Research Opportunities in Structural Engineering
& Construction Management
in Structural Engineering has contributed significantly to the Department's
research efforts and research profile. It encompasses the traditional
research areas associated with Structural Engineering, as well as more
recent developments in advanced materials, structural form, and numerical
modelling. In support of these research activities, the Department maintains
a Heavy Structures Laboratory, Newcastle University's Rolling Load Facility
(NUROLF) and Materials Laboratories.
Research within the Structural Engineering Group is co-ordinated
through the SEAM Research Unit.
The Department of Civil Engineering at Newcastle University
has been awarded a Grade 5 resaerch rating in the last UK national Research
Assessment Exercise (RAE 2001). The award of this high rating reflects
the international excellence of the research programmes offered within
Brief generic descriptions of research themes suitable for
postgraduate study (PhD & MPhil research degrees) within the Structural
Engineering Group are given below. More specific research topics under
these themes are described on the web pages of the academic responsible.
For further information on research matters in Structural
Engineering & Construction Management, contact Dr.
P.D. Gosling, Postgraduate Tutor, using this proforma,
or by Tel: +44 (0)191 222 6422, Fax: +44 (0)191 222 6502.
Full Scale Behaviour of Innovative Structural
The research is based upon seeking a better understanding of full scale
structural engineering solutions in which innovative materials are used
in new applications. The specific embodiments of the research range from
pavement surfacing materials through to lightweight steel decking systems
for aircraft arrestor systems. The unifying theme is to develop
an understanding of the structural system in which the behaviour is not
yet sufficiently well defined to permit mathematical modelling. The result
of the research is, in each situation, a methodology which can be used
by practicing engineers in their day to day professional design work.
It is planned to remain at the forefront of research aimed at bridging
the interface between practicing engineers and academic researchers. The
projects are informed by selected previous and current consulting work
undertaken within the Group, and, as such, are opportunity led.
Further information: Professor
Construction Process Re-Engineering
The construction management research in the Group involves studying parts
of the construction process with a view to recommending improvements,
which in some instances will involve an increased use of I.T.. Areas of
Delay claims on construction contracts
- because of the complexity of the construction process, most forms of
contract will provide an opportunity for the time for completion to be
extended under certain circumstances. These circumstances will arise when
a delay, for which the employer takes no responsibility, can be proved
to have delayed the whole project. The mechanism for providing the necessary
proof is not well established or recognised in the U.K.. The work in this
area has been trying to understand how U.K. engineers are dealing with
Record-keeping on construction contracts
- one of the major problems of dealing with delay claims is that the records
detailing exactly what happened during the construction process are rarely
available in an accessible and comprehensive form. The prime source for
progress information is in the site diaries. Research carried out within
the Group has found these diaries to be wanting in many respects. A recommendation
that stemmed from this work was to make use of hand held computers to
allow a computer-searchable record to be produced which can be displayed
using "Organiser" software.
Feedback from construction to design -
most of the major government reports on the construction industry over
the last 50 years have recognised that a substantial failing of the industry
lies in its separation of the construction and design process. This, it
is argued, leads to designs which are difficult or expensive to build,
because the designers do not have the constrcution know-how. Despite the
repeated identification of this problem, little has been done to improve
this situation. The work carried out in this area involves development
of a methodology to aid the the essential feedback which will allow designers
to gain an understanding of how their previous designs failed to live
up to expectations.
Further information: Dr.
Condition-monitoring of Structures and Identification
and Evaluation of Defects Using Non-destructive Testing
Research in this area has developed over recent years from earlier work
incorporating defect location within cast insitu concrete piles using
dynamic techniques. Two S.E.R.C. (now E.P.S.R.C.) research grants were
awarded to support this work, which has now broadened to include collaborative
studied of condition monitoring of railway track and vehicles with Tyne
& Wear Metro. These concepts are being developed to include methods
of investigating old rubble-filled masonry walss (in collaboration with
Patrick Parsons Ltd., Newcastle).
Recent research activities have included investigations into the performance
and durability of rammed earth (laterite) walls for use in developing
countries. Further work on this theme is planned within a current O.D.A.
funded research project to examine the performance of roofing elements
made from materials indigenous to a developing country (Zimbabwe).
Further information: Dr.
Development & Application of Finite Element and
Optimization Techniques for Problems in Structural Mechanics
1. Shape otimization for constrained geometrically nonlinear structures;
2. Optimzation of geometrically & materially nonlinear structures;
3. Effective solution algorithms for the analysis and optimization
of geometrically nonlinear structures;
4. Adaptive meshing and domain decomposition techniques and their
application to large
structural optimization problems.
5. Finite element formulations for membrane, pneumatic and cable
6. Structural morphology.
Further information: Dr.
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