Dr Tatheer Zahra
Faculty of Engineering,
School of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Tatheer Zahra is a Lecturer in Structural Engineering at Queensland University of Technology with a vision to promote innovative engineering materials in construction. Masonry and Auxetic materials are her two main research interest areas.
Tatheer has six years of research experience in structural masonry. She has been investigating the performance of interlocking mortarless masonry under various loading conditions in comparison to the conventional mortared masonry. Her experimental and numerical studies have shown that this masonry type has potential as an environmentally friendly construction materials with less wastage and quicker construction time. She is a member of Standards Australia BD-004-19 Committee to outline the design guidelines for this type of masonry. Her research is not limited to mortarless masonry and she is also assessing the response of reinforced masonry under various loadings. She was part of the research team to investigate the behaviour of reinforced masonry under compression that resulted in a major change in the design guidelines of reinforced masonry in the Australian Masonry Standards (AS3700). She also developed new genre auxetic materials and mortar based auxetic composites to provide protection and enhance the performance of masonry and concrete structures under impact and various other load conditions.
She teaches civil engineering materials and design of concrete and masonry structures to the undergraduates at QUT. She also has four years of professional experience in the areas of prestressed concrete design, steel suspension bridges and concrete building design.
Published 25 scholarly publications, including book chapter, journal and conference papers.
Received $95,000 from research assistance and industry partners to assess the serviceability of 100+ years old masonry arch bridges, mortarless masonry testing, mix design of coral concrete and auxetic composites development.
Supervising two doctoral candidates.
Research areas: Within the broad field of structural engineering research, Tatheer has focused on the following areas:
- Mortarless masonry behaviour subject to various loading
- Assessment of ancient masonry arch bridges
- Reinforced masonry and concrete shear walls
- Auxetic materials and composites and their application to masonry
Her research entails experimental tests, field investigations, computer modelling and simulations.
Faculty of Engineering,
School of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Structural Analysis, Masonry, Concrete, Auxetics, Finite Element Analysis, Structural assessment, Impact analysis, Seismic Analysis
Civil Engineering, Materials Engineering
Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008
- PhD (Queensland University of Technology)
Professional memberships and associations
- Member – Engineers Australia
- Member – Pakistan Engineering Council
- Civil Engineering Materials
- Concrete Structures
- Mechanics of Materials
- Structural Analysis
- Masonry Structures
- 2014 – present: Academic and Researcher, QUT. Currently, Lecturer in Structural Engineering, Science and Engineering Faculty
- 2012 – 2014: Assistant Professor, NED University of Engineering and Technology, Pakistan
- 2007 – 2011: Lecturer, Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology, Pakistan
- 2000 – 2004: Design Engineer, AA Associates - Engineering Consultants and Planners, Pakistan
Selected list of projects undertaken
Tatheer's research outcomes are of immediate relevance to masonry industry and she is collaborating with industry to promote mortarless masonry, reinforced masonry for better earthquake resistance and for assessing safety of ancient masonry arch bridges. In Pakistan, she investigated the seismic behaviour of RC buildings, condition assessment of concrete buildings and performance of different cements in marine environment.
A selected list of projects undertaken include:
Performance of reinforced masonry and concrete shear walls
- Experimental testing of shear walls for different reinforcement arrangements.
- Finite element analysis of shear walls to validate the experimental results.
- Numerical study for the effects of slenderness, concrete strength and reinforcement arrangements on the behaviour of shear walls.
- This study is to verify the recent changes in AS3600-2018 and AS3700-2018 in the ductility, reinforcement contribution and allowable slenderness of concrete and masonry shear walls.
Analysis of mortarless masonry for possible masonry design code revision
- Finite element analysis of Auxetic rendered mortarless masonry under concentric and eccentric compression.
- Proposed experimental testing to investigate the shear behaviour of mortarless masonry.
- Proposed development of design equations for mortarless masonry to include in the design standards.
Serviceability assessment of masonry arch railway bridges for Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC)
- Monitoring of 100+ years old masonry railway arch bridges in Sydney using digital image correlation and flat jack testing technique for the serviceability assessment.
- Measurement of damage, displacements, strains and stresses under moving train loads using digital image correlation (DIC), flat jack tests and core tests.
- Determination of safety based on the measured data.
Strategies to improve the response of drystack (mortarless) masonry to compression
- Investigation on the contact surface properties of the drystack interlocking blocks sing matrix based tactile sensors and digital image correlation method.
- Proposed suitable mitigation strategies through systematic experimental and numerical studies so that this masonry type could be constructed with ease and used as a structural system.
- New genre Auxetic materials were used in the study for mitigating the surface unevenness and new mortar-auxetic renders were developed for drystack masonry to resist the water ingress, eccentric compression and out-of-plane loads.
Manufacturing and characterisation of auxetic foams and composites
- Developed auxetic foams and auxetic mortar composites in lab.
- Characterised under compression, tension and bending.
- Studied application in masonry and other structures as protective renders.
- Zahra T, Thamboo J, Asad M, (2021) Compressive strength and deformation characteristics of concrete block masonry made with different mortars, blocks and mortar beddings types, Journal of Building Engineering, 38 () p
- Asad M, Zahra T, Thambiratnam D, Chan T, Zhuge Y, (2021) Assessing vibration induced damage in unreinforced masonry walls subject to vehicular impact – A numerical study, Engineering Structures, 245 () p
- Dorji J, Zahra T, Thambiratnam D, Lee D, (2021) Strength assessment of old masonry arch bridges through moderate destructive testing methods, Construction and Building Materials, 278 () p
- Thamboo J, Zahra T, Dhanasekar R, (2020) Development of design methodology for mortarless masonry system: Case study – a resettlement housing colony, Journal of Building Engineering, 27 () p1
- Asad M, Dhanasekar M, Zahra T, Thambiratnam D, (2020) Failure analysis of masonry walls subjected to low velocity impacts, Engineering Failure Analysis, 116 () p
- Asad M, Dhanasekar M, Zahra T, Thambiratnam D, (2019) Characterisation of polymer cement mortar composites containing carbon fibre or auxetic fabric overlays and inserts under flexure, Construction and Building Materials, 224 () p863
- Zahra T, Dhanasekar M, (2018) Characterisation and strategies for mitigation of the contact surface unevenness in dry-stack masonry, Construction and Building Materials, 169 () p612
- Zahra T, Dhanasekar M, (2017) Characterisation of cementitious polymer mortar - Auxetic foam composites, Construction and Building Materials, 147 () p143
- Zahra T, Dhanasekar M, (2016) A generalised damage model for masonry under compression, International Journal of Damage Mechanics, 25 (5) p629
- Zahra T, Dhanasekar M, (2016) Prediction of masonry compressive behaviour using a damage mechanics inspired modelling method, Construction and Building Materials, 109 () p128