Concrete Modelled Using Random Elements


EPSRC Fellowship

EP/M020908/1

 
 

The built environment is estimated to account for 30-50% of all carbon emissions. Under high growth scenarios these emissions could double by 2030, mainly due to emissions from developing regions. Concrete is the world’s most widely used man-made material and the manufacture of cement, its principal component, contributes to at least 5% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Research has shown that concrete is inefficiently used by designers to the extent that significant reductions in material use could be achieved simply through design optimisation.


Work by Dr Orr has shown that the optimisation of reinforced concrete structures can provide material savings of up to 40%, with associated savings in embodied CO2. These material savings have been achieved by creating structures whose geometry reflects the requirements of their loading envelope.


This fellowship will provide the technological and practical underpinning to a new method of analysis and optimisation that addresses all of the complex behaviour of reinforced concrete (shear, cracking, deflections) and puts material efficiency at the centre of the design process to reduce embodied energy and environmental impact. This will be transformative for reinforced concrete design. The new analysis method will be considered alongside practical approaches to construction, building on previous work by Dr Orr to ensure that the computationally optimised form can truly be built, and the research really adopted, by industry.


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