Current Projects

Project Title Analysis of shear transfer in void formed flat slab systems including in-situ measurements from a building
Summary This project aims is to analyse, in detail, shear transfer and two-way load action in void-formed flat slab systems. This novel form of flat-slab system is used in the new engineering building at NUIG, which has embedded sensors installed to continuously monitor strains and temperature changes. Observation of the system over time will allow the performance of the system to be quantified, including changes to the material properties of the structural slab system. The data obtained from the embedded sensors in the building, together with complementary laboratory experiments and finite element analysis, will ensure accurate predictive models and design tools for void-formed slab systems can be developed.
Duration December 2009 – April 2013
NUIG Research Team Dr. Jamie Goggins (PI); David Byrne (PhD student); Eamonn Cannon; Colm Walsh (Senior Technician)

Project Title Cost effective sustainable construction technology for autonomous buildings
Summary The objective of this project is to design a cost effective sustainable construction technology, such as stabilised soil blocks, by replacing or reducing the amount of cement with alternative materials that are sourced locally and are a waste or by-product of another industry.
Duration Sept 2009 – December 2012
NUIG Research Team Dr. Jamie Goggins (PI); Dr Bryan McCabe; Declan Gavigan (PhD student); Gerard Hynes (Chief Technician); Peter Fahy (Senior Technician); Colm Walsh (Senior Technician)

Recently Completed Projects

Project Title An Irish framework to assess embodied energy and carbon
Summary The Irish government has published its plan to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions by 2020. However, the measures outlined miss the opportunity to address embodied energy (EE) and embodied carbon (EC) i.e. the energy and carbon associated with any product or system prior to use. Previous studies have shown how critical EE/EC can be over a full lifecycle (LC) as it can account for up to 67% of a building’s operational energy (OE) over 25 years. For a low energy house the EE can account for up to 50% of the OE over a 60 year lifecycle. In Ireland, there is currently limited knowledge on how to apply EE/EC assessment methods as energy conversion factors are required in conjunction with national economic data. The current work focuses on addressing this issue. In particular, this research focuses on the development of a framework, enabling the quantification of EE/EC in an Irish context using a hybrid Input-Output (I-O) methodology. An initial study applies the framework to cement, which is a material high in EE/EC and consequently a material included in the European Union-Emissions trading scheme (EU-ETS). Initial case studies will apply the framework to the savings achievable when replacements for cement, which is a material high in EE/EC, are used in concrete for the construction of wind turbines and buildings.
Duration Sept 2009 – Oct 2011
NUIG Research Team Dr. Jamie Goggins (PI); Mark McCaffrey (MEngSc student); Dr Gordon Baylor
Other Collaborators Michael Brennan, Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Project Title Embodied energy analysis and visualisation tool
Summary Embodied energy (EE) is the energy consumed over the duration of a product’s lifecycle. Having the quantity of EE clearly visible to designers during the design process should make them conscious of the impact their decisions are having on the EE of a product. This is increasingly important due to rising costs of energy and awareness of environmental impact. This research investigates the different methods of analysis and is developing a unique EE software tool to assist engineers to accurately calculate the EE of a product. The tool will focus on the manufacture of concrete specifically in Ireland.
Duration Sept 2010 – Oct 2011
NUIG Research Team Dr. Jamie Goggins (PI); Dr Hugh Melvin (Co-PI); Deirdre O’Connor (MSc student); Mark McCaffrey (MEngSc student);

Project Title Installation of embedded sensors in the New Engineering Building at NUI Galway as teaching and research tools for structural engineering.
Summary The New Engineering Building (NEB) at NUIG consolidates all engineering education and research activities into one building which will not only provide a learning environment, but will itself act as a teaching and learning tool. This project involves installing embedded sensors in structural elements in the new engineering building. In particular, the performances of three types of structural elements are being continuously monitored from initial construction stages through to final use of the building. The internal strains and temperatures of a 40 tonne prestressed reinforced concrete transfer box beam, a precast double-tee unit and a novel void-formed flat slab flooring system are being monitored through vibrating wire gauges, electrical resistance gauges and thermistors. The live information from these sensors can be used for undergraduate teaching, adding to the idea of the building as being a ‘living laboratory’ for structural engineering.
Duration December 2009 – December 2010
NUIG Research Team Dr. Jamie Goggins (PI); David Byrne (PhD student); Eamonn Cannon; Colm Walsh (Senior Technician)

Project Title Investigation of the strength and durability performance of stabilised soil masonry blocks.
Summary The aim of this project is to show that stabilised soil blocks (SSBs) are cost-effective sustainable masonry units that have the potential to be used both in developing countries and Europe.
Duration January 2010 - January 2011
NUIG Research Team Dr. Jamie Goggins (PI); Gerard Hynes (Chief Technician); Peter Fahy (Senior Technician);

Project Title Research into the status of safety and health (risk education) within construction-related courses in third level institutions in Ireland
Summary This research project is carried out in conjunction with construction and management consultancy firm, Healy Kelly Turner & Townsend (HKT&T). This research will develop a profile of safety and health programme content, teaching methodologies and learning systems in construction-related courses. It will examine the weighting that safety and health is given in such safety-critical courses, in terms of credits/overall value. It will further draw up recommendations on the most appropriate ways of ensuring that risk education is included in content of all such safety-critical courses in higher education. The project team will also analyse the challenges and opportunities facing the three main stakeholders namely: Academia, Industry and the Professional Bodies, when considering its recommendations. The team will work together to identify the potential gaps between the needs and demands of Industry, the requirements of Professional Bodies and how third level institutions can bridge this gap in the supply of their graduates.
Duration January 2009 – January 2010
NUIG Research Team Dr. Jamie Goggins
Other Collaborators Healy Kelly Turner & Townsend