Design is at the heart of engineering and forms the core of our courses. It is:
- the process of applying the knowledge and skills you have been learning elsewhere;
- creative and open-ended;
- depends on 'systems thinking'; and
- individual flair.
Design is learnt partly through formal teaching but mainly by trying out ideas and seeing if they work. The course work exposes you to many different problems and situations to stimulate your imagination. Please see examples of the design process through group projects:
Third Year Research Projects
A FAILURE ENVELOPE FOR VERTICAL PLATE ANCHORS IN DRY SAND UNDER THREE-DIMENSIONAL LOADING CONDITIONS
Plate anchors represent an economic and efficient deep water mooring solution for offshore engineering structures and, as such, have been the subject of vast amounts of research. The majority of this research concerns the behaviour of embedded plate anchors in clayey soils rather than sands due to installation limitations. A commercial finite element analysis (FE) package, PLAXIS 2D, is utilised to examine the effects of pull-out inclination, soil friction angle, plate depth and additional moments on the bearing capacity of vertical strip plate anchors in dry sand. Results are presented in the form of bearing capacity factors, allowing for the research to apply to a range of soil and geometrical conditions.
Blast EXPERIMENTAL ASSESSMENT OF NATURAL GAS PIPELINES UNDER MONOTONIC AND CYCLIC LOADING
Underground pipes located in earthquake-prone areas are more susceptible to adverse ground movements such as faulting, landslides and liquefaction, causing significant bending damage and operational disruption. In this study, experimental assessment has been conducted to investigate the response of soil-pipe systems to lateral ground motion at different burial depths, using a section of solid acrylic pipe. The influence of input cyclic loading on the lateral behaviour of pipeline was also studied. The spatial deformation behaviours of soil upon monotonic and cyclic loadings were captured and analysed using a particle image velocimetry (PIV) technique.
EFFECT OF FIBRE WAVINESS ON THE PULTRUDED GLASS FIBRE REINFORCED POLYMER BRIDGE DECK UNDER TRANSVERSE LOAD
Glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) bridge decking is becoming increasingly common in bridge construction due to its high durability against salt corrosion and its high specific strength. However, the pultrusion manufacturing process, commonly used for bridge decking, causes wrinkles or out-of-plane fibre waviness within the bridge-deck sections. It is well-documented that these wrinkles reduce the load-carrying capacity in coupon specimens but there is limited literature discussing the effects of the wrinkles on the critical load of macroscale bridge decking. Transverse load tests were conducted on sections of specified widths of the pultruded bridge decking and the progressive failure mechanism leading up to ultimate load was analysed. Progressive failure analysis identified tensile cracks and delamination as critical failures. A finite element model incorporating extracted fibre waviness from scanned images of bridge decking was created with cohesive elements at the inter-ply boundaries. The predicted load-displacement response at the initial failures and the progressive failure mechanism show good agreement with the experimental data.
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN DISCHARGE AND BASEFLOW IN UK RIVERS
River discharge varies greatly from region to region in the UK at different times of the year. The purpose of this paper is to quantify a relationship between baseflow and daily variability of river discharge using a set of gauged UK catchments with natural or near natural flow regimes. Daily mean flows and Baseflow Index (BFI) were used for analysis. A potential relationship between Coefficient of Variation (CV) of daily mean flows and BFI was identified, with CV decreasing with increasing BFI. Regression analysis between the two variables suggested that the relationship may be linear. An equation predicting CV of daily mean flows based on BFI was derived, for catchments with fully natural flow regimes only. The equation found may be useful for predicting flow variability in UK ungauged catchments, given estimates of BFI and mean flow, but requires testing for prediction accuracy and further analysis of prediction uncertainty before it can be considered use in engineering design purposes.
Using Systems Thinking to Identify Construction Behaviour Archetypes with Focus on the Malaysian Construction Industry
The construction industry, particularly in Asia, experiences high numbers of occupational injuries and fatalities when compared to other industries. Malaysian construction fatality rates (per 100,000) are more than double those in developed nations. Construction safety management is used to control the complex factors that construction behaviour consists of, and systems thinking is regarded as capable of dealing with such complexity. Systems thinking was used to create construction behaviour archetypes, based on interview data collected from construction safety professionals, developing the work of Guo et al. (2015). This data was collected and analysed using the grounded theory methodology. Three archetypes were created: (1) effects of a migrant workforce, (2) corporate accountability and profit driven business culture, and (3) issues in the regulatory system. These archetypes display the underlying structure of the complex behavioural systems in Malaysian construction. They provide a dynamic viewpoint into understanding the failings in construction safety management systems and the interventions required to fix them. The contractors drive for profit was determined as a primary contributing factor in the majority of causal relationships identified in Malaysian construction. This research has practical implications for the Malaysian construction industry as an understanding of the underlying behavioural structure and contributing factors.
Fourth Year Design Projects
Tennis Arena (Steel Construction Institute Competition)
The brief is to design a tennis court stand and roof arrangement for an Olympic competition. Entrants are expected to demonstrate individuality and flair in this Competition, in addition to showing an understanding of structural design, and to communicate their ideas in a written report with calculations and drawings.
In the UK, domestic energy usage takes up one quarter of the energy consumption per annum, which is mainly sourced from fossil fuels (73.8% fossil, 23.7% nuclear, CIA, 2001). Traditionally, conservation of energy and water was not placed among the top priorities in residential building designs. However, with climate change and the pressure on the increasing consumption of energy and water, there is an urgency to pursue more energy and water friendly buildings, i.e. an Eco House. This is especially timely since millions of new houses are required in the south of England in the next few years. Although some sporadic examples of various eco houses are around in recent years, there is no systematic design methodology available for professional engineers to follow. The goal of this project is to carry out an extensive search on the current practice in eco house designs, explore the existing and emerging technologies that will facilitate the functioning of an eco house, collect and analyse climatic data records so that a probabilistic-based design theory could be established, and design a prototype house for a typical family size as a paradigm of the proposed design framework. Cost will be an important factor.
Landmark Foot/Cycle Bridge over Bristol Floating Harbour
There is a lot of new development beside the Floating Harbour in Bristol, to the west of the city centre, but there is no existing crossing for almost a mile, and access to Bedminster and the SS Great Britain from the north side of the river is poor. Meanwhile. other cities, notably Gateshead/Newcastle and London, have impressive ‘Millennium’ bridges. This project will consider the design of a landmark foot/cycle bridge for Bristol, over the Floating Harbour in the vicinity of the SS Great Britain. The bridge will need certain permanent clearance for small boats and must be openable to allow the passage of taller boats. The closed, open, and opening/closing cases will each need to be analysed. Foundation design will need to consider the effects on the harbour wall. Other issues include aesthetics and environmental impact.