Sustainable Engineering Group
Welcome to the Sustainable Engineering Group...
We have identified a number of key areas that provides our Discipline with a 'competitive' edge and a niche area for us to specialise and contribute. These include:
- Rehabilitation solutions for degraded structures using fibre reinforced polymers (FRPs) and natural fibres, and Structural Health Monitoring of infrastructure in terms of reliability and safety;
- Sustainable materials in construction particularly the reuse of materials and recycling of waste products
- Sustainable building and infrastructure (e.g. renewable energies);
- Engineering education from the perspective of a regional university; and
- Engineering Heritage in a regional context.
Scholarship opportunities for international Higher Degree Research (HDR) students:
Engineers are at the forefront of the transition to a carbon-constrained world. Sustainable technologies are required to allow the world to adapt whilst ensuring a good quality of life for all its residents. Engineers can provide these technologies only through innovation and entrepreneurship. However it must be recognised that a vital link is required to facilitate the work of engineers.
Using 'Sustainable Technologies' to protect the environment and to develop and offer sustainable and energy-saving solutions with low greenhouse gas emissions.
All of the many changes that are required for this carbon transition involve engineers in their conception, development and implementation. There are many examples of sustainable innovations currently in the process of becoming reality through the applied skills of engineers of all disciplines. Sustainable materials in construction, designing structures using less carbon intensive materials and designing low carbon concrete to change the profile of the built environment are examples of sustainable innovations in civil engineering.
Civil and Environmental engineers, and particularly graduates, should use technologies in design and development to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve traditional construction techniques. This can be achieved by the evolution of engineering education, engineering curriculum, team leadership skills toward 'sustainable infrastructure'.
Alternative Engineering Solutions
Alternative engineering solutions for the repair, strengthening and maintenance to extend infrastructure service life can reduce the negative effect of constructing new structures and conserve our natural resources. One avenue through which the building industry is initiating the application of sustainable development principles in the design, construction, and operation of buildings is in the replacement of traditional technologies with technologies that have a reduced ecological, health, and environmental life cycle impact.
Some current research in key sustainable technologies
Sustainable technologies include, but are not limited to, green roofs, high volume fly ash concrete or grey water recycling systems. The installation of environmental technologies in buildings is becoming more and more common with increased market awareness, popularity, and client interest in green buildings and design. In response to growing public interest and awareness, there has been an ever-increasing number of reference documents produced to guide decision makers in the creation, design, and construction of buildings with improved environmental performance, referred to as green buildings.
Areas of research include:
- Anchor devices for strengthening RC, metallic and timber structures using natural fibres and FRP composites;
- Structural health monitoring of infrastructure, particularly road/railway bridges and heritage buildings in terms of reliability and safety;
- Sustainable materials in construction, particularly the reuse of materials and recycling of waste products, e.g. recycled concrete, glass as aggregate, polystyrene in concrete for insulation and lightweight properties;
- Concrete technology;
- Soil-structure interactions in concrete rafts slabs on reactive/expansive clay;
- Sustainable buildings and infrastructure; and
- Renewable energies.
Sustainable and Heritage Engineering with Rex Glencross-Grant
Some of Rex's research interests include:
- Engineering utilisation of sustainable natural resources (timber, fibres, etc.);
- Heritage engineering - history, preservation/conservation and/or restoration (in conjunction with NSW Roads and Maritime Services);
- Road corridors in rural and regional NSW;
- Solid waste management - construction and demolition wastes, reuse of waste materials; and
- Sustainable energy: wind and solar.
Hydrological and Wastewater Engineering with Dr Janelle Wilkes
Janelle has research expertise in the monitoring of soil water and groundwater quality in agricultural productions systems; and hydrological modelling of acid sulphate wetlands. Current research projects include:
- Monitoring and management of salt movement from beef cattle feedlots;
- Environmental impact of sewage treatment plants (biosolids and wastewater) to land; and
- Acid sulphate soil monitoring.
Research Student Opportunities
The Engineering Discipline is recruiting honours and postgraduate students in areas of sustainable buildings and infrastructure, with a particular interest in the following topics.
- Sustainable concrete using waste products
- Damage detection and performance evaluation of FRP/SFRP-retrofitted RC and timber buildings
- Bond behaviour and anchor devices for FRP-retrofitted concrete, metallic or timber structures
A/Prof Richard Faulkner
Richard is a Chartered Civil Engineer with some 40 years' experience. His background is in irrigation engineering, hydrology and water resources management.
A/Prof Robert Patterson
Bob is a soil scientist and environmental engineer. His general interests are in understanding and taking advantage of the interactions between soil, water and wastewater, particular for maintaining soil health.
Dr John Moore (Adjunct Lecturer).
John has worked as an Electronics Design Engineer for 38 years researching, and commercializing various communication, measurement and control systems,
Abbas Vahedian (MSc CivilEng) (PhD candidate): Retrofitting of older timber buildings using Sprayed Fibre Reinforced Polymer (SFRP) composites. Supervised by Mr Glencross-Grant.
Robert Baker (PhD candidate): Potential for biofuels from natural algal communities in sewage treatment ponds: nutrients and zooplankton as regulatory process. Supervised by A/Prof Ryder (AERRG) and Dr Wilkes.
Yasser Maklad (MResSc candidate): Development of a practical, user-friendly decision-making tool for householders to help in their evaluation process of utilizing small scale wind turbines and/or solar photovoltaic panels as an alternative source of electricity. YMAKLAD@myune.edu.au
Saeed is a council member of International Society for Structural Health Monitoring of Intelligent Infrastructure (ISHMII) 2011-to date. He is also the Secretary General and a member of the organising committee of the 8th International Conference on Structural Health Monitoring of Intelligent Infrastructure SHMII-8 to be held in Brisbane in 2017.
Saeed is also an executive committee member and as an external engagement co-ordinator of Australian Network for Structural Health Monitoring (ANSHM), 2010-to date.
We're always on the look out for interested students to come and join the group. If the research on this site sounds interesting, then feel free to contact our staff and discuss some options.
Living in Armidale
Armidale is a beautiful city, with distinct seasons. While it can be cold overnight in winter, the trade-off is glorious sunny days with little wind and clear skies. We are fortunate within a couple of hours drive of every habitat from deserts to rainforests to the coast. Armidale is also surrounded by many National Parks and reserves, so finding a close field site is easy! To learn more about Armidale, have a look here.
For those looking for scholarships to fund PhD projects.
Concrete and Structural Facilities
- New 300 kN Hydraulic Universal Testing Machine with long gage length Extensometer,
- 200 mm G.L., 25mm travel and a 2,000 kN Compression Testing Machine with fully computerized and built-in data acquisition and data analysis systems,(Instron USA)
- multiple data logger (including strain gauges),
- LVDTs as well as new laser sensors which can be used for lab-based and filed-based testings.
- Testing frame, which is equipped with a hydraulic jack with the capacity of 100 kN and another hydraulic jack with a maximum capacity of 500 kN is available at the project area of the engineering building.
Soil Mechanics testing equipment
More details coming soon.