Civil and Environmental Engineering

Plastic behaviour of concrete columns strengthened with carbon FRP materials

Supervisor

Enrique del Rey Castillo

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG005

Strengthening existing buildings with carbon Externally Bonded Fiber Reinforced Polymer (EBR-FRP) systems is a widely used technique, but has several disadvantages. Premature FRP-to-concrete debonding is the main disadvantage observed in EBR-FRP systems, with the implementation of FRP anchors in the system being one of the commonly used solutions. Previous research has demonstrated the possibility to design the moment capacity of concrete columns strengthened with EBR-FRP systems and FRP anchors, but no current method exists to design the drift capacity of such columns, especially with regard to plastic drift.

Torsional response of prestressed concrete hollow core floor units

Supervisor

Enrique del Rey Castillo

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG006

Prestressed concrete hollow core floor units are favoured in New Zealand due to the ease and speed of construction, which results in an economic solution. But the earthquakes that have hit New Zealand in the last 8-9 years have shown that this type of construction system is particularly vulnerable to seismic actions. As part of a nation-wide and government-funded project, this summer research experimental project will investigate the torsional response of hollow core units, which is poorly understood. The results from this project, in addition to being disseminated through conferences and/or journal papers, will feed into a computer model aimed at replicating the overall behaviour of the whole floor. The quality of the results and the instrumentation is therefore paramount.

Seismic evaluation of shot fired anchors

Supervisor

Enrique del Rey Castillo

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG007

The use of shot fired anchors for post-installing non-structural elements have increased significantly in the last few years. These anchors present a number of advantages when compared to more traditional anchors, mainly the ease and speed of installation. There is however little literature available regarding the performance of this type of anchors, especially in seismic environments. This experimental programme will be undertaken in collaboration with suppliers and engineers and aims at 1) analysing the seismic behaviour of these anchors and 2) providing design guidance to engineers.

AI Modelling

Supervisor

Naresh Singhal, Partha Roop, Richard Clarke

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG008

The deterioration in the state of New Zealand’s waterways is well documented. While responsibility for the decline has been relegated to dairy farming practices, attempts to reverse this trend have so far failed. The reasons for the failure result from a lack of transparency in the benefits of mitigation measures being undertaken due to a lack of appropriate tools. This deficiency means that decisions of the amount of investment, where to target it, how to validate the findings, and bringing transparency to these efforts to promote engagement with the various stakeholders etc. are poorly coordinated. To fill this void, we propose to develop an intelligent decision support framework to enable better decision making using incomplete and uncertain information of water quality measures. Our aim is to combine cellular automata modelling of large scale phenomena with mechanistic models for small scale phenomena to produce a hybrid model that would make rapid but accurate predictions of water quality of from the micro- (first order streams) to macro-scale (entire river networks). We have previously developed a network optimisation approach, which can be integrated in the model to identify the best locations to target for treatment. This multi-disciplinary project will suit students interested in numerical modelling of environmental phenomena. Expertise in programming languages such as matlab, python or openfoam is essential.

High fly ash content in concrete structures

Supervisor

Enrique del Rey Castillo

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG009

The inconsistency of the materials used to manufacture fly ash in New Zealand compromises the reliability of concrete structures. An effort is needed to characterize the range of fly ashes being used in the country. The project will be undertaken in collaboration with the University of Canterbury, whose concrete technology facilities and scholars are of the highest standards.

Structural analysis and design of multi-storey CFS-framed building with seismic damage-resistant system: desktop study and initial modelling

Supervisor

Charles Clifton, James Lim

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG021

In collaboration with industry, the objective of this research is to demonstrate compliance of a new proprietary seismic damage-resistant system with Clause B1 of NZBC for multi-storey cold-formed steel (CFS) framed buildings and develop and publish corresponding design and analysis guidelines to aid design engineers in practice. This project involves the following: 1. Undertake a desktop study of the PhD thesis by Dr John Jing with the title: Seismic Damage-Resistant System for Modular Steel Structures to gain an in-depth understanding of how the seismic damage-resistant system (SDRS) developed by Dr John Jing works in multi-storey cold-formed steel framed buildings constructed using prefabricated modules (volumetric), panels and/or CFS frames only; 2. Complete a desktop literature review of research papers, books, technical reports, industry guidelines, property files (selected existing buildings), codes and standards (including Clause B1 of NZBC, NASH standard Parts 1 and 2 and AS/NZS 4600: 2005) on CFS construction to establish typical design and construction methodologies, details and practices of multi-storey CFS-framed buildings in both NZ and other countries; 3. Complete a preliminary structural design of a new multi-storey building in Auckland using CFS frames (the project to be provided by Dr John Jing); 4. Carry out 3-D finite element modelling using the commercial software package, SAP2000 based on the preliminary design completed from 3 above; and 5. Together with Parts 2 and 3 students, prepare and publish a technical report with the conclusions and recommended design and analysis procedures through industry bodies such as HERA/NASH.

Quantifying changes to river beds: a laboratory study of flow dynamics and sand transport

Supervisor

Heide Friedrich

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG022

My research group (water.auckland.ac.nz) is studying bedform dynamics, such as ripples and dunes. Understanding the processes that form those patterns is important for flood management.
An understanding of river flooding and erosion is of vital importance to managing river systems and catchments. There is a need for more detailed measurements of erosion and sedimentation processes to calibrate numerical models used to predict changes to rivers as a result of climate change. This project will involve a laboratory study of flow dynamics and sand transport in a flume. Novel experimental techniques based on imagery are used to obtain detailed measurements of erosion and deposition on river beds.

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

Student background: This project would be suited to BEng or BSc students with fluids or geomorphology background, who have an interest in patterns, rivers and hydraulics. You’ll be part of a research team that values diversity and creativity (http://water.auckland.ac.nz/).

Development of a Graphical User Interface for modelling of seismic site response

Supervisor

Liam Wotherspoon

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG023

Seismic site response focuses on assessing the effect of the near-surface soil profile on the shaking characteristics at the ground surface. These characteristics can be used as input into seismic design of buildings and other infrastructure, with site-specific studies of this kind now more commonplace. This project aims to (1) develop a Graphical User Interface (GUI) using the Octave software (open source software similar to Matlab) to carry out site response analysis; (2) investigate the influence of a range of soil profile and earthquake record characteristics on ground surface shaking characteristics.

Skills: General coding, Matlab coding, interest in earthquake or geotechnical engineering

Benefits of exposure to traditional Māori architecture/buildings in understanding basic structural engineering concepts

Supervisor

James Lim, Tumanako Faaui

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG024

This research will consider the structural engineering content of Year 2 Civil Engineering, with a view to developing digital content that explains basic structural engineering concepts in the context of traditional Maori buildings. It is anticipated that having real life examples may improve understanding of the basic concepts.

Delivery could be in the form of:
http://q.xorro.com/jlim/p20735
(username JLIM)

Ideally would require a Māori student or student with understanding of tikanga and te ao Māori. Opportunities to laserscan traditional buildings as part of the digital content exist, for if the summer scholar wishes to explore in this direction.

Fire behaviour of cold-formed steel structures

Supervisor

James Lim

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG025

Cold-formed steel structures (often used for warehouses / supermarkets etc) can be susceptible to fire collapse. To this end, two cold-formed steel buildings have been tested in fire, one a portal frame and the other a truss portal. The link below describes the fire tests on the portal frame: https://www.icevirtuallibrary.com/doi/10.1680/stbu.14.00082

This project would involve analysing the data of the truss portal with a view to providing recommendations to the engineering community of their design.

Adhesives in Timber Engineering

Supervisor

Gary Raftery

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG026

There is at present considerable interest worldwide in the increased usage of wood and engineered wood products in construction. There is at present a lack of documented technical data in relation to the durability performance of bonded laminated timber in wet environments with fast growing species. The objective of this study is to help address this knowledge void. Delamination, compression shear and fracture energy testing will be conducted in this research.

Skills required: Good practical skills for experimental work. Attention to safety awareness. Knowledge of material behaviour. Competent in computer analysis and data processing. Good communication skills required.

Structural testing procedures and datasets

Supervisor

Rick Henry

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG027

This project will support QuakeCoRE Technology Platform 1- large-scale laboratories (http://www.quakecore.nz).

This will include assisting with large-scale structure tests, developing procedures to collect and archive experimental data, collating and archiving historical datasets, and creating lab skills videos.

Enthusiasm for physical testing and lab work is essential. Candidates with software coding or video editing skills would also be suitable.

Pre-treatment strategies for reticulated wastewater

Supervisor

Tūmanako Fa’aui

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG028

Many rural communities rely on decentralised or on-site methods of wastewater storage, treatment, and effluent disposal. Whilst viable in most situations, these systems can be problematic for Māori communities, especially marae, when there are failures or complications in the operation of these wastewater systems – due to the cultural implications around water and human waste.

This project will investigate potential options to mitigate negative effects of on-site treatment, including pre-treatment and alternative on-site treatment methods.

Project would ideally require a Māori student or student with understanding of tikanga and te ao Māori.

Uplift forces on timber decks due to wave impacts

Supervisor

Colin Whittaker

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG029

Due to climate change many wharfs and boardwalks around Auckland are increasingly inundated during extreme events. When these structures are inundated considerable forces can be applied to the decking timber. Currently there is no method of quantifying the uplift forces on the decking timber. Therefore, it is hard to appropriately size fixings.

This project will involve a series of wave flume experiments to quantify the uplift forces exerted by waves on different deck structures. Time permitting, other coastal hazards such as overtopping and runup on natural beaches and dune systems may also be investigated.

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

Testing the elevator analogy: Visualisation of wave impacts on a seawall

Supervisor

Colin Whittaker

Faculty of Engineering

Project code: ENG030

Recent research has demonstrated that wave loadings on a vertical wall may be approximated by modifying a hydrostatic calculation to account for the vertical acceleration of the fluid (the ‘elevator’ analogy). However, experimental and numerical data of the fluid motion in the vicinity of the wall are not currently available.

This project (a collaboration with researchers from the Department of Engineering Science) will involve a series of flow visualisation experiments in a small wave flume wave flume experiments to quantify the fluid velocity and acceleration at the wall, as well as the horizontal force exerted on the wall. These results will demonstrate the applicability of the elevator analogy as a simple design tool for coastal structures. Extensions to overtopping scenarios and other geometries may be included.

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