Center for Built Environment Research
School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering

Intelligent Infrastructure

PhD Projects offered under Intelligent Infrastructure


INS1: Next Generation Bridge Structural Health Monitoring

Supervisors: David Hester and David Cleland

Funding Possibility: DEL Formula Studentship


The failure or sudden closure of a bridge can cause transport chaos, e.g. Hammersmith flyover, and M1 bridge fire caused massive disruption in 2012.  The transport networks of the future must be robust against these kinds of shock events. Therefore the aim of this project is to develop condition monitoring techniques that will alleviate the impact of such events. The project will focus on identifying the condition of the bridge by monitoring its response to external factors, for example vehicle load, wind load etc. The work will involve studying the kind of damage that commonly occurs in bridges, advanced numerical modelling to simulate Vehicle-Bridge Interaction, collaboration with signal processors, leading to the development of new methods of damage detection.


INS2: Performance based specification strategy for the service life design of concrete structures

Supervisors: Prof PAM Basheer, Dr S Nanukuttan and Prof A Mufti

Funding Possibility: DEL Formula Studentship


In the EU, it is estimated that more than 50% of the infrastructure budget will be spent on repair and rehabilitation of the structures. This is mainly because structures are still designed for a specified compressive strength and durability in terms of minimum cement content and maximum water-cement ratio. Through numerous research projects at Queen's, including a recently finished EPSRC project, it has been possible to demonstrate the benefits of combining intermittent testing with the use of embedded sensors to specify the durability and predict the service life of concrete infrastructure. The proposed project will develop this concept further so that the current durability designs could be modified.


INS3: Climate effect on historic stone masonry structures

Supervisors: Prof PAM Basheer, Prof A Mufti and Dr P Warke (GAP)

Funding Possibility: DEL Formula Studentship


Stone masonry structures form a significant part of the cultural heritage of most countries and it is clear that they deteriorate with time due to the interaction of the stone with the exposure environment. In a number of field studies it has been demonstrated that both atmospheric pollution and wetting and drying cycles are responsible for the deterioration of the stone masonry structures. With the use of specially developed sensors and field monitoring devices, it has been possible to characterise both the micro and macro environments around stones and relate them to the deterioration. In this project, numerous historic structures will be monitored and data used to develop models of their deterioration, with the aim of developing a maintenance strategy for these structures.


INS4: Shear behaviour and monitoring of FRP reinforced concrete beams

Supervisors: Prof. JF Chen, Prof. David Cleland and Dr Su Taylor

Funding Possibility: DEL Formula Studentship

Normal steel reinforced concrete structures can have a very short life span (as short as a few months) when used in some harsh environments such as off-shore or factories where acid fume is present. Advanced fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composite bars can be used as internal reinforcing bars to replace steel because FRP bars usually have excellent durability. One significant challenge is to understand the shear behaviour of FRP reinforced concrete structures: the shear behaviour of plain concrete beams remains to be fully understood but the addition of brittle FRP bars as shear and flexural reinforcements makes it much more complex. This project aims to develop a deep understanding on the shear behaviour of FRP reinforced concrete beams, leading to the development of a set of rational design recommendations. The research will be undertaken mainly through advanced finite element (FE) simulation, but a number of BFRP reinforced beams will be tested to validate the FE models. Fibre optics sensors and other measurement techniques will be used to monitor the behaviour of the test specimens. The project is suitable for candidates with background in Civil Engineering.