Winners of 2019 Undergraduate Research Grants
Date published

19 July 2019

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Winners of 2019 Undergraduate Research Grants

Date published

19 July 2019

Congratulations to the winners of our 2019 grants.

Six submissions were awarded grants in 2019:

Mithila Achintha of University of Southampton - High strength, thin and flexible glass: towards next generation of glass structures

Owing to high strength, geometric flexibility and light weight compared to basic annealed glass, thermally/ chemically-strengthened (T/C-S) glass has potential for applications in load-bearing structures. The surface compressive prestresses introduced into strengthened glass means thin glass can be used to resist structural design loads. However, low flexural/axial stiffness of thin glass means the designs will be largely governed by the deflection limitations rather than the strength of the material.

The aims of this project are:

  1. to characterise the mechanical properties of T/C-S glass
  2. to develop methods that can be used to enhance axial/flexural stiffness of thin T/C-S glass structural members so that that T/C-S glass can be used in structurally efficient ways


Ana Blanco Alvarez of Loughborough University - Development of sprayable self-healing engineered cementitious composites (ECC) for structural repair

The aim of the research is to develop sprayable self-healing ECC for structural repair. The obejctives are:

  1. to conduct a literature review on self-healing agents that can be sprayed (e.g. non-encapsulated vs. encapsulated, chemical vs. biological) and suitable mix designs
  2. to produce self-healing ECC mixes and characterise the fresh-state properties, which must be compatible with spraying
  3. to cast and pre-crack specimens with the selected mixes and test them for mechanical recovery (after the healing) and durability
  4. to provide a thorough discussion and critical analysis of results, and formulate recommendations for research and practice


David Trujillo of Coventry University - Development of bamboo-timber hybrid beams

Preliminary work undertaken at Coventry University has demonstrated the viability of creating hybrid beams consisting of low-grade softwood timber and densified bamboo strips, however, due to limitations to the production methods of the densified bamboo, these are currently limited to 1m lengths.

The aims of this project are: 

  1. to assess the reliability of the proposed design methodologies for the product (effective stiffness analysis)
  2. to experimentally determine an optimal splicing method for the densified bamboo strips
  3. to build and test hybrid beams of 2m length, making use of the splicing method developed


Edward M. Segal of Hofstra University - Development of a methodology for constructing shell structures using suspended formwork

Shell structures can utilize minimal amounts of material while spanning long distances. However, construction of these structures can be complicated and expensive. Utilization of inflatable formwork is one economical method for constructing shells, but the forms that have been developed using this technique have been limited.

This project’s aim is:

  1. to develop a method for suspending formwork that can be used to construct shell structures of a wide range of forms. By suspending the formwork rather than supporting it from below, it is possible that less material and less effort could be required during construction of shell structures


Martin Walker of Oxford University - Buckling of textured cylindrical shells

The capacity of cold-formed structures is often governed by local buckling. As the thickness is decreased, imperfections become increasingly important, reducing the buckling capacity of cylindrical shells to as little as 20% of the theoretically predicted value. In order to use thinner sections and less material, this effect must be addressed.

Imposing a network of shallow creases does not significantly affect the global shape. However, it can influence the buckling mode and may reduce the effect of imperfections.

This project's aims is

  1. to investigate the use of this texturing to reduce imperfection sensitivity of cylindrical shells


Sam Adu-Amankwah of University of Leeds - Concrete for digital construction

The aim of the project is to formulate concrete mixes for digital construction. The approach to mix design will address issues pertaining to sustainability, rheology and ductility.

This will be achieved through the following objectives:

  1. to optimise concrete mix designs using particle parking models and the BRE method
  2. to evaluate sustainable cement technology to reduce carbon footprint of the concrete for digital construction
  3. to elucidate the potential of synthetic fibres to enhance ductility of concrete
  4. to determine the fundamental engineering properties of the newly designed concrete

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