Areas of civil and environmental engineering research interest
Our work on structural vibration control is increasing the safety and functionality of buildings, and reducing construction costs. Research into timber bridge technologies is extending the life of Australia’s bridges through retrofitting, rehabilitation and other life expansion and risk management techniques. The recycling of construction waste materials, marries environmental and engineering issues. Development of green cement and other environmentally friendly construction materials, damage detection and structural health monitoring are among recent areas of endeavour. A $10m project will commence in 2009 focusing on development of sustainable engineered timber products for use in non residential buildings.
Water and environmental resource management
Research in water and environmental resource management can be undertaken in a number of areas through our superbly equipped analytical laboratories, through field laboratories, and through access to the latest software systems. A current focus of research activities is the estimation of flood flows (extending from annual freshes to extreme floods) and is aimed at developing techniques for predicting the effects of climate change on flow in river systems, improving the predictive reliability of complex catchment models, and the development of effective flood warning systems. Other research is aimed at developing tools and guidance for the management of water quality in surface and groundwater systems and the interface between these systems. Further research is being undertaken into urban water systems and development of guidance and methodologies for the more efficient utilisation of available water.
Water and wastewater treatment engineering
The water and waste-water treatment (WWT) research group contributes substantially to innovative solutions for water reuse, desalination and stormwater treatment. The WWT group view water reuse and desalination as alternative water sources and is partnering with European Universities and Industries team in two major projects worth 10 million euros. In addition to this, the group obtains significant number of commonwealth competitive grants for their work on new generation of membrane bioreactor and hybrid systems for advanced municipal wastewater treatment, integrated approach for membrane-based desalination, nano technology applications in wastewater treatment, high rate stormwater treatment for reuse and technologies for contaminant removal from sub-surface environment
The research activities of the School cover: Ground improvement techniques including reinforced soils, vertical drains, applications of geosynthetics in geotechnical projects and grouting techniques; Rail track geomechanics including ballast and sub-ballast design and subgrade improvement ; Strategic embankment dam and granular filtration design; and Unsaturated soil mechanics consisting of modelling of the hydro-mechanical behaviour of unstable soils
The School also has a very strong research focus on geo-environmental engineering including: Environmental geomechanics (soil-water interaction, numerical methods in geo-environmental engineering, geotechnical aspects of landfills and remediation techniques for contaminated sites); Treatment of acid sulphate soils; Bioengineering ground modification.
The research team has sound experience in practical based research as well as in numerical modelling using FEM and FDM in the area of geomechanics. Our research and consulting activities are supported by the Geotechnical Laboratory equipped with conventional equipment and fully automated advanced apparatus.