In Summary

  • Swinburne engineers win W H Warren medal for multi-axis substructure testing (MAST) system paper
  • MAST helps engineers improve resilience of structures against extreme events

Swinburne engineers have won the W H Warren medal for their paper ‘Development and validation of multi-axis substructure testing system for full-scale experiments.’

The medal is awarded annually by Engineers Australia for the best paper in the discipline of civil engineering.

Professor Riadh Al-Mahaidi, Director of the Smart Structures Laboratory at Swinburne says one of the primary goals of structural engineering is to improve the resilience of structures against extreme events.

“The Multi-Axis Substructure Testing (MAST) system provides a powerful tool for engineers to investigate the dynamic effects of strong earthquakes, winds and hydrodynamic waves on full scale structural systems and their components,” Professor Al-Mahaidi says.

“The hybrid system helps structural engineers to develop and maintain a new generation of smart structures that are capable of withstanding catastrophic events.”

Accordingly, the prediction of structural performance from initial linear-elastic behaviour to collapse is essential to assess the effectiveness of new design methods and the implementation of new retrofitting strategies.

Multi axis substructure testing system

The cutting-edge facility is the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere, combining the advantages of experimental techniques with those of online computer simulations.

The novelty of the simulator is that it allows users to physically test a critical structural component, such as a steel or concrete column, under the duress of six movements — vertical, lateral, longitudinal, pitch, roll and yaw movement. Engineers refer to these movements as the six degrees of freedom.

It represents a paradigm shift in the way testing is done for better understanding of structural behaviour under different dynamic load types.

Authors Dr Javad Hashemi, Professor Riadh Al-Mahaidi, Dr Robin Kalfat and Mr Graeme Burnett were presented the medal on 5 October 2017 at the Pursuit of Engineering Excellence event in Melbourne.

Swinburne researchers were also recently awarded the Sir George Julius medal for a paper reviewing safety risks in electric vehicle packaging design.