
  • CIVE 603 - Mechanics of Reinforced Concrete
    • Taught in 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/recent publications

  • Milligan, Graeme J. and Polak, Maria Anna and Zurell, Cory, Finite element analysis of punching shear behavior of reinforced concrete slabs supported on walls, Structural Concrete, 2022

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