Inaugural CIES Industry and Alumni Open Day

Fifty people attended the inaugural CIES Open Day, held on Tuesday 8th November 2022.

The event was a fantastic opportunity for external and on-campus partners to learn more about the current research and plans of CIES, to meet our industry leading researchers, and to get hands-on experience and insight into our projects and capabilities through laboratory tours.

As an internationally recognised research centre, CIES aims to improve the sustainable design, construction and maintenance of economic, effective and safe civil engineering infrastructure to enhance the quality of human life.  CIES projects incorporate a number of engineering disciplines – from structural engineering to geotechnical engineering, and engineering materials to computational mechanics.

The Open Day began with lunch, followed by presentations by several CIES research leaders, including Professor Mark Bradford, Associate Professor Hamid Valipour and Dr Ali Kashani, and ended with tours of our world-renowned laboratories. Attendees were guided through the Heavy Structures Research Laboratory - Randwick Campus, and, on UNSW Kensington main campus, the Construction Laboratory, Geotechnical Laboratory, and the Infrastructure (Advanced Materials) Research Laboratory.  See below for further details on the laboratories.

To learn more about the Heavy Structures Research Laboratory watch this two minute video.

To learn more about just some of the cutting edge projects being carried out in our construction, structures, materials and geotechnical engineering laboratories watch this six minute video.

A huge thank you to the organisers of the Open Day, led by Associate Professor Hamid Valipour, ably supported by A/Prof Ehab Hamed, Dr Ali Kashani, Dr Arman Khoshghalb, Dr Taehwan Kim, and Dr Johnson Shen, and by CIES laboratory managers Dr Zhen-Tian Chang and Paul Gwynne. Grateful thanks also to the laboratory technical staff, to our PhD research students for their assistance, to CIES Manager Grace Zhu, and to the UNSW Engineering External Relationship Team for their help with organising the Open Day.



About CIES Laboratories 

Heavy Structures Research Laboratory (Randwick Campus)

One of the prized secrets of UNSW, the Heavy Structures Laboratory with an area over 1800 m2 is equipped with a wide range of fabrication and testing facilities, including a steel and a timber workshop, several vertical and one horizontal actuators and testing machines (capacities in the range of 250 kN to 5 MN) which can be used for static and cyclic loading, and short- and long-term evaluation of small- and full-scale structural components.

The Heavy Structures Laboratory is also home to a large climate room where temperature and relative humidity can be controlled and programmed to simulate the effect of environmental conditions on the performance of materials and full-scale structural elements.


Infrastructure (Advanced Materials) Research Laboratory (Kensington Campus)

The Infrastructure Laboratory is one of the main laboratories at School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. This laboratory has the capacity for various materials tests, including:

  • Physical and mechanical tests for construction materials
  • Rheological performance of sustainable binders
  • Standardised performance evaluation tests of concrete
  • Materials characterisations
  • Asphalt development and testing.

The infrastructure laboratory also has the state-the-art of durability testing and a 3D printing facility.


Geotechnical Laboratory (Kensington Campus)

The Geotechnical Laboratory at UNSW is well-resourced, with state-of-the-art equipment, particularly for testing unsaturated soils. The Geotechnical Laboratory has:

  • Five automatic stress-path triaxial systems
  • Four constant rate of strain (CRS) apparatuses capable of applying static and dynamic loads to a sample under K0 conditions
  • An enterprise level dynamic triaxial testing system (ELDYN)
  • A Hardin type resonant column apparatus
  • A Stokoe type resonant column apparatus
  • A dynamic true triaxial apparatus (TTA), among others

For large-scale model testing, several unique in-house designed facilities are available including:

  • A calibration chamber for testing piles and cone penetration under controlled stress and suction condition
  • A rig for testing soil - energy-geo-structure interaction
  • A large thermal oedometer capable of testing soils at various temperatures
  • A shake table


Construction Laboratory (Kensington Campus)

The CIES Construction Laboratory has the cutting-edge research in construction, including autonomous drone and ground vehicle systems, mobile laser scanning and imaging sensors and AI algorithms for Scan-to-BIM.

The Construction Laboratory also provides hands-on activities (e.g., operating a robotic excavator remotely and conduct a virtual site tour in Virtual Reality) to enhance students’ learning experience.


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