Fire performance of low carbon reinforced concrete with non-metallic reinforcement

About this project

Project description

Low carbon concrete structures, comprising recycled or sustainable aggregates and non-metallic reinforcement are of increasing importance in both Australia and India. Such concrete mixes comprise aggregates or additives and binding materials take advantage of locally available natural or waste materials. They are therefore of significant relevance for rural and regional communities in India and Australia. At a member level they also can include reinforcement comprised of natural fibres such as rope, timber or bamboo, and thus represent a significant potential avenue for communities to meet their decarbonisation and sustainability objectives.

Despite this there is limited guidance for the use of these materials; and limited research into their performance under extreme loading, including under earthquake and fire, and degradation of performance over their lifecycle. This represents a significant research gap in both India and Australia.

This project will explore this research gap through the following activities:

1. Response of sustainable and recycled aggregates and additives to the concrete mix to heating, including thermal degradation and their impact on the material properties of concrete.
2. Development of heat transfer models of low carbon concrete accounting for the degradation and material properties as determined in (1).
3. Development of thermo-mechanical models to study the performance in fire of members comprised of low carbon concrete structures, and validation against experimental data to be generated during this project.
4. Experimental and numerical study of the performance of structures comprised of these members under earthquake loading.
5. Integration of Tasks 3 and 4 into a multi-hazard design methodology for low carbon concrete structures with non-metallic reinforcement.

Tasks 1 to 3 will be undertaken using the facilities of the fire safety engineering laboratory at UQ, Task 4 will be undertaken using the facilities of the Multi-hazard protective structures laboratory at IIT Delhi.


Project deliverables include:

– Fundamental understanding of the effect of heating on additives used in low carbon concrete mixes
– Development of validated models of the response of low carbon concrete structures with
non-metallic reinforcement when exposed to high temperature
– Development of validated models of low carbon concrete structures with non-metallic reinforcement when exposed to earthquake
– A design methodology for these structures considering their performance and degradation over their lifecycle and when exposed to independent multi-hazard events.

Project outcomes include:

– Delivery of a next generation climate friendly construction material for the Indian and Australian markets.
– Enhanced ability of Australia and India to contribute to the successful achievement of the global energy transition and decarbonisation efforts.
– Facilitation of the safe and consistent delivery of low carbon structures in different markets.
– Contribution to standardisation and construction guidance.
– Potential commercialisation opportunities based on the research methodology which may allow for the optimisation of low carbon concrete structures accounting for the fundamental response of different additives and their overall contribution to performance.

Information for applicants

Essential capabilities

Structural engineering, laboratory experience, analytical and numerical methods of analysis, programming

Desireable capabilities

Fire engineering, earthquake engineering

Expected qualifications (Course/Degrees etc.)

Masters degree in structural engineering, civil engineering, earthquake or fire safety engineering

Project supervisors

Principal supervisors

UQ Supervisor

Associate professor David Lange

School of Civil Engineering
IITD Supervisor

Professor Vasant Matsagar

Department of Civil Engineering