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Sustainable Materials for Construction and Repair

Concrete is relatively weak in tension and may require some form of reinforcement to cope with tensile forces.

Impact resistant and energy absorbing materials

Caption: Results of impact resistant concrete testConcrete is relatively weak in tension and may require some form of reinforcement to cope with tensile forces. Steel reinforcing bar is often used to cater for tensile and compressive forces. However, current research shows that the use of steel reinforcing bar does not fully afford concrete protection against impact. Alternatively it has been shown that where fibres are added to concrete mixes protection is afforded through increased energy absorption. It would appear that the dispersion of fibres throughout a concrete mix affords a degree of toughness between the reinforcement bar spacing. We are conducting tests discover the most effective fibre type and dose.

 

Caption: The test method!For more information and postgraduate opportunities, please contact Dr Alan Richardson.

Bacteriological healing and repair of cementitious materials

Caption: Preparing the biological dose for repair of cracked concrete cubesBio-mineralisation is the phenomenon of bacteria in nutrient rich environments creating a micro-environment that permits the precipitation of mineral materials. Microbial induced calcite precipitation (MICP) is a form of bio-mineralisation specifically referring to the production of calcites which are a form of calcium carbonate. The process is initiated by bacillus type bacteria which intracellularly hydrolyze urea for nutrients, thus beginning the process of calcite precipitation. Sporosarcina pasteurii has been used to effectively precipitate calcium carbonate in order to seal porous media.

The introduction of bacteria which precipitate calcite effectively “plugging” the pore structure of concrete promises an ecological solution to liquid ingress, and given a food source, the effects and processes of MICP will improve the strength and permeability of the concrete.

We are actively researching this area, as well as extending tests to examine the possibility of strengthening soil materials through a process similar to MICP.

For more information and postgraduate opportunities, please contact Dr Alan Richardson.

Structural behaviour and design of steel sections

Thin-walled structures made of cold-formed steel members are omnipresent in the modern building industry due to their inherent enhanced characteristics over conventional thicker hot-rolled sections. Cold-formed steel sections are lightweight structural members like timber. However, compared to timber, steel has more reliable material properties, dimensionally more accurate and can span greater distances.

Our aim is to understand the behavior and design of thin-walled structures; specifically made of cold-formed steel and stainless steel. We pursue to enable structural engineers, researchers and steel manufacturers to advance in structural engineering through identifying the research problems. Experimental studies, advanced finite element modelling and theoretical studies are used to overcome these research problems.

For more information and postgraduate opportunities, please contact Dr Keerthan Poologanathan.

Structural modelling of composite materials

Caption: Functionally graded materialThis research focuses on structural mechanics of composite materials using theoretical approach (Finite Element Analysis and Isogeometric Analysis) and computational simulations (ABAQUS and ANSYS). We have made a valuable contribution to theoretical development with various shear deformation theories, which have been successfully applied to thin-walled composite beams, composite beams/plates, marco/micro functionally graded beams/plates.

Caption: Comparison between experiments and simulationsWe are also looking at the blast response of fibre-metal laminates using ABAQUS/Explicit combined with a vectorised user material (VUMAT) subroutine, and the simulation of timber beams reinforced with glass fibre.

 

For more information and postgraduate opportunities, please contact Dr Thuc Vo.

Caption: Thin-walled composite space frameCaption: Simulation of a timber beam with GFRP

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