School of Civil Engineering

Projects in structural engineering

Project 1. Early-age thermal cracking in concrete structures

Supervisor:             Dr Vinh Dao v.dao@uq.edu.au

Early-age thermal cracking in concrete structures is a persistent problem that has caused ongoing great concerns for the construction industry. This form of early cracking and its further development at later ages can seriously compromise the integrity, durability, aesthetics, and long-term service life of wide-ranging types of concrete structures. Effective control of early-age thermal cracking is thus of great economic significance.

Despite significant research over the past decades, our effort to control such cracking has been hindered by a lack of holistic understanding of the key phenomena and factors underlying the behaviour of early-age concrete. In this project:

  • First, the crack formation/propagation mechanisms and major influencing factors (including properties of concrete constituents, ambient conditions, and curing measures) will be critically reviewed.
  • Second, advanced numerical and experimental studies will be conducted to address some of the identified critical knowledge gaps.
  • This challenging year-long project will involve all analytical/experimental/numerical work. Together with a PhD student, students will have the opportunity to work in group to (1) finalise the design and build a unique experimental test-setup, (2) collect data using the new set-up, and (3) analyse collected data for improved knowledge and thus more effective control of early-age thermal cracking in concrete structures.

Project Duration:            This is a year-long project.

 

Project 2. Early-age properties of concrete.

Supervisor:             Dr Vinh Dao v.dao@uq.edu.au

Despite significant research, early-age cracking remains an ongoing major concern to the concrete construction industry, seriously compromising the performance and aesthetics of concrete structures. More effective crack control requires an improved knowledge of early-age concrete properties, including complete tensile stress-strain curves.

In this project:

  • First, the crack formation mechanism and major influencing factors (including properties of concrete constituents, ambient conditions, and curing measures) will be critically reviewed, together with available test methods for complete stress-strain curves of concrete at very early ages.
  • Second, using a novel system specifically designed for early-age tensile testing of concrete, reliable data on stress-strain curves of conventional and newer types of concrete will be collected. The collected data will then be analysed for improved knowledge of properties of concerete at early ages, including the tensile/shear strength, Young's modulus and fracture mechanics characteristics, as well as their interrelationships and development with time. 

This semseter-long project will involve mainly experimental, and some analytical/numerical work. Together with a PhD student, students will have the opportunity to work in group to generate useful knowledge on early-age concrete using a unique experimental test-setup.

Project Duration:            This is a 1 semester project.

 

Project 3. Fundamental performance of concrete in fire

Supervisor:             Dr Vinh Dao v.dao@uq.edu.au

The outbreak of fire in buildings and civil engineering structures can have disastrous consequences, including severe structural damage, total loss of contents, and loss of life. Adequate design for fire is thus an important and essential requirement in the design process.

Being the most commonly used construction material, concrete has favourable inherent characteristics with respect to fire. However, upon heating, concrete experiences degradation of mechanical properties and spalling - which may compromise the load-carrying capacity of concrete structures. 

Despite extensive research in the past decades, our current knowledge of fundamental properties of concerete at elevated temperatures remains largely based on data from conventional tests in which the heat flux experienced by concrete specimens is very difficult to be consistently controlled. In this project:

  • First, fundamental properties of concrete at elevated temperatures will be critically reviewed to clearly identify the critical knowledge gaps.
  • Second, a novel test setup with radiant panels will be designed and built with the aims to establish known and consistent thermal boundary conditions on test specimens.
  • Third, using the new test set-up, data on fundamental concrete properties at elevated temperatures will be collected - including: compressive strength, Young's modulus, and stress-strain curves. On that basis, improved knowledge of and models for these properties will be generated.

This challenging year-long project will involve all experimental/analytical/numerical work. Together with MPhil/PhD students, thesis students will have the opportunity to work in group to (1) finalise the design and build a unique experimental test set-up, (2) collect data using the new set-up, and (3) analyse collected data for improved knowledge of and models for fundamental performance of concrete at elevated temperatures.

Project Duration:            This is a year-long project.