Research

Structural Mechanics & Sustainable Materials

Sustainable buildings

Sustainable buildings

Our research focus relates to the all-encompassing design, environmental impact and cost consideration associated with producing ‘sustainable structures and materials’.

Australia has a continually evolving infrastructure (buildings and bridges). The country also has a number of aging structures susceptible to dynamic effects that needs to be monitored, especially if they have suffered some loss in structural integrity over time. Considering the events of the last decade and the effect on structures under blast loading and fire, it is now paramount to assess traditional design and construction methods, and incorporate other considerations to ensure a sustainable and durable structure.

Research focus

Building with high strength materials

High strength materials

Our research focus fits extremely well with the National Research Priorities of the Australian Research Council (ARC) under an environmentally sustainable Australia and safeguarding Australia priorities. Research is conducted into the design and analysis of structures that includes consideration of the effects of dynamic loading, blasting and fire.

Our group continues to investigate alternative aspects of designing and assessing structures using up-to-date research including dynamic analysis techniques, simulated blasting techniques and fire modelling.

We also undertake structural health monitoring to assess structures that are already in-service. Structural Mechanics is a strong stream in the Civil, Architectural and Mechanical Engineering programs taught by our research members. Related units include solid mechanics, structural design, stress analysis and structural dynamics.

Research themes

Structural health monitoring

  • Dynamic behaviour of concrete structural elements
  • Measuring dynamic behaviour of structures that have been affected in some way by sustained use
  • Structural damage detection in timber bridges using response signals
  • Non-Destructive assessment of timber bridge characteristics

Fire performance of structures and members

Fire testing facilities

Fire in a concrete structure

  • Using alternative materials such as polymer fibres or geo-polymer concrete to resist fires within concrete elements
  • Hybrid Testing Facility for Structures under Extreme Loads
  • Improvement of spalling resistance and performance of slender reinforced concrete walls subjected to fire

Behaviour of high performance materials

  • Structural behaviour of polymer fibre reinforced concrete
  • Design implications on structures when utilising high strength concrete
  • Behaviour of structures constructed from composite materials

Sustainable buildings and materials

Recycled materials

Recycled materials

  • Usability of recycled materials for sustainable building products and to enhance their structural properties
  • Assessing the environmental impact of structures: carbon footprint or embodied energy
  • Environmentally efficient and sustainable design methodology for concrete residential and office buildings

Teaching pedagogies

  • Assessing individual learning in team based pedagogies
  • Improving modeling and simulation capability of engineering students in three dimension space problems

Research collaboration

The group's research is aligned with the Centre for Environmental Safety & Risk Engineering research on the spread of smoke and fire in buildings, fire extinguishment and the way structures respond to fire. Our collaborative projects on fire in structures, and on aspects of sustainable buildings have been mutually beneficial.

The group also has collaborative links with:

Our researchers

Our research group consists of both academic staff members and PhD students:

Name Phone and email address Research interests
Professor Sam Fragomeni,
Leader
+61 3 9919 5212
sam.fragomeni@vu.edu.au
High performance concrete, design and serviceability of concrete elements, fire performance of structural elements and sustainable building design.
Dr Maurice Guerrieri,
Deputy Leader
+61 3 9919 8041
maurice.guerrieri@vu.edu.au
Performance of structures in fire, particularly the effect and study of concrete spalling, a phenomenon where concrete can explode under a fire load. Investigating alternative green concretes and finite element modeling.
Dr Zora Vrcelj +61 3 9919 4459
zora.vrcelj@vu.edu.au
Structural Stability: Composite Steel-Concrete Structures: Steel Structures
Advanced Composites: Creep and Shrinkage
Biomimetics: Innovations in Engineering Education
Dr Danh Tran +61 3 9919 4941
danh.tran@vu.edu.au
Optimisation, Structural Damage Detection and Crack Propagation.
Dr Rudi van Staden +61 3 9919 4795
rudi.vanstaden@vu.edu.au
Application of the Finite Element Method to corbel, pavement and dental implant research; Education in Engineering.
Professor Vincent Rouillard +61 3 9919 4602
vincent.rouillard@vu.edu.au
Structural vibration and modal analysis, structural health monitoring, detecting structural degradation via vibration analysis, vibration excitation of structures.
Dr Leonard
Koss,
Associate
Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Monash University Structural vibration and modal analysis, structural vibration absorbers, vibration excitation of structures.
Dr Vincent Wang +61 3 9919 9453
vincent.wang@vu.edu.au
Structural health monitoring allowing for stochastic effect, resilience of civil structures against hazards, and safety assessment of in-service concrete structures
PhD Students  
Name Thesis title
Conrad D'Cruz (PhD) Factors contributing to workplace injury and fatalities in the construction industry.
Fadillawaty Saleh (PhD) Structural damage detection in reinforced concrete beams under dynamics vibration.
Indunil R.K.G Galhena Appuhamilage (PhD) Effects of blast loading on structural concrete panel systems.
Janaka Prasanna Wepitiya Gamage (PhD) Soil-structure interaction effect on seismic response analysis- for bridges with deep foundation
Mohammed Ali D Al Huthali (PhD) The role of multiliteracies in problem-based learning as a pedagogy in engineering contexts: a sociocultural perspective.
Yaseen Unnisa (PdD) Structural Health Monitoring of Infrastructures by Non-destructive structural damage detection, localisation and prediction.

Research facilities

Structures Laboratory

Located at the Footscray Park Campus, this facility includes:

  • Large and small universal testing machines for the static and dynamic testing of elements.
  • Concrete mixing and testing facility.

Fire test facilities

Offers research and testing opportunities for applications in fire safety engineering. Provided by The Centre for Environmental Safety and Risk Engineering, the facilities include:

Fire test scale model

Four storey building scale model

  • Fire test furnaces
  • Cone calorimeter
  • 3MW calorimeter and ISO room
  • Large fire test facilities
  • Four storey building scale model.

Recent publications

Members of this emerging research area continue to publish their work in a broad range of scholarly journals and in proceedings of international learned conferences. Our recent publications are available.

Contact us

Professor Sam Fragomeni
Leader, Structural Mechanics & Materials Research Area
College of Engineering & Science
Phone: +61 3 9919 5212
Email: sam.fragomeni@vu.edu.au

Dr Maurice Guerrieri
Deputy Leader, Structural Mechanics & Materials Research Area
Phone: +61 3 9919 8041
Email: maurice.guerrieri@vu.edu.au