Swinburne's innovative Smart Structures Laboratory forms part of the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Digital Construction and conducts research over a broad range of infrastructure-related areas, including large-scale testing of new engineering materials and components.
The laboratory's director, Professor Riadh Al-Mahaidi, is an international leader in the field of bridge engineering, structural systems and structural retrofitting using fibre-reinforced polymer composites. He is joined by several academic staff in the School of Engineering that use the SSL for research and teaching activities.
The only one of its kind in Australia, the $15 million laboratory is located at Hawthorn campus in the architecturally striking Advanced Technologies Centre and features transparent walls, allowing passers-by to watch researchers and scientists at work. The testing facility is available to other Australian universities and to government and industry bodies.
The laboratory's research outcomes are expected to lead to the development of more efficient infrastructure systems and safer buildings, bridges, offshore structures and mining structures. Economic and social benefits should come from more resilient, robust and efficient infrastructure constructed with innovative materials designed to lower costs, improve energy efficiency, and reduce environmental impacts generally.
All this has the potential to lift the international competitiveness of Australian construction and manufacturing industries.