Tag Archives: engineering

ERSKINE VISITOR PROFILE: Jonathan Stewart

Where have you come from, and what do you teach?

I am a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles. My research is in Earthquake Engineering and Engineering Seismology. At UCLA I teach courses in Soil Mechanics (graduate), Design of Foundation Engineering and Earth Structures (undergraduate), and Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering (graduate).  

What interested you in the Erskine Programme/why did you want to come to UC?

I enjoy sharing ideas and collaborating with colleagues around the world. Of particular interest to me in Christchurch is the work of Professor of Earthquake Engineering Brendon Bradley, and Professor of Civil & Natural Resources Engineering Misko Cubrinovski. We are collaborating on topics related to earthquake ground motion characterization and soil liquefaction during earthquakes.

What have you been doing at UC?

Much of my time is spent on projects that continue at UCLA, meeting over the web with students and collaborators there. I have also begun discussions on collaborations at UC, and I am delivering a number of seminars and lectures.

What have you most enjoyed about your time here at UC/Christchurch?

UC/Christchurch has made arriving and staying here very easy; they handled everything. My family and I couldn’t be more pleased with our accommodations, and the university has invited us to several newcomer meetings and events. We have enjoyed sightseeing in the Southern Alps and Stewart Island. We have received such a warm welcome here that it will be hard to leave.

UC engineering students gain top award from National Amateur Radio Association

Two UC engineering students have received awards for attaining the supreme score of 100% in their Amateur Radio exams.

Narottam Royal ZL3NR  and Nazir Ikhtiari ZL3NMI sat their radio exams at the Christchurch Amateur Radio Club earlier this year, having taken part in an intensive weekend course of in radio theory.  Their awards were issued by the New Zealand Amateur Radio Transmitters association, and were presented by the club president Ian MacPherson, and Fred Samandari, director of the  UC Wireless Research Centre .

Narottam Royal ZL3NR receives badge from club president Ian McPherson
Fred Samandari awards badge to Nazir Ikhtiari ZL3NMI

The Christchurch club holds HamCram courses four times a year, and is open to anyone interested in becoming a amateur radio operator. More information on future courses can be found at:

http://www.chchhamradio.org.nz/HamCram/HamCram.pdf

 

Celebrating Fresh Thinking: Professorial Lecture Series

Join me in celebrating the very substantive contribution to academe made by Professor Pavel Castka and Professor Tom Cochrane in the next presentation in the Professorial Lecture Series for 2019.

Date:               Thursday, 6 June, from 4.30 – 6.00 p.m.

Location:        E14 – Engineering Core

I encourage all staff and postgraduate students to attend this lecture, to actively support our new Professors, and take the opportunity to appreciate the fantastic research being undertaken in parts of the university we may be less familiar with.

Presentation details:

 “Universal Language of the Future? Addressing business challenges through international standards” – Presented by Professor Pavel Castka, Department of Management, Marketing & Entrepreneurship

 How can businesses address social and environmental issues – such as climate change, social responsibility, poverty or child labour – in a vastly diverse world with different opinions on these issues?  Is there a common platform or universal language that can facilitate the interaction between businesses across the world – enabling addressing of these challenges as well as challenges of everyday cooperation of firms in global supply chains?

In this inaugural professorial lecture, I will build on research at UC as well as my involvement with international standard setting NGOs – including International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – and discuss the status quo as well as future challenges of standards setting, adoption and control mechanisms that ensure consistency of international standards across the globe. The lecture is designed for a diverse audience that is interested in social and environmental issues as well as in the generic matters of cooperation in international business – inclusive of non-academic audience such as business leaders or social activists. The lecture provides an insight into the exciting world of international standards, potentially the universal language of the future.

 

Food–energy–water nexus in the Mekong” – Presented by Professor Tom Cochrane, Department of Civil & Natural Resources Engineering

 The Mekong basin in Southeast Asia is undergoing rapid development.  Basin wide water infrastructure development (hydropower/irrigation), climate change and land-use change are causes for concern due to potential impacts on highly valued fisheries, agriculture, and natural ecosystems. Extensive water, sediment and nutrient modelling and analyses were thus conducted to understand the food-energy-water nexus in the basin and assess future threats and evaluate alternative pathways. Results show that recent development of flood protection dykes, as well as sea level rise and land subsidence pose a major threat to the long term sustainability of the Mekong Delta. Future adaptation and mitigation strategies should include optimal operation of water infrastructure (hydropower, dykes, and irrigation systems) to reduce hydrological and sediment changes, reduction in groundwater pumping, water storage management, sea level rise protection infrastructure, land reclamation, enhancement of coastal and in-stream habitats, and others.  A single solution is not sufficient for this complex basin; multiple mitigation initiatives are necessary through transboundary communication and coordination. The analysis and methods, as well as the lessons learnt in this research can be translated to other river systems around the world undergoing rapid development and climatic threats.

Professor Ian Wright

Deputy Vice-Chancellor | Tumu Tuarua

International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics symposium 12-15 Feb

The University of Canterbury will host the IUTAM symposium on “Moving Boundary Problems in Mechanics” from 12-15 February 2018.

The mission of IUTAM – the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics – is to encourage the development and application of all branches of the science of mechanics throughout the world.

The symposium, co-chaired by Dr Stefanie Gutschmidt and Associate Professor  Mathieu Sellier of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is the second symposium ever to be organized in New Zealand. It is an exciting opportunity to showcase the University of Canterbury new premises, in particular the newly built Engineering Core and lab facilities.

Approximately 60 international experts in applied mechanics, fluid mechanics, and engineering science from over 17 countries will gather to further develop analytical, experimental, and computational methods and push the boundaries of moving boundary problems in mechanics.

Understanding boundary problems

Many problems in mechanics involve deformable domains with moving boundaries.

  • An archetypical example would be how the sail of boat deforms in response to the wind to produce a resultant aerodynamic force. The complex fluid-structure interaction between the flowing air and the sail’s internal stress leads to given deformation of the sail.
  • Other examples include flows with a free surface, flows over soft tissues and textiles, flows involving accretion and erosion, flows through deformable porous media, material forming, shape optimization, to name but a few.

The interaction of the moving boundary with the participating media leads to fascinating phenomena in a broad range of contexts such as wing flutter, wave-breaking, sand dune formation, ripple formation on the ocean floor, flow instabilities, structure resonance and failure, atherosclerosis, ice formation on aircraft wings, etc .

Understanding this two-way interaction is a challenge of modern mechanics. 

Throwing rocks at research

In a small, unassuming container on  Ilam
campus, rocks are being fired at building materials to
simulate a volcanic eruption. Associate Professors Ben Kennedy and Thomas Wilson and PhD student Mr George Williams are putting exterior building claddings to the test with the help of a full-scale ballistics cannon.

The cannon can accurately fire rocks at the same velocity as
they would be flung from a volcano – about 160 kilometres per hour.

(Below: PhD student Mr George Williams and Associate Professor Thomas Wilson.)

Chronicle George Williams Thomas Wilson

“It can fire rocks at the actual speed they come out of a volcano, andin turn we can work out the exact velocity and masses required to puncture holes in roofs, and also work out what the danger might be to people beneath those roofs,” says Associate Professor Kennedy.

The team has tested a number of building materials, including roofing iron, timber weatherboards and concrete slabs, with
quite destructive results. However, as George points out, that doesn’t necessarily mean rocks will breach buildings during a
volcanic eruption.

“I was testing just a single layer of sheet metal, for instance, and if you lower the speed just a little bit that drastically reduces its energy and its potential to keep carrying on through the house,” he says.

The programme of study, which has been building over the last five to eight years, is collecting empirical data in a controlled environment. Its focus is on three specific elements:

  • the hazard (rocks falling out of the sky)
  • what assets are exposed
  • what relates the first two elements, the vulnerability of built infrastructure and how much it can sustain.“Generally the New Zealand components performed better and were stronger than more fragile overseas infrastructure, which is probably due to our building systems to meet earthquake standards,” says Associate Professor Wilson.

    “Although volcanic eruptions rarely occur in a built environment the value of the research is immeasurable, particularly for advice if people are trapped in buildings, where is the safest place to take cover?

    “It will help us better design for disasters.Fundamentally it should help us save lives.”