International Award for NUI Galway Graduate Student

Monday, 11 April 2011

NUI Galway research student, David Byrne was recently awarded second place for his poster presentation at the Institute of Structural Engineers Young Researchers Conference held at the Institute's headquarters in London. The conference, now in its 13th year, provides a platform for research students to present their work and exchange ideas with their peers and industry leaders. David, a PhD student from Wicklow town, was presented with the award for his poster, entitled The analysis of shear transfer in void formed flat slabs, including in-situ measurements from a building. David's entry was shortlisted from over 60 abstracts submitted from PhD students throughout the UK and Ireland, and was judged by a panel of selected members from the Institution. "This is a great achievement for an NUI Galway graduate student at the early stages of his research", said Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway. "This award confirms that our standards of engineering education and research in NUI Galway are at the very top in international standings. We are very proud of David." David's project relates to shear and load transfer in void form flat slab systems. These are an innovative and novel form of flat slab system, which allow a reduction in self-weight of the concrete and savings in construction materials. Central to his project is the instrumentation of the new Engineering Building at NUI Galway and its development as a teaching tool. The Engineering Building at NUI Galway is one of the largest engineering schools in the country at 14,000m2 and opens in September 2011. It will consolidate education and research activities in the various engineering disciplines. Among many innovative and notable features, it is among the first buildings in Ireland to employ the use of void form flat slab systems. One of the slab bays within the new Engineering Building has been instrumented with over 160 gauges across fifteen different sections. Sensors have been installed both in the concrete and on the steel reinforcement bars to monitor the geometric and material properties of the slab system during construction and throughout the building's lifetime. They are providing valuable data as to how the slab system behaves in-situ and responds to different loadings. David's research strategy will combine numerical simulation using finite element models and field measurements. The finite element models of the instrumented slab system will be validated by comparison and continual updating of data obtained from measurements on site. The principal investigator for this project is Dr Jamie Goggins, School of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, and was co-supervised by NUI Galway's Eamonn Cannon. The research project is co-funded by the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) and Arup Consulting Engineers under an Enterprise Partnership Scheme. It forms part of an initiative to develop the new Engineering Building at NUI Galway as a 'living laboratory' for engineering, where live data sets from numerous types of sensors will be used to illustrate structural engineering and building performance concepts in undergraduate teaching and in the development of full-scale research in structural engineering and energy.
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