The focus of research in the School of Engineering and Science at Swinburne University of Technology is on applied research that is carried out in cooperation with industry to support the development of that industry.
One of the research themes in the School is that of Infrastructure Service Management. This has the objective of modelling the performance of the existing infrastructure with a view to improving the delivery of the service it was built to provide. Research is being conducted into three infrastructure systems:
The research on roads is concentrating on two themes, one of which is dealing with assessment of the state of the existing assets and the other is on modelling the deterioration of the asset and the effect of maintenance on the asset. One particularly intriguing study is on the effect of the formation of certain wavelengths in the road surface on the performance of heavy vehicles, the consequential dynamic loading of the pavement and the perception of the driver of the state of the road. Another aspect is the determination of deterioration models for the lightly loaded roads administered by the Local Government Authorities.
- potable water supply systems
Water quality is an issue for the customers of the water supply companies and the companies themselves with their focus on customer service. The most common customer complaint is that of 'dirty water'. Research is currently being undertaken into understanding the causes of the phenomenon and producing a model to predict the occurrences of this intermittent event. Modelling of the development of this event in blind pipes is also being done with a view to finding a process to eliminate the appearance of the event in that situation.
In construction, the research has concentrated on the use of recycled materials to improve the performance of existing materials and to find high quality uses for discarded materials. An example of this is the use of recycled concrete aggregate to produce sound absorbent material. An emerging theme is the examination of the construction of houses in remote environments with materials that will reduce the total output of greenhouse gases in the construction and occupation of the dwelling over its life.
In all of this activity, the purpose is to understand the way in which the built asset performs, to find better ways of using the existing infrastructure and to discover the means by which the asset can provide a better service. Lessons learnt on the older assets of this country can be applied to the assets of the newly developed nations as these deteriorate and more loads are placed on them.
Office of Research and Graduate Studies
Swinburne University of Technology