Innovative and smart structures Faculty of Engineering & Science

Extending the useful life of structures

Our research into innovative and smart structures centres on the safety and serviceability issues surrounding aging and deteriorating infrastructure, an area of increasing challenge to engineers and asset managers. We have developed advanced, risk-based decision-making tools to meet this challenge. We also specialise in researching corrosion-affected concrete infrastructure, a global problem that contributes to the premature failures of structures. Worldwide, the maintenance cost for corrosion-affected concrete infrastructure is around $100 billion a year; in the UK it is around £800 million for bridges alone. 

The main focus of this investigation is on the structural integrity and maintenance of bridge and tunnel structures, as well as on the numerical modelling and analysis of ancient monuments and buildings. Our research interests and expertise span a wide range of disciplines including sustainable construction materials, applications of non-destructive testing methods in structural assessment, maintenance and integrity, concrete technology, structural reliability and flood control and environmental engineering. 

We enjoy access to state-of-the-art equipment and research infrastructure equipment, access to specialist software and technical support. The unique structural and material testing facilities enable us to engage with research and consultancy work on a grand scale. The slab structure rig is capable of manufacturing and testing ground supported slabs of 12.00 x 7.00 m dimensions supported by a hydraulics digital loading mechanism of up to 800 tonnes. We also have state-of-the-art equipment in the field of non-destructive testing methods including a full ground penetrating radar antenna system ranging from 200 MHz to 2 GHz, a state-of-the-art 3D laser scanner, accelerometer sensors, a wireless network sensor system as well as access to a radar based structural vibration sensor system with interferometric capabilities (IBIS-S system) and a 3D photogrammetric scanner.


Topics covered by this research theme include (but are not limited to):

  • Monitoring and sensors
  • Smart structures
  • Modelling and prediction of structural behaviour and integrity
  • Self-healing
  • Failure modes
  • Coastal and flood defences
  • Innovative materials in construction
  • Earthquake and dynamic load resistance
  • Corrosion
  • Structural integrity and reliability
  • Infrastructure performance and management

Members of staff