Science and Engineering

Civil engineering

Overview

What is civil engineering?

Civil engineering is the design, planning, construction and operation society's infrastructure. The fingerprints of civil engineers are visible in our buildings, roads, bridges, pipelines, railways, airports, mines, and water supplies. Beyond building, civil engineering also adapts infrastructure to meet real-world challenges such as overpopulation, natural disasters and climate change. Whether it's supplying electricity to a remote village, or finding new ways to recycle waste, civil engineers truly shape the world we live in today.

Research

We are a team of academics who are actively engaged in research, teaching, and professional service across sub-disciplines of civil engineering.

We have strong connections to the community of practising civil engineers, as well as leadership roles within the international academic community.

Our researchers are involved in cutting-edge research programs, topics and projects across all of our sub-disciplines.

Rankings

Our research has made significant contributions to QUT's Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) ratings.

We received a 4 (above world standard) in environmental engineering, and a 3 (at world standard) for civil engineering.

ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) evaluates the quality of research undertaken in Australian universities against national and international benchmarks.

Themes

Construction engineering
  • disaster perception and risk mitigation
  • distance education in civil and construction engineering
  • extreme event scenarios
  • costing, bidding, IT, and business procedures in transportation construction projects
  • materials recycling and re-use in the construction industry.
Geotechnical engineering
  • soil-pile interactions
  • soil properties and their effects
  • properties and uses of advanced geosynthetics
  • slope instability problems.
Structural engineering
  • structural health monitoring
  • vibration in slender structures: composite floors and bridges
  • thin walled metal structures
  • reinforced and prestressed concrete masonry structures
  • structures under impact, wind, fire, explosion and seismic events
  • rail track and level crossing safety.
Transport engineering
  • transport planning and engineering
  • travel behaviour analysis and modelling
  • transport network optimisation and modelling
  • transport data management systems
  • traffic and public transport operations
  • transport safety.
Water resources and hydrologic engineering
  • stormwater treatment and bioretention
  • pollutant wash-off modelling
  • heavy metals in run off and retention basins
  • factors affecting water quality
  • wetlands and urban water quality.

Teaching

One of our key goals is to educate students to become innovative engineering leaders, practitioners, and researchers. Our teaching prepares the next generation of civil engineers to practise professionally and ethically, ensuring they are highly regarded and sought after by employers. We make sure our students can communicate effectively, possess strong analytical and problem solving skills, and gain real world experiences during their education.

Our discipline has been ranked within the top 50 programs globally, and boasts an international cast of leading teachers and researchers.

Projects

The Category 1 funded research projects we are currently leading are:

Mitigating the severity of level crossing accidents and derailments

Project leader
Professor David Thambiratnam
Dates
2015-2017
Project summary

Ongoing increases in the number of level crossings and heavy road vehicles cause more frequent and severe level crossing accidents and derailments. Despite the use of active warning systems, each year, on average, 100 level crossing accidents occur in Australia. With a view to mitigating these crashes, this research aims to formulate theories for reduction in crash energy and effective wheel constraints to prevent derailment by modifying the levels of road and rail crossings and providing guard rails in the recesses of these modified level crossings.

The theories are intended be developed using nonlinear dynamic computational methods and laboratory experiments. The outcomes are expected to enable reduction in the severity of level crossing accidents and hence save lives and costs of derailment.

Understanding the performance of cold-formed steel frame wall systems in fires to design for superior fire resistance

Project leader
Professor Mahen Mahendran
Dates
2013-2016
Project summary
This project will develop new light gauge steel frame (LSF) wall systems with superior fire resistance rating and associated design rules to enable innovative and safe applications of these wall systems in various building applications. This will enable expansion of the worldwide market for LSF wall systems by the industry partner.

Transforming traditional civil structures into smart structures that can accurately identify current and future structural deterioration conditions

Project leader
Professor Tommy Chan
Dates
2016-2019
Project summary
This project plans to develop innovative structural deterioration evaluation systems using output-only vibration data and versatile optimisation algorithms to enable long-term deterioration assessment and maintenance management even under demanding operating conditions. Expected project outcomes will enhance structural safety and maintenance efficiency.

Efficiently operating mixed traffic flow of traditional, connected and automated vehicles

Project leader
Dr Zuduo Zheng
Dates
2016-2019
Project summary
This project plans to address the challenge of efficiently operating mixed traffic flow of traditional, connected and automated vehicles. The rapid advancement of technologies is currently turning connected and automated vehicles from science fiction into science fact. However, there are no existing traffic flow models capable of reproducing features of mixed traffic flow consisting of traditional, connected and automated vehicles.
This project aims to address this knowledge deficit and develop an analytical tool able to accurately model mixed traffic flow. This new knowledge and model are prerequisites to effective operation and control of traffic flow of traditional, connected and automated vehicles.

Developing novel cold-formed, light-gauge steel frame wall systems with superior fire resistance

Project leader
Professor Mahen Mahendran
Dates
2016-2020
Project summary

This project intends to develop novel cold-formed light-gauge steel frame (LSF) wall systems with superior fire resistance and energy ratings for use in buildings.The project plans to investigate fundamental thermal, structural and energy performances of LSF walls and their components using experimental and numerical studies. The aim of the project is to use enhanced materials with innovative wall configurations to significantly improve the fire and energy performance of LSF walls.

Student topics

Are you looking to further your career by pursuing study at a higher and more detailed level? We are currently looking for students to research a number of topics within a range of broad themes.

There are topics relevant to students who would like to pursue:

  • PhD study
  • research masters
  • research project (part of masters by coursework or undergraduate project unit).

Structural engineering

We offer opportunities to conduct research on structural engineering, relating to:

  • structural dynamics
  • bridge design and dynamics
  • structural masonry
  • innovative infrastructure
  • steel structures
  • structural stability
  • fire safety of buildings
  • cyclone/storm resistant buildings
  • smart housing
  • infrastructure disaster resilience
  • concrete technology
  • computational method
  • infrastructure geomechanics
  • pavement design
  • structural health monitoring.

Find a supervisor in this research theme:

Transport engineering and planning

There are opportunities to conduct research on the issues and challenges in transport engineering.

Topics include:

  • traveller information systems
  • transit performance
  • transport planning
  • traffic engineering
  • road design
  • traffic safety
  • traffic control and operation
  • transportation systems modelling and analysis
  • public transport
  • travel behavior
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).

Find a supervisor in this research theme:

Environmental engineering

Our opportunities to conduct research on environmental engineering include:

  • Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)
  • adaptation to climate change
  • protecting and restoring water quality
  • stormwater/wastewater recycling and water conservation and efficiency
  • sustainability
  • resilience of water infrastructure and water security.

Find a supervisor in this research theme:

Contact

School of Civil Engineering and Built Environment

  • Level 7, S Block, Room 701
    Gardens Point