Study level



Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Professor David Thambiratnam
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty

External supervisors

  • Adjunct Professor Nimal Perera


Our structures are normally not designed for random and extreme loadings such a vehicular impacts. Buildings and their columns at road frontages and bridge piers are vulnerable to vehicular impacts which result in extensive property damage, harm to people and disruption of normal lives.

This project will consider the use of new materials technology and advanced modelling techniques to design critical members of buildings and bridges, or to retrofit existing vulnerable walls and columns in order to mitigate the adverse effects of vehicular crashes.

The new impact horizontal testing machine (the only one of its kind in Australia and probably in the world) will be used in this research. The outcomes of this project will provide guidance for design of critical structural members that will minimise the chances of structural failure and result in significant socio-economic benefits to the community.

Research activities

In this project you can expect to do:

  • extensive study on new materials that can be used for impact mitigation
  • extensive computer modelling using the supercomputer and finite element packages
  • some experimental testing using the new horizontal impact testing machine
  • parametric study on effects of controlling parameters and development of design guidance.


The main aim of this project is to mitigate the adverse effects of vehicular crashes into our structures.

Outcomes include the use of new materials technology to mitigate these adverse effects, design guidance and protection of our structures from failure under vehicular crashes, with significant socio-economic benefits to the community.

Skills and experience

As an ideal candidate you must like and be familiar with structural dynamics, have some knowledge of new materials and be able to carry out dynamic finite element analyses.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.