Civil and Environmental Engineering

  1. » Obtaining modal properties of real life structures using video footage recorded on consumer grade DSLR camera
  2. » Simulating 3D motion of rocking rigid blocks using gaming and Hollywood technologies
  3. » GUI for stereo vision applications in water environments
  4. » Understanding torrents that flow on the seabed
  5. » Forestry Slash: What happens with trees that fall into a river?
  6. » Mātauranga Māori: When a river becomes a person
  7. » Seismic and tsunami resilience of marae in Te Tai Tokerau (Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Kahu)
  8. » Seismic and tsunami resilience of marae in Auckland
  9. » Seismic and tsunami resilience of marae in Waitomo (Ngāti Maniapoto)
  10. » A laboratory investigation of coastal hazards
  11. » Hydraulics of a cascade drop shaft
  12. » Active fluid dynamics learning: Interactive experiments for enhanced understanding
  13. » In-plane behaviour of retrofitted unreinforced masonry (URM) substructures using near surface mounted steel wire rope
  14. » FRP-to-elastomer debonding analysis and characterization in a Fibre Reinforced Elastomeric base Isolator (FREI)
  15. » FRP-to-FRP bond characterization and model development for FRP anchor design
  16. » Performance of a novel timber connection device
  17. » Innovative membrane systems that efficiently produce clean water from effluent
  18. » Innovative systems for recovering nutrients and salts from effluent
  19. » How to get microbes to be more expressive – strategies for rapid enzyme production
  20. » Structural hybrid timber elements involving adhesively bonded connections
  21. » Dynamics of structures with transient separation between structural members
  22. » Dynamic fluid-tank-soil interaction under earthquake loadings
  23. » Smart Seismic Cities – building database

Obtaining modal properties of real life structures using video footage recorded on consumer grade DSLR camera


Supervisor

Quincy Ma

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG043

Obtaining accurate modal properties of structures is important in understanding their dynamic response. This is important as it could govern the structural design. Whilst engineers can estimate modal characteristics of structures using various numerical techniques such as finite element modelling, the estimates can often be wildly inaccurate from poor assumptions or insufficient information. Experimental validation remains the most reliable method is confirming modal information.

Experimental modal identification on structures can be a difficult and complex process, involving extensive instrumentation and data processing. Recent advances in computer vision research has developed techniques to amplify minute motion and extract accurate modal information from videos captured on conventional consumer grade equipment.

This project aims to develop tools incorporating these techniques specifically for structural modal identification purposes. The tools will be utilised on a number of buildings in NZ and the results will be validated against previous studies.

Interested applicants should view the following video and papers:

Interactive Dynamic Video

New video technology that reveals an object's hidden properties

Long Distance Video Camera Measurements of Structures

Simulating 3D motion of rocking rigid blocks using gaming and Hollywood technologies


Supervisor

Quincy Ma

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG044

The behaviour of rigid rocking blocks are and have been of great interest in the earthquake engineering community. Rigid body rocking has been used as a mode of seismic isolation for centuries and has been rediscovered in recent times. Rocking, controlled rocking, self-centering systems are amongst some of the most fashionable seismic resistant techniques.

Rocking isolate provide isolation from earthquakes by allowing structures to uplifts (rocks) from their bases without damage. Gravity provides a restoring force that returns a structure to more-or-less its original position. Scientifically, once uplifts occur, a rocking (controlled rocking) system experiences a decrease in stiffness and hence attracts less earthquake forces, much like the case for conventional base isolation.

Much of the current research studying rocking systems has focused on either theoretical formulation of the rocking problem or using conventional structural engineering numerical simulation tools (e.g. finite element analyses). The seminal paper being that by Housner in 1963. A sample of other recent research can be found through a simple google search.

This project aims to investigate the use of other more innovative techniques to simulate the seismic response of rocking objects. This can include the use of physics engine approach or discrete element method. The results will be validated against already completed shaking table data.

GUI for stereo vision applications in water environments


Supervisor

Dr Heide Friedrich

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG045

My research group is using stereo vision to study water-worked environments. We have various workflows and codes (various languages, Matlab, C++, Python to name a few), and would like to compile it into a stand-alone package. This project is a desktop study. You will be working with several research students from my team. We also encourage you to get familiar with the stereo vision system and have a bit of fun obtaining your own data, if interested.

Skills needed

GUI platform is planned to be MATLAB. You have experience with MATLAB, and are highly motivated to become an advanced MATLAB user.

Student background

This project would be suited to BEng or BSc students with Software Engineering or Computer Science background, who have an interest in stereo vision and coding. You’ll be part of a growing research team that values diversity and creativity.

Understanding torrents that flow on the seabed


Supervisor

Dr Heide Friedrich

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG046

My research group (water.auckland.ac.nz) is studying mixed flows, such as sediment laden flows, in our hydraulic engineering laboratory. Those are highly dynamic environments, and we have high-quality imaging data of instantaneous mixing behaviour. This project is a desktop study to better understand the potential to use the existing imaging data for correlating the dynamic changes in patterns, similar to Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV). The overall aim of the project is to (i) research suitable pattern correlation algorithms already successfully applied in other fields and (ii) apply them to our existing data.

Skills needed

Analysis will be done with MATLAB. You have experience with MATLAB, or are highly motivated to become an advanced MATLAB user.

Student background

This project is open to any BEng or BSc student, who has an interest in image analysis and pattern recognition, applied to our natural water environments. You’ll be part of a growing research team that values diversity and creativity.

Forestry Slash: What happens with trees that fall into a river?


Supervisors

Dr Heide Friedrich
Dr Jon Tunnicliffe

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG047

Woody debris in river systems represent a risk to infrastructure as well as the ecosystem. The project studies woody debris in domestic river systems, which often leads to blockages and changes in flow behaviour at critical cross sections during flood events. Experiments take place in our new state-of-the-art Hydraulic Engineering Laboratory at the Newmarket Campus - observing the influence of woody debris accumulations on sediment movement at critical cross sections. The project will allow the student to be involved in an ecohydraulics projects, and better understand how to deal with natural hazards in New Zealand.

Skills needed

Enthusiasm, creativity and keen to have fun. Some analysis may be done with MATLAB. There will be opportunities to learn more about GIS, remote sensing, use of drones for the research and so on.

Student background

This project is open to any BEng or BSc student, who has an interest river engineering and natural hazards. You’ll be part of a growing research team that values diversity and creativity.

wood debris

Mātauranga Māori: When a river becomes a person


Supervisors

Dr Heide Friedrich
Dr Colin Whittaker

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG048

Recently, a new law declared the Whanganui river, New Zealand’s third-longest, a legal person, in the sense that it can own property, incur debts and petition the courts. What does this mean for how we deal with rivers as engineers? Is New Zealand ready to incorporate Mātauranga Māori in its engineering practices? How does this compare with international perspectives? What are our capabilities when it comes to river engineering, looking at it from a Māori worldview? A local Whanganui proverb says “I am the river and the river is me.” – thus the new law acknowledges the river as a “living whole”, rather than trying to carve it up. What can river engineers learn from this different worldview?

In this project you will work on capability and stakeholder mapping, making a start to better understand the effects of making a river a person – from an engineering perspective.

Skills needed

Enthusiasm, creativity and interest into Mātauranga Māori.

Student background

This project is open to any BEng or BSc student, who has an interest river engineering and Mātauranga Māori. You’ll be part of a growing research team that values diversity and creativity.

Seismic and tsunami resilience of marae in Te Tai Tokerau (Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Kahu)


Supervisor

Colin Whittaker

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG049

Māori own and manage an extensive range of marae and community buildings across New Zealand. In mid‐2017 new legislation associated with the identification of potentially earthquake‐prone buildings will be enacted and the ramifications of this legislation on Māori communities have not yet been fully considered.

Many whare and community buildings have cultural values that influence kaitiakitanga and future investment decisions. This project will map how existing mātauranga, cultural values and earthquake engineering science are interwoven in community responses to the legislation.

The project will be a collaboration between Māori communities, existing QuakeCoRE researchers with expertise in aspects of earthquake and tsunami resilience, and six Māori researchers convened under the auspices of the James Henare Māori Research Centre (JHMRC) based at the University of Auckland.

This project will specifically investigate earthquake and tsunami resilience (where relevant) of marae and community buildings in Te Tai Tokerau (Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Kahu).

Seismic and tsunami resilience of marae in Auckland


Supervisor

Liam Wotherspoon

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG050

Māori own and manage an extensive range of marae and community buildings across New Zealand. In mid‐2017 new legislation associated with the identification of potentially earthquake‐prone buildings will be enacted and the ramifications of this legislation on Māori communities have not yet been fully considered.

Many whare and community buildings have cultural values that influence kaitiakitanga and future investment decisions. This project will map how existing mātauranga, cultural values and earthquake engineering science are interwoven in community responses to the legislation.

The project will be a collaboration between Māori communities, existing QuakeCoRE researchers with expertise in aspects of earthquake and tsunami resilience, and six Māori researchers convened under the auspices of the James Henare Māori Research Centre (JHMRC) based at the University of Auckland.

This project will specifically investigate earthquake and tsunami resilience (where relevant) of marae and community buildings in Auckland.

Seismic and tsunami resilience of marae in Waitomo (Ngāti Maniapoto)


Supervisor

Jason Ingham

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG051

Māori own and manage an extensive range of marae and community buildings across New Zealand. In mid‐2017 new legislation associated with the identification of potentially earthquake‐prone buildings will be enacted and the ramifications of this legislation on Māori communities have not yet been fully considered.

Many whare and community buildings have cultural values that influence kaitiakitanga and future investment decisions. This project will map how existing mātauranga, cultural values and earthquake engineering science are interwoven in community responses to the legislation.

The project will be a collaboration between Māori communities, existing QuakeCoRE researchers with expertise in aspects of earthquake and tsunami resilience, and six Māori researchers convened under the auspices of the James Henare Māori Research Centre (JHMRC) based at the University of Auckland.

This project will specifically investigate earthquake and tsunami resilience (where relevant) of marae and community buildings in Waitomo (Ngāti Maniapoto).

A laboratory investigation of coastal hazards


Supervisors

Colin Whittaker
Heide Friedrich

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG052

A robust understanding of coastal hazards such as inundation and beach erosion is of vital importance to coastal communities. Rising sea levels and aging coastal protection infrastructure are likely to further increase the importance of coastal hazards in the future.

This project will involve a laboratory study of coastal hazards, and how these are affected by variations in sea level and the local wave climate. Novel experimental techniques will be applied to measure the waves and nearshore hydrodynamics.

Interest in fluid mechanics and hydraulics is essential for this project. Strong mathematical skills (and coding in Matlab) will be an advantage.

Hydraulics of a cascade drop shaft


Supervisors

Colin Whittaker

Heide Friedrich

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG053

Drop shafts are important installations in large waste water networks. Cascade drop shafts are currently incorporated into the Central Interceptor project in Auckland, with the objective of controlling air entrainment and providing a suitable energy dissipation mechanism for flows entering the central interceptor line. Several of the design relationships used to select the cascade drop shaft properties are based on empirical formulae and assumptions that may not be valid for all flow conditions.

This project will build on previous experimental work within the Hydraulic Engineering Laboratory to investigate the flow within a cascade drop shaft. The water and air flows within the model will be investigated, as will the energy losses within the system and the behaviour of the drop shaft under choking conditions. The findings of this project will inform the design of cascade drop shafts in the future, as well as contributing fundamental understanding of a challenging fluid dynamics problem.

Interest in fluid mechanics and hydraulics is essential for this project. 

Active fluid dynamics learning: Interactive experiments for enhanced understanding


Supervisor

Colin Whittaker

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG054

Fluid dynamics is an interesting and very visual subject, where learning can be enhanced through laboratory experiments. However, most teaching is still undertaken in a traditional lecture format. This engineering education research project will explore the possibilities for active learning of key threshold concepts within fluid mechanics in the Faculty of Engineering’s new multi-disciplinary learning spaces.

After identifying threshold concepts within basic fluid dynamics, the project will involve the design, construction and pilot study of different interactive experiments. Feedback from the pilot study will inform any modifications to the experiments. The end goal of this project is to roll out these experiments into future iterations of the CIVIL 230 course.

Interest in fluid mechanics and hydraulics is essential for this project. An enthusiasm for teaching will be an advantage. 

In-plane behaviour of retrofitted unreinforced masonry (URM) substructures using near surface mounted steel wire rope


Supervisor

Prof Jason M Ingham

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG055

No skills or pre-requisites are required.

Unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings suffer severe damage during large earthquakes due to their low capacity to resist tension.

Full scale unreinforced clay brick masonry (URM) frame substructures will be constructed and tested in-plane using pseudo-static cyclic loading. The substructures will be installed with different configuration of near surface mounted steel wire rope (NSM-SWR) to investigate the in-plane performance of the substructures with this retrofitting technique.

FRP-to-elastomer debonding analysis and characterization in a Fibre Reinforced Elastomeric base Isolator (FREI)


Supervisor

Prof Jason M Ingham

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG056

Base isolation bearings are installed below buildings to reduce the damage caused by seismic loading, with Steel Reinforced Elastomeric Isolators (SREI) being one of the most common systems. SREIs consists of thin sheets of rubber bonded to steel plates and are typically large, expensive and heavy. Fiber Reinforced Elastomeric Isolators (FREI) are produced by replacing the steel layer with bidirectional carbon fibre plates, which reduces the weight as well as the manufacturing costs. Previous studies have reported the superior vertical stiffness as well as effective damping that FREIs provide when compared to SREIs. However, no research is available on the FRP-to-elastomer adhesive strength and properties for designing a high vertical pressure C-FREI.

The research will consist of a material characterization stage, followed by the development of a Finite Element Method (FEM) model calibrated with the experimental results to perform a parametric analysis and an optimization process. High interest in the topic and experience in experimental work is a must, with experience in FEM modelling being a critical skill to possess.

FRP-to-FRP bond characterization and model development for FRP anchor design


Supervisor

Prof Jason M Ingham

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG057

Externally Bonded Fibre Reinforced Polymers (EBR-FRP) systems are a common method to strengthen existing reinforced concrete buildings. The main drawback of EBR-FRP systems is premature FRP-to-concrete debonding, which limits the potential of FRP materials to a fraction of the maximum strength. A way to overcome this problem is to use FRP anchors, which have been widely investigated during the last 5 to 7 years. The last main obstacle to develop a design procedure for FRP anchors is the characterization and understanding of the FRP-to-FRP bond behaviour.

An extensive experimental programme is necessary to investigate the influence of a wide range of adhesive properties and curing conditions on the final FRP-to-FRP bond behaviour. The programme will consist of small scale and easily repeatable testing with highly controlled curing conditions. High interest and motivation in the topic and in experimental work is a must. Experience with composite materials, adhesives and chemistry would be desired.

Performance of a novel timber connection device


Supervisor

Prof Pierre Quenneville

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG058

Testing of different device configurations and analysis of results.

Innovative membrane systems that efficiently produce clean water from effluent


Supervisor

A/Prof Naresh Singhal
Room 529.115A (2-6 Park Ave), ext. 84512

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG059

Current membrane systems require large energy input to produce high quality water. In this project we will build innovative membrane systems that use osmosis to produce high quality water at low energy.

Students wanting to pursue this project will have an interest in designing and building new devices and having a background in membrane filtration processes and chemical and microbiological analytical procedures.

Interested students are encouraged to contact me to discuss project details.

Innovative systems for recovering nutrients and salts from effluent


Supervisor

A/Prof Naresh Singhal
Room 529.115A (2-6 Park Ave), ext. 84512

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG060

Current systems (e.g., membrane filtration systems) can recover clean water from effluent. However, technologies for recovering the inorganic salts is a major challenge. In this project we will build innovative salt recovery electrochemical systems that can separate the individual salts.

Students wanting to pursue this project will have a background in ion exchange membranes and electrochemistry.

Interested students are encouraged to contact me to discuss project details.

How to get microbes to be more expressive – strategies for rapid enzyme production


Supervisor

A/Prof Naresh Singhal
Room 529.115A (2-6 Park Ave), ext. 84512

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG061

Microbial enzymes are used in a host of biotechnological applications. In the main pure strains of selected microorganisms, or genetically modified microbes, are used for enzyme production. Maintaining microbial purity is not feasible in natural and several industrial settings. In this project we will investigate universal strategies for promoting enzyme production by mixed microbial populations with the aim of directing specific transformations, such as the degradation of recalcitrant organic micropollutants in wastewater.

This project can benefit students with diverse backgrounds and interests, including microbiology, biotechnology, proteomics, metabolomics, genomics, intracellular metabolic modelling etc.

Interested students are encouraged to contact me to discuss project details.

Structural hybrid timber elements involving adhesively bonded connections


Supervisor

Dr Gary Raftery

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG072

This project will focus on the development of hybrid timber elements involving timber, concrete, secondary materials and adhesives for structural applications. The work will involve hands-on experimental testing and analysis. The student should have a keen interest in materials and structures and keen to develop their skills in these areas under expert guidance. Practical experience would be advantageous but not essential.

Dynamics of structures with transient separation between structural members


Supervisor

Nawawi Chouw
09 923 3512

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG111

The project will focus on the next-generation of low-damage seismic design by allowing partial and transient separations between structural members. These separations activate rigid-body like movements and thus cause less deformations of structural members. Consequently, damage to structures in earthquakes can be avoided.

Solid knowledge in structural dynamics is required.

Dynamic fluid-tank-soil interaction under earthquake loadings


Supervisor

Nawawi Chouw
09 923 3512

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG112

The current NZ tank design manual was based on the development for common structures without fluid-structure interaction.

The research will focus on the effect of soft soil, a correct incorporation of the properties of ground excitations and soil-footing-tank-liquid systems.

Solid knowledge in structural dynamics is required.

Smart Seismic Cities – building database


Supervisor

Ken Elwood
Liam Wotherspoon

Discipline

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Project code: ENG118

Work with QuakeCoRE researchers to develop a tool for rapid post-earthquake assessment of the city of Wellington.  Students will help develop and validate a database of tall buildings in Wellington. Database will be capable of creating simple building models to estimate the performance of the building inventory after an earthquake, a key input for pre-event planning and post-event response.

Students will be connected with other summer students working on earthquake related projects at QuakeCoRE partners.

Prefer after 3rd year, but after 2nd year acceptable.