Department of Civil Engineering

    • Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings. Civil engineering is the second-oldest engineering discipline after military engineering, and it is defined to distinguish non-military engineering from military engineering. It is traditionally broken into several sub-disciplines including architectural engineering, environmental engineering,geotechnical engineering, control engineering, structural engineering, earthquake engineering, transportation engineering, forensic engineering, municipal or urban engineering, water resources engineering, materials engineering, offshore engineering, aerospace engineering, quantity surveying, coastal engineering, construction surveying, and construction engineering. Civil engineering takes place in the public sector from municipal through to national governments, and in the private sector from individual homeowners through to international companies.

    • At the heart of MPGI is the relevance and rigor of its research, teaching and learning materials. The experience and talents of our faculty combine to create world-class research results as well as teaching excellence. The result is top-notch educational programmes, and cutting-edge research that extend the frontiers of knowledge. MPGI's prolific research output both identifies current trends in today's demanding educational environment, and explores principles that guide longer-term success.

      The Faculty – one collaborative environment

      We have a strong emphasis on pooling academic resources and expertise across our Institutions, creating richer undergraduate experiences, new training programs, and a host of new collaborative research opportunities.

    • Comprehensive Highway Corridor Planning With Sustainability Indicators (Civil Project)

      This project develops a Model Of Sustainability and Integrated Corridors (MOSAIC) to select the best program-level plans for corridors within Maryland by estimating the sustainability impact of multimodal highway improvement options early in the transportation planning and environmental screening processes with minimum requirements on staff time and other resources.

      Six categories of sustainability indicators (mobility, safety, socio-economic impact, natural resources, energy and emissions, and cost) and more than thirty sustainability performance measures have been defined as evaluation criteria for the selection of highway corridor improvement options.

      Currently, MOSAIC considers the no-build case and two highway improvement options, including adding a general-purpose lane and converting at-grade intersections to grade-separated interchanges.

      Mode choice model has also been introduced for future study on multimodal improvement types. MOSAIC has been applied to the US 15 and I 270 corridors, thus demonstrating the feasibility and usefulness of this comprehensive tool for sustainable highway corridor planning.

    • Quality Timber Strength Grading: A prediction of strength using scanned surface grain data and FE-analyses

      The main purpose of the pursued research presented in this project was to study whether a two-dimensional finite element model of thin timber members containing a single live knot and integrating surface grain data gathered by a laser scanner, could predict the load bearing capacity of such members with a satisfactory accuracy. In the modeling process, it was hypothesized that the scanning data could help obtain some additional information regarding the inner structure of the members in order to improve the predictions.

      Furthermore, it was put forward that the predictions could be correctly determined by the use of fracture mechanics theory. An analysis of the data files provided by the scanner demonstrated that the grain data is meaningless over the knots and therefore that no well defined boundary exists in the numerical grain pattern between the knots and the surrounding clear wood. Nevertheless, it was noticed that other data could help define the centre of the knots and might correspond, at least coarsely, to the orientation of the fibres in the out-of-plane direction (relating to the surface of the members).

      The data was then implemented into the numerical model both for attributing some particular mechanical properties to the knots in comparison to the clear wood and for attributing an out-of-plane angle (or dive angle) to the fibres located in the knots and their vicinity. The model was simulated in bending in order to determine the strains and the stress concentrations of two selected boards. The simulations were carried out with various configurations relating to the mechanical properties of the knots and to the dive angle of the fibres. Meanwhile, the boards were tested to failure in a bending test rig and the system Aramis® measured the strains and took photos during loading and up to the instant of failure. Afterwards, the numerical results were compared to the experimental tests to determine how the dive angle and the material properties can make the model tally with reality.

      The prediction of the load bearing capacity was achieved thoroughly for one board but resulted, at the best, in a 31.7% underestimation with respect to the actual strength of the board. Several additional predictions were made with modifications of the material properties (because most of the values came from the literature and not from measurements) and emphasized their influence on the variations of the predictions.

      Finally, the closest prediction was 14.6% lower than the actual strength. From the analysis of the model configurations and the predictions, it was concluded that the small number of tests does not enable one to distinguish the part of the material properties from the part of the modeling approach and from the part of the accuracy of the measurements in the gap between the predictions of the load bearing capacity and the actual strength of the board. However, some important questions regarding the modeling were raised through the analysis and the conclusions and some prospects were proposed for further research.

    • Sustainable Building Design with Autodesk Ecotect

      In order to measure and improve the environmental performances of new and existing buildings: the High Environmental Quality Scheme (HQE) has been introduced. Similar to the LEED or BREEAM assessment methods, the HQE Scheme focuses on 14 different environmental themes, such as energy consumption, daylight availability, acoustic comfort, etc. with objectives such as limitation in energy consumption, minimum daylight levels, adequate reverberation time, etc.

      Due to the complexity of the many scientific phenomena involved, advanced calculation procedures are required to measure most environmental performances. For instance, the study of heat transfer through building fabric to determine internal temperature variations and heating/cooling loads or the computation of daylight levels in a room when a building is overshadowed by surrounding obstructions is a complicated task that necessitates the use of computer simulation.

      However, if various analysis software are today available, they rarely often the possibility to study all these effects at once. As a consequence, the most time consuming process of drawing the geometry of the building and making the right assignments, often needs to be repeated. This not only leads to a waste of time. It also favors local optimization by considering sequentially each environmental quantity in spite of strong interactions between them.

      Thus, it was highly desirable to develop a user-friendly and comprehensive software that could optimize a building’s environmental performances at once.

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