School of Computing and Engineering

Sustainable Materials, Structures and Systems

Sustainable Materials, Structures and Systems Research Group

Construction activities use much of the Earth's non-renewable resources and create waste. The Sustainable Materials, Structures and Systems Research Group aims to develop high quality research to find ways of reducing the impact of construction related activities. 

The Group’s research covers a wide range of applications and underpins our undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the Built Environment.  Areas covered include Civil, Structural, and Highway Engineering, Sustainable Materials, Structural Modelling, Analysis, Design and Experimental investigations; Structures and Geotechnics; Environmental Engineering and Management; Sustainable Urban Infrastructure; Architectural Technology and Construction Management.

The Research Group hosts PhD students in a friendly and active research culture studying a variety of issues in the sustainable Built Environment. This provides the basis for academics in the school to pursue research funding, develop research projects, and build strong links and collaborate with industry partners.

The Group has established connections with the construction industry and benefits from highly qualified researchers, including professionally qualified chartered Civil, Structural and Highway Engineers as well as chartered Builders.

Current research themes with areas of Interests:

1. Sustainable Materials, Structures and Geotechnics

  • Sustainable construction materials.
  • Optimisation of thermal properties of glass aggregate concrete using finite element analysis.
  • Volume stability and strength development of concrete made with recycled glass aggregates.
  • Structural behaviour of high strength concrete in adverse conditions.
  • Design, modelling and testing of structures including assessment methods in reinforced concrete, steel, timber, masonry and their composites.
  • Reciprocally supported elements (RSE) space structures structural behaviour including structural morphology, configuration processing optimisation techniques, numerical modelling, bolted joint stiffness parametric investigation using finite element analysis and experimental investigations.
  • Masonry arches and vaults, modelling, rehabilitation and strengthening methods.
  • Behaviour and applications of cross-laminated timber in building structures using global and finite element analysis.
  • Earthquake and dynamic load resistance of structures including analysis of shear cores using interlocking panels using finite element analysis.
  • Vibration and excitation of structural systems.
  • Behaviour of concrete ground supported slabs.
  • Permanent and temporary support to excavated slopes using soil nails.

2. Civil and Environmental Infrastructure Engineering

  • Impact of Smart Technologies on the Improvement of Sustainability Based Performance in Urban Water Systems.
  • Improvement of Water Food Energy Nexus at Urban Systems.
  • Sustainability and Resilience-based Performance Assessment of Urban Water Infrastructure.
  • Intelligent monitoring and Flood Prediction for Real Time Control of Combined Sewer Systems with Rainfall Radar Data.
  • Planning of Urban Water Systems for Climate Change Adaption using Metabolism based Modelling.
  • Sustainable urban infrastructure.
  • Water scarcity, virtual water trade and sustainability

3. Built Environment Design and Construction

  • Applications of sustainable building design with Building Information Modelling (BIM) in the design, construction and planning process.
  • Building sustainability assessment methods:
    • Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM)
    • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
    • Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP)
  • Extending the useful life of structures.
  • 3D virtual reality visualisation in structural and architectural design.
  • Sustainable urban development.
  • Fostering engagement between construction companies and Higher Education Institutions.
  • Drivers and Motivators in University-Industry interactions.
  • Use of work-shadowing in the development of practical Built Environment Skills.
  • Renewable energy and its applications in the Built Environment.

PhD research projects and topics sample that have been or are currently being carried out:

  • Structural behaviour of honeycomb domes composed of reciprocally supported elements.
  • Improving sustainable design with BIM.
  • Critical selection criteria in the construction planning process.
  • Using BIM technology to promote the teaching of building technology.
  • An evaluation of environmental assessment methods.
  • Study and development of the decision supporting system for urban planning.

Staff in the Sustainable Materials, Structures and Systems Research Group:

The Research Group is always looking for talented postgraduate research students. For more information on any of the above, other research areas of interest, details on funding and PhD application procedures, please contact:

Professor Joe Rizzuto
Tel: 020 8231 2638
Email: j.rizzuto@uwl.ac.uk